Blue Raider’s Non-Conference Schedule 2016-17

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Coming off of a historic postseason run, an exciting and challenging non-conference schedule awaits the Middle Tennessee men’s basketball program for the 2016-17 season.

Head coach Kermit Davis released the non-conference portion of the schedule Thursday and is looking forward to the prospect of an energized fan base entering the upcoming season.

“People ask me all the time how the NCAA Tournament win against Michigan State has most affected our program,” Davis said. “We always talk about the MT brand, but the number one thing that I’m anxious to see is how our success affects season ticket sales.

“We would love to see another dramatic increase this season and try to break the record for most season tickets sold in program history.”

Five of the Blue Raiders’ out-of-conference opponents were postseason teams in 2016, led by three NCAA Tournament participants in UNC Wilmington, Vanderbilt and VCU. Belmont competed in the NIT while Tennessee State appeared in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

The Blue Raiders kick off the season with a home exhibition contest against North Alabama on Nov. 3 before opening up the regular season with a Nov. 11 meeting against Milligan to begin a four-game homestand in the Murphy Center.

MT welcomes Murray State to Murfreesboro next, hosting the Racers on Nov.15. The meeting will be the 139th all-time between the two former Ohio Valley Conference foes, making the Racers the third-most frequent opponent for the Raiders.

Tennessee State makes a return trip to Murfreesboro on Nov. 19 after MT captured an early season, 3-point victory against the Tigers a year ago in Nashville.

The season-opening homestand ends after a Nov. 22 contest with Toledo at the Murphy Center gets the Music City Challenge underway.

The Blue Raiders then travel to Nashville on Thanksgiving weekend for the remainder of the Music City Challenge where they will take on UNC Wilmington (Nov. 25), Toledo (Nov. 26) and Evansville (Nov. 27) at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.

“We feel we’ve put together one of the most exciting non-conference home schedules that we’ve had here with Murray State, Tennessee State, Toledo, Vanderbilt and Georgia State,” Davis stated. “Along with that, there’s a great opportunity for our fans to see us play in Nashville in the Music City Challenge against three very good teams in Evansville, Toledo and North Carolina Wilmington.”

Middle’s first true road game of the season will take place in Oxford, Miss., on Nov. 30 when the Raiders take on their first of two Southeastern Conference challengers, Ole Miss.

The road swing continues on Dec. 3 when the Blue Raiders finish off a home-and-home series with former Sun Belt foe South Alabama, taking on the Jaguars in Mobile, Ala.

Mid-state rival Vanderbilt makes a trip to Murfreesboro on Dec. 8 for the first meeting between the two programs since MT’s 56-52 win at Bridgestone Arena in December of 2012.

One more non-conference road swing awaits the Raiders as they first make a trip to Richmond, Va., on Dec. 14 to face off with VCU. MT then makes its last non-conference road stop at Belmont on Dec. 17, continuing a rivalry that will be played for the 13th consecutive season in 2016.

Non-conference play concludes with a Dec. 21 tilt in the Murphy Center against Georgia State before a holiday break that leads into the New Year’s Day C-USA home opener against UAB.

“Last season we had the 18th largest attendance increase in all of Division I men’s basketball,” Davis said. “If we can stay in the Top 10 percent of that category again this season, with this strong of a schedule, then we will be doing a great job of continuing to strengthen this program.”