NCAA Basketball Middle Tennessee Blue RaidersSun Belt Basketball

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, ‘Blue Zoo’ Primed for Final Homestand

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

For the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, this week is the week to make a statement, if they haven’t already. They’ve marched out to a 23-4 record including their current 12-game winning streak. They’ll play two games at home this week, their final two of the season–Thursday against the South Alabama Jaguars and Saturday against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. If all goes according to plan, they’ll finish the 2012-13 season with an unblemished 15-0 record at the Murphy Center.

The players and coaches know it’s just day-by-day, but the students are primed up and ready to rock. Thursday is ‘Harlem Shake’ night, a fad sweeping the nation. Pardon the Blue Zoo if they’re a little late to the party, but the Blue Raiders just were just busy taking care of business on the road last week. Don’t think they’ve forgotten.

In their first meeting against South Alabama in Mobile, the Blue escaped with a four-point victory, 60-56, as they withstood a late 9-0 run by the Jags. USA is three games back on the Blue Raiders in the Sun Belt East standings and has won four straight games.

ULM is hands down the doormat of the league, sporting a 3-13 conference mark and a 4-18 overall record. In their prior meeting in Monroe, the Warhawks lost by only nine. They’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games, so the Blue Raiders may look past the Warhawks, but it’s not likely.

Despite receiving 15 votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll and three votes in the AP Top 25 Poll, head coach Kermit Davis knows this final push towards the finish is important for his squad. Over the past four seasons, the Blue Raiders are 19-6 in league games in February. He would know the importance of winning big games–their last win, at Arkansas-Little Rock, was Davis’ 113th in Sun Belt Conference play, tops all-time in the conference.

There’s no reason the Blue Raiders should falter this week though craziness has ensued in college basketball all season long. If they play their brand of basketball–unselfish offensive play coupled with opportunistic defensive play–a 25-4 record awaits them heading into the final road swing of the regular season.

MTSU also climbed to No. 2 in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 but has a big week of hoops ahead.