The Blue Raider men's basketball team is headed to the big dance for the first time in 24 years.
Middle Tennessee earned a No. 11 seed for the 2013 NCAA Championship and will face fellow No. 11 seed Saint Mary's in the First Four on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, at 8:10 p.m.
MT is making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1989 and seventh in program history. The Blue Raiders are 2-6 all-time in the tournament, with the last win coming in the 1989 Southeast Regional appearance.
With the No. 11 seed, it matches the best seed in program history. MT was also the No. 11 seed in the 1982 Mideast Regional, the same year the Blue Raiders won their first NCAA tournament game against No. 6 seed Kentucky. The Blue Raiders captured a 50-44 win over the No. 6 Wildcats in Nashville, Tenn., before falling to third-seeded Louisville in the second round, 81-56.
MT has recorded one other win in the tournament. No. 13 MT knocked off fourth-seeded Florida State, 97-83, in the first round of the 1989 tournament thanks to a 17-point comeback in the final 16 minutes. The Blue Raiders then fell to Virginia, 104-88, in the second round in Nashville, Tenn.
Kermit Davis is making his third trip to the dance as a head coach. In 1989 and 1990, Davis took the Idaho Vandals to the tournament after winning the Big Sky regular season and tournament championships both years. Ironically, Saint Mary's head coach Randy Bennett also has Idaho ties, as he was a graduate assistant when Davis was an assistant coach on the 1986-87 staff.
The Blue Raiders earned a bid after boasting a 28-5 record and 19-1 Sun Belt record. MT reeled off a school-record 17 straight wins during the season, led by Marcos Knight with 12.5 points per game.
Saint Mary's boasts a 27-6 record out of the West Coast Conference. The Gaels finished 14-2 in conference play, with both losses coming to Gonzaga. Saint Mary's also fell to the Bulldogs in the WCC tournament championship. The Gaels are led by Matthew Dellavedova with 15.8 points per game.