#100 Middle Tennessee Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #100
Conference Rank: #4 C-USA

Middle Tennessee Team Page#100 Middle Tennessee Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy Middle Tennessee Basketball Tickets

Middle Tennessee performed about as well as anyone could expect in 2014-2015 They went 9-9 in Conference USA action and reached the CIT, where they lost to Kent State in the first round. A year earlier, the Blue Raiders tied for first in the conference and won 24 games, but they lost a lot from that team. As a whole, MT grew significantly throughout the season and that is a good sign. There are some more losses for Coach Kermit Davis to deal with, but last year was a good stepping stone for bigger things in 2015-2016 and beyond.

2014-15 Record: 19-17, 9-9
2014-15 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Kermit Davis
Coach Record: 232-148 at Middle Tennessee, 303-198 overall

Who’s Out:
Coach Davis started a dozen different players at least one game last year and eight of them are back. Jacquez Rozier emerged as a leader since he was the only player last year who had more than a year of experience with Middle Tennessee under his belt. The 6-7 forward averaged 7.1 points and 5.0 rebounds. Marcus Tarrance, a 6-6 wing, averaged over 20 minutes per game, averaging 6.1 points per game. D.J. Jones did not live up to his hype coming out of the junior college ranks and averaged just 10.6 minutes per game. Fellow point guard JaQuel Richmond had a promising freshman campaign, averaging 3.4 points and 2.2 assists per game, but is transferring to UNC Wilmington.

Who’s In:
Coach Davis has plenty of options to fill the minutes lost by the departing players, including three junior college transfers and two true freshmen. Quavius Copeland has the speed MT wants from a point guard. He can make things happen offensively and defensively. With a little improvement on his outside shot, Copeland can be extremely dangerous. Justin Coleman and Xavier Habersham will add options and experience to the forward spots. Coleman is still developing, but the 6-8 forward is coming off of a strong season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The two incoming freshman are Karl Gamble, another power forward, and Jalen Perry, a 6-2 shooting guard. Perry is a pure scorer and had some superb outings for Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Both are good enough to play right away, but this team does not need to force them into action.

Who to Watch:
Reggie Upshaw stepped up his game as a sophomore and turned into the team’s top scorer, rebounder and defender. The 6-7, 232 pound forward averaged 9.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 block. Upshaw can score in the paint, but he can also pass out of the post and knock down some outside shots. Darnell Harris will knock down more shots. He is the big guy who can really stretch out the defense. The 6-8 senior hit 32 three-pointers last season. Upshaw and Harris are not exactly the traditional big bodies Middle Tennessee had a couple years ago, but they are productive. Joshua Phillips will compete with the newcomers to add depth in the post. Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee has a big 6-6, 220 pound wing in Perrin Buford. Buford only averaged 17.8 minutes per game, but he was second on the team in scoring with 8.1 points per game.

Final Projection:
The backcourt boasts Jaqawn Raymond and Giddy Potts. Raymond, a former transfer from North Carolina State, averaged 7.6 points and 2.1 assists last season. He has not really lived up to his potential at Middle Tennessee, but he is a solid all-around player who can score more than his 7.6 points per game. Potts is the most potent three-point shooter on the team. Those two will get a lot of minutes on the perimeter, but it is the play of Jacob Ivory that could have the biggest effect on the team. He is a lightning quick point guard who will be thrust into a bigger role as a sophomore. If Coach Davis wants a true point guard on the floor, he will have to call on either Ivory or Copeland and at this point Ivory is the more proven option. Middle Tennessee finished strong and will look to continue that momentum. They have a deep team, yet Coach Davis will need to find roles for everybody.  

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jaqawn Raymond, Senior, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Giddy Potts, Sophomore, Guard, 6.6 points per game
Perrin Buford, Senior, Forward, 8.1 points per game
Darnell Harris, Senior, Forward, 6.7 points per game
Reggie Upshaw, Junior, Forward, 9.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.5 (272nd in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.4 (68, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.4 (271, 13)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.9 (221, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (125, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.9 (98, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.0 (140, 3)
Rebound Margin: 2.7 (85, 2)
Assists Per Game: 11.0 (280, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (225, 7)


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