MTSU men hoops to play tough schedule in 14-15

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The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team released its 2014-15 schedule packed with strong opponents on Wednesday afternoon. The Blue Raiders are slated to face a challenging road schedule with contests against Auburn, Oklahoma State, Belmont and Akron in non-conference action.

"When you combine our non-conference schedule with the 18-game Conference USA slate it makes for the most challenging schedule we have played in my 14 years at Middle Tennessee," said head coach Kermit Davis.

MT will participate in the Emerald Coast Classic from November 22-29 as the squad hosts its first two match-ups against Southern University and Northern Arizona. The Raiders will then take the tournament to Niceville, Florida to face Cincinnati, a 2014 NCAA Tournament participant. Middle Tennessee is set to face Ole Miss or Creighton in its fourth game of the Emerald Coast Classic.

The Emerald Coast Classic is the start of the Blue Raiders longest road swing of the season with six games played off their home court. MT follows with Belmont and South Alabama and then heads to Akron before closing the swing in Stillwater, Oklahoma facing yet another 2014 NCAA Tournament participant in Oklahoma State.

MT closes 2014 with a road contest vs. the SEC's Auburn on December 29 for the team's final preparation before conference play begins. This marks the first year of a three-year series with the Tigers with the second game taking place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee and the third played at the Birmingham Civic Center.

"Teams that represent the Big 12, Big East, SEC, American Athletic, MAC, OVC and other very competitive conferences give us a very diverse schedule we need to build our team," Davis said.

The Blue Raiders open the conference bout against UAB on January 4 in the Murphy Center. Middle Tennessee features conference games at home against WKU, Southern Miss, LA Tech, Marshall, Old Dominion, Charlotte, FIU and Florida Atlantic.

"Our home schedule features past rivalry games with Murray State, Chattanooga and Tennessee State to pair with a very appealing C-USA home stand," Davis explained. "Conference USA will definitely be a top-10 basketball league in 2014-15. The balance of the league will make for an outstanding conference race with some very exciting home games in the Murphy Center."

Middle Tennessee went 24-9 in 2013-14 and 13-3 in its inaugural season in Conference USA to win a share of the regular season crown. The Blue Raiders lost four starters from last year's squad but welcome eight new faces to the team who are looking to make an immediate impact.

"Our team of eight newcomers and six returners will be tested early but we look forward to some outstanding opportunities throughout the year," Davis said.

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Conference USA, football, MTSU
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