For the first time in school history the Middle Tennessee men’s basketball team enters their next contest ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, taking on UAB Saturday in the Murphy Center as the 24th ranked team in the country.
The Blue Raiders received 87 votes in the AP Poll on Monday, placing them just ahead of No. 25 Florida State and behind No. 23 Houston. And are also ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll for the second season in a row, also at No. 24.
Middle Tennessee (22-5, 14-1) and UAB (17-11, 8-7) are meeting for the 17th time in school history with UAB holding a 10-6 advantage all-time, however, the series is tied 5-5 since MT joined Conference USA while the Raiders have won three in a row.
MT currently holds the top spot in Conference USA with just one league loss on the season and stand one game ahead of Old Dominion and WKU. UAB, who the Raiders beat 63-60 in Birmingham to open C-USA play, sit sixth in the standings and are fighting to move back into a top four spot with three games remaining in the regular season.
In its last time out, seniors Nick King and Brandon Walters led Middle Tennessee to a 17-point win at LA Tech as each posted double-doubles against the Bulldogs. The win was a first in Ruston for the Blue Raiders, who now boast a school record and nation-leading 12 true road wins.
UAB was led at Southern Miss last Saturday by William Lee’s 20-point, 14-rebound outing while Zack Bryant (18), Lewis Sullivan (15) and Nick Norton (10) each joined Lee in double figures. The Blazers downed the Golden Eagles 87-69 to join the Blue Raiders and Old Dominion as the only three road teams to win in USM’s Reed Green Coliseum this season.
The Blue Raiders ad Blazers are set to tip at 6:00 p.m. Saturday’s contest will be streamed live on Facebook via Stadium.