Introducing Cinderella: Meet the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Conference: Conference USA

Coach: Kermit Davis

Record: 24-9, 13-5

Ratings and Rankings

Kenpom: 125
RPI: 89
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: Middle Tennessee will likely find itself as a No. 13 or No. 14 seed.

Names you need to know: Middle Tennessee has four double-figure scorers on a balanced roster that can really shoot. Sophomore guard Giddy Potts leads the team at 15.0 points per game while junior forward Reggie Upshaw (14.0) and senior forwards Perrin Buford (12.1 ppg) and Darnell Harris (11.7 ppg) are also productive.

Stats you need to know: Watch how Middle Tennessee is shooting from the perimeter, because they’re top 25 in the team in the country in team percentage from deep at 38.7 percent. The Blue Raiders are middle-of-the-pack in attempts — around 21 a game, tied for 161st — but have eight players on the roster with double-digit 3-pointers made on the year.

Big wins, bad losses: Middle Tennessee owns one top 100 win over Belmont and beat Auburn during the season. The Blue Raiders beat Marshall and Old Dominion twice for solid wins and were swept by Conference USA’s regular season champion, UAB.

How’d they get here?: Middle Tennessee won the Conference USA tournament in Birmingham as the No. 2 seed. The Blue Raiders opened with an easy quarterfinal win over Charlotte, beat Marshall in the semifinals, then took down Old Dominion in the championship.

Outlook: Among the double-digit seeds, Middle Tennessee will be among one of the more dangerous upset teams — depending on matchup. The Blue Raiders have balanced scoring, a lot of talent and they’ve been solid all season.

How do I know you?: Middle Tennessee played in the First Four of the NCAA tournament in 2013. Veteran head coach Kermit Davis has been in charge of the program since 2002. Reggie Upshaw, the Conference USA tournament MVP, is a Baylor transfer.