Midtennst 66
Fiu 64
Date of game: 1/31/2013

Middle Tennessee (18-4) at FIU (11-9) (ET)

GAME NOTES: The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders hope to continue their reign atop the Sun Belt Conference standings, as they have made the trip to Miami for a bout with the FIU Panthers.

Middle Tennessee has clearly separated itself as the Sun Belt's elite team this season, boasting an 18-4 overall record and a near-perfect 10-1 mark in league play. The Blue Raiders are in the midst of a season-long, seven-game win streak, with their most recent triumph coming in a 72-53 decision at home over Western Kentucky last Saturday.

FIU had been one of the conference's hottest teams, winning seven of eight games to start the new year, but that streak came to an end last Saturday with a heartbreaking 60-58 loss at South Alabama. Despite the setback, the Panthers' season has had more ups than down as they currently sit at 11-9 overall and 6-5 in conference.

Middle Tennessee has beaten FIU seven straight times, including a 69-52 verdict in Murfreesboro on Dec. 29, 2012 in the first meeting this season.

Aided by a 14-0 second-half run, Middle Tennessee was able to make easy work of WKU on its home floor the last time out. It was another great all-around performance for the Blue Raiders, who shot 48.1 percent from the floor while winning both the rebounding (33-27) and turnover (18-13) battles. Marcos Knight shot an efficient 6-of-9 from the floor for a game-high 15 points, while adding five assists, and Neiko Hunter (13 points) and Bruce Massey (10 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four steals) also had solid outings. Middle Tennessee has gotten used to those types of performances, as it averages 69.7 ppg while allowing a league-low 58.4 ppg for a +11.4 scoring margin, which is nearly double the differential of the second-place team. The team also ranks first in rebounding margin (+5.8) and second in turnover margin (+2.6). It's a true team effort on a game-by-game basis for the Blue Raiders, as 10 players net at least 3.8 ppg, and 11 have seen time in a starting lineup that changes nearly every time out. Knight is the only player to average in double figures with 12.7 ppg, adding 5.4 rpg, 2.5 apg and 1.5 spg for good measure.

FIU was down 10 in its latest matchup with South Alabama, but took a five- point lead midway through the second half thanks to an 18-3 run. Unfortunately, the team lost control late and dropped a tough two-point decision to the Jaguars. Despite shooting less than 40 percent from the field, the Panthers still had five players tally at least nine points on the afternoon, led by a dozen each from Jerome Frink and Malik Smith. Frink also logged seven rebounds and a pair of blocks. It was a rare close loss for FIU this season, as eight of its wins have come by margins of six points or less, which proves why it has a minus-1.4 scoring margin despite having a winning record. The Panthers' biggest strength comes in the frontcourt with Tymell Murphy (15.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Frink (10.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg). Murphy is also a great asset at the defensive end with his 1.5 spg and 1.2 bpg, and nobody in the Sun Belt tops his .597 field goal percentage. Smith is the top performer out on the perimeter with 14.5 ppg, and he is tied atop the league lead for 3- pointers made with 60.

FIU is far from a pushover, especially on its home floor, but Middle Tennessee has been clicking on all cylinders no matter where it plays this season. The Blue Raiders will put together another fantastic effort in knocking off the Panthers.

GAME NOTES: The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders hope to continue their reign atop the Sun Belt Conference standings, as they have made the trip to Miami for a bout with the FIU Panthers.

Fact Stats

FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Century Bank Arena (5,000) -- Miami, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: MT 12-0, FIU 6-2. Away Record: MT 6-3, FIU 5-7. Neutral Record: MT 0-1, FIU 0-0. Conference Record: MT 10-1, FIU 6-5. Series Record: Middle Tennessee leads 22-6.

Game Date and Time

Thursday, January 31, 7:30 p.m. (et)

Predicted Outcome

Middle Tennessee 68, FIU 62

Marshall - The class of Conference USA

Conference USA has added two new teams this season (Old Dominion and Western Ky) and lost three (Tulsa, East Carolina and Tulane) but it is really a one team league. And that team is Marshall.

Panthers' Wharton to announce retirement

Offensive lineman Travelle Wharton will announce his retirement in a press conference at Carolina Panthers training camp on Tuesday.

Royals acquire Kratz, Hendriks from Blue Jays for Valencia

The Kansas City Royals have acquired catcher Erik Kratz and pitcher Liam Hendriks from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Danny Valencia.

Report: NBAPA elects Michele Roberts as Executive Director

The National Basketball Players Association has named Billy Hunter's replacement as executive director in D.C. attorney Michele Roberts, according to multiple media reports.

Latest Sports Photos
Latest Sports Photos
0 Votes
a skydiver was injured when attempting to land in a pre game show at the Lookouts opening game on 4/3/2014

0 Votes
SEC Champions Alabama created by artist Ben Teeter S/N C.O.A. available for the dedicated Alabama fan!

1 Vote
first catch of the season looks like a good year

0 Votes
Gina McLeroy Spring City, TN

0 Votes
Our Son Brandon McLeroy MTSU Football 2011 Gina McLeroy Spring City TN

1 Vote
this is James Howard telling Gracie what to do.

0 Votes
Riverbend fun!

0 Votes
I nees a four letter word for the outside layer of a tree.

0 Votes
Cameron is a rising athlete. He has a God given talent for the game of football. This picture is of him stopping the ball carrier in our game in the ...

1 Vote
Our Lookout Valley 9/10 year old team went to a tournament in Knoxville called The Battle of the Rocky Top. They went throught the tournament undefeated and won the championship ...
Featured Partners
www.eastridgeretirementcenter.com
The newly modeled East Ridge Residence is a must see with its spacious comfortable apartments. Plus, 3 delicious meals daily, geriatric physician, home healthcare services and fun festive activities. Schedule your visit today!
www.ameripriseadvisors.com/james.m.scotchie
Together we can make a confident retirement possible. Simply click to get started with your private wealth advisor. Talk to Jimmy Scotchie, Certified Financial Planner.
www.comcast.com/cable-internet-packages.html
Get started at $79.99 a month for 12 months. Plus, get a $75 VISA® Prepaid card.
 
Supermarket Guru
From The Archives
Scenic City Roots
Through Irish Eyes
Brand News
Prime Mashup
What's Trending
Megan Wise Goes Outside
Stay Connected with WDEF News 12
 
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.