Coming off a dominant win in the opening round of the NIT, Middle Tennessee is preparing for a second round matchup against the Louisville Cardinals on Sunday in the KFC Yum! Center.
In their round one win, the Blue Raiders saw an outpouring of points from senior guard Giddy Potts – 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting.
“That’s just what (Giddy) has done here for four years on the biggest stages,” Blue Raider head coach Kermit Davis said. “It was great to see.”
The Cardinals and Blue Raiders have only met twice all-time, with Louisville winning both previous matchups. However, their last meeting dates all the way back to 2005.
This season, the Cardinals started hot, going 15-4 (5-1) in their first 19 games, but distractions off the court surrounding former head coach Rick Pitino and player Brian Bowen disrupted the Cardinals’ season and interim head coach David Padgett led his team to a 6-9 finish to the season.
On the court, Louisville is led by junior forward Deng Adel. The Australian national is averaging 15.6 points per game and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from three.
The Cardinals also gets major contributions from a pair of Louisville natives, junior forward Ray Spalding and senior guard Quentin Snider. Both Spalding and Snider average 12.1 points per contest but do so in completely different ways.
Snider does much of his damage from behind the three point line (41 percent shooting on 158 attempts). Meanwhile, Spalding is more of a rim runner, shooting 53.5 percent from the field and averaging 8.7 rebounds per game.
For the Blue Raiders, Potts and senior forward Nick King have led them for most of the season. King, a Karl Malone award finalist for the top power forward in the country, posted a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) in their round one win over the Catamounts, his 11th of the season.
“We want to finish the season off as strong as we can,” said King.
Junior guard Antwain Johnson had a bounce back performance in round one of the NIT as well, scoring 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while logging two assists and two steals.
Tip-off against the Cardinals is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and will also air on the Blue Raider Network.