Middle Tennessee Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Sun Belt (28-5, 19-1)


Middle Tennessee cruised to another Sun Belt title. With a roster loaded with upperclassmen, the Blue Raiders and Coach Kermit Davis will not be content just to reach the postseason. They want to win. Last season they made a nice run to the quarterfinals of the NIT, knocking off Marshall and Tennessee on the way. This could be even better if everything goes as planned.

Big Wins: 12/08 Mississippi (65-62), 12/18 at Tennessee State (77-48), 1/31 at Florida International (66-64)
Bad Losses: 12/02 at Akron (77-82), 1/03 at Arkansas State (60-66), 3/10 vs Florida International (57-61)
Coach: Kermit Davis (11 seasons at Middle Tennessee)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Blue Raiders can go ten deep without much of a drop off in production. In fact, 11 players have started at least one game this year. Coach Davis wants defensive intensity and he can get it with depth like that. MTSU may not have dominating defenders, but they play superb team defense. The stalwart in the paint is 6-8 forward Shawn Jones. His shot blocking numbers will not pop out at anybody, but he is a solid presence in the paint and that is very important to this defense. On the perimeter, Marcos Knight, Bruce Massey and Tweety Knight all average over one steal per game. But Knight is more than a defender; he is also a great rebounding guard and the team’s best scorer. Knight is not a great shooter, but will finish around the rim and is at least a threat to take the occasional long ball.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The lack of shooting prowess on the perimeter could turn into a big problem for MTSU. This is not a team that attempts many long balls and it may become difficult for the Blue Raiders to catch up against quality competition without the help of the three-pointer. Super sub Raymond Cintron is really the only consistently dangerous shooter on the team. However, he can spark the offense in a hurry and when Cintron’s shot is falling, this is a very dangerous offense. On the flip side, when Cintron is having an off night, the Middle Tennessee offense can quickly become stagnant. The Blue Raiders are not going to pull off any upsets when the opposition can clog the paint and stop players like Knight, Neiko Hunter and Kerry Hammonds from attacking the basket or Jones and J.T. Sulton from scoring in the paint.

Probable Starters:
Bruce Massey, Senior, Guard, 6.6 ppg, 3.3 apg
Marcos Knight, Senior, Guard, 12.5 ppg, 2.4 apg, 5.8 rpg
Kerry Hammonds, Junior, Guard, 6.2 ppg, 1.6 apg
Shawn Jones, Junior, Forward, 8.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg
J.T. Sulton, Senior, Forward, 6.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Raymond Cintron, Senior, Guard, 8.7 ppg, 1.5 apg
Neiko Hunter, Junior, Forward, 7.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
James Gallman, Senior, Guard, 4.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg
Jason Jones, Senior, Forward, 3.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Tweety Knight, Junior, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 2.5 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.2 (86th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.8 (16, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.3 (44, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.4 (38, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (255, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.8 (36, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.3 (173, 5)
Rebound Margin: 6.0 (25, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (90, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.8 (215, 3)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
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 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules