Middle Tennessee State Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Conference USA (24-9, 13-5)
Middle Tennessee State quietly finished second in Conference USA with a 13-5 record. It was not a great year for the conference, but the Blue Raiders are still a dangerous team under the direction of Coach Kermit Davis. And MTSU is playing their best basketball right now after beating Charlotte, Marshall and Old Dominion to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013, where they lost to Saint Mary’s in the round of 64.
Big Wins: 12/17 Belmont (83-62), 1/16 at Old Dominion (64-61), 3/11 vs Marshall (99-90)
Bad Losses: 11/17 at Murray State (65-76), 12/22 at Georgia State (62-64), 2/25 Western Kentucky (72-78)
Coach: Kermit Davis
Why They Can Surprise:
Middle Tennessee has a balanced offense, but they also have one of the most versatile players in the country in Reggie Upshaw. The 6-7 senior forward leads the team with 8.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals and adds 13.8 points per game. Upshaw does not shoot too many three-pointers, but he does connect on 37.5 percent of his attempts. Upshaw is much more effective in the paint and attacking the basket, although his free-throw shooting is poor. Perrin Buford is another double digit scorer who can shoot a little, but is more dangerous attacking the basket. Giddy Potts and Darnell Harris are the best outside shooters on the team and are the reason why this was the most efficient three-point shooting team in Conference USA. Potts is the team’s top scorer with 15.0 points per game and connects on 50.3 percent of his shots from long range. Harris is the big guy that can stretch the floor with his shooting. Despite the fact that Harris is not the toughest big man around, this is still a very good rebounding team thanks to the toughness of Potts and Buford on the wing. 
Why They Can Disappoint:
MTSU relies heavily on those four scorers, but they also relied on Edward Simpson, who was starting towards the end of the season. However, Simpson had a gruesome injury in practice and the guard missed the Conference USA Tournament and will miss the NCAA Tournament as well. Jaqawn Raymond is an experienced senior who has starting experience, but the loss of Simpson leaves little depth. Quavis Copeland and Xavier Habersham have to do more now. Copeland is a solid ball handler and Habersham can be a dangerous shooter at times. Potts, Buford, Upshaw and Harris are going to get their points, but Coach Davis needs Raymond, Copeland and Habersham to be productive too, even if they are not scoring. However, Raymond can score. He led the team with 20 points in the CUSA semifinal victory over Marshall. But they will be playing a tougher team than Marshall in the NCAA Tournament.
Probable Starters:
Jaqawn Raymond, Senior, Guard, 5.0 ppg, 1.8 apg
Giddy Potts, Sophomore, Guard, 15.0 ppg, 1.3 apg, 5.5 rpg
Perrin Buford, Senior, Forward, 12.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Reggie Upshaw, Junior, Forward, 14.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.5 spg
Darnell Harris, Senior, Forward, 11.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Key Roleplayers:
Quavius Copeland, Sophomore, Guard, 4.8 ppg, 1.9 apg
Xavier Habersham, Junior, Forward, 3.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.2 (198th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.3 (91, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (147, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.0 (149, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.1 (77, 3)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.7 (27, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 60.5 (344, 14)
Rebound Margin:  2.7 (95, 4)
Assists Per Game:  13.2 (185, 8)
Turnovers Per Game:  11.9 (92, 2)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    CIT      First Round loss to Kent State
2013    NCAA First Round loss to St. Mary's
2012    NIT      First Round win over Marshall
2012    NIT      Second Round win over Tennessee
2012    NIT      Quarterfinal loss to Minnesota
2010    CIT      First Round loss to Missouri State
1989    NCAA Round of 64 win over Florida State
1989    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Virginia
1988    NIT      First round win over Tennessee
1988    NIT      Second round win over Georgia
1988    NIT      Quarterfinal loss to Boston College
1987    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Notre Dame
*all team stats through 3/6