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Dance Card: Middle Tennessee, Sun Belt

Who? The Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State. Sometimes called Middle for short.

What? The Blue Raiders derive their name from Colgate's Red Raiders. Lightning is a pegasus, though MTSU shies away from the word.

Where? Murfreesboro, Tennessee, both geographic center and center of population of Tennessee (which makes the Middle Tennessee State name make a lot of sense).

When? March 18th, in Nashville, Tennessee.

How? They were an at-large selection.

Surprise? Mildly. The RPI and record were too good to leave them out.

RPI: 37

SOS: 101

Record: 26-6 (16-0 Sun Belt)

Good wins: Kentucky

Bad losses: At James Madison looked a lot better before JMU lost in the CAA tournament.

Who's running this show? Rick Insell, since 2005, who goes by the mantra "Anyone. Anywhere. Any time."

Extra, Extra! The Tennesseean


It's rare for a Middle Tennessee team to be a three-headed monster; the Blue Raiders are known for their single prolific scorers, ones who put up nationally notable numbers. This year's edition doesn't have an Alysha Clark or a Chrissy Givens. They do have junior guard Kortni Jones, who averages 17 points per game and adds 4.8 assists to lead her team, and sophomore forward Ebony Rowe, who's second on the team in scoring with 16.5 points and first with 9.9 rebounds (three total shy on the season to average 10, and more offensive than defensive). Junior Icelyn Elie is no slouch either, putting up 13.9 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Normally I'd say wait a year for this team with only one senior on the roster... but Murfreesboro is a hop, skip, and jump away from Nashville.