NEW ORLEANS - The Sun Belt champion Middle Tennessee men’s basketball team has earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Championship March 3-6 in Hot Springs, Ark. The Blue Raiders earned a first-round bye and will face the winner of the matchup between No. 8 seed Florida Atlantic and No. 9 seed Arkansas State in the quarterfinals on Sunday, March 4 at 6 p.m. CT at Summit Arena. Sunday’s game will air on the Sun Belt Network, Comcast channel 27 in Murfreesboro, in addition to ESPN3.
MT wrapped up a historic regular-season with a 25-5 record, marking the most wins in program history and the second-most for a regular-season in Sun Belt history. The Blue Raiders finished league play 14-2, also a school record for conference victories.
The No. 1 seed is the first for the Blue Raiders since 1989 when MT was a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Blue Raiders have now been the top-seeded team in a league tournament five times and have won the title twice from the No. 1 spot. MT claimed OVC tournament titles as the No. 1 seed in 1975 and 1989, while the Blue Raiders were also the top-seeded team in 1978 and 1987.
Along with MT, UALR, Denver, Louisiana and North Texas earned byes into the quarterfinals of the tournament championship. The first round and the quarterfinals of the championship will take place March 3 and 4 with the league utilizing a two court system as games will be played in Summit Arena and the Convention Center Court. The semifinals and championship game will be played exclusively in Summit Arena.
The first round games can be viewed exclusively on www.sunbeltsports.org as SBC Extra will webcast those games. The quarterfinal games taking place in Summit Arena will be aired on the Sun Belt Network, while the Convention Center Court quarterfinals will be shown on SBC Extra. Both semifinal matchups will be aired on the Sun Belt Network with the championship match being broadcast nationally on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CT. All quarterfinal, semifinal and championship games will also air on ESPN3.
Booklets for the 2012 Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Conference Championship are now on sale. Cost is $83 and includes a ticket to all eight sessions for the tournament. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-888-YES-MTSU or visiting GoBlueRaiders.com.
Championship Schedule of Events
Saturday, March 3
Game 1 - No. 6 South Alabama vs. No. 11 Troy - 6:00 p.m. (Summit Arena)
Game 2 - No. 8 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 9 Arkansas State - 6:15 p.m. (Convention Center Court)
Game 3 - No. 7 Western Kentucky vs. No. 10 FIU - 8:30 p.m. (Summit Arena)
Sunday, March 4
Game 4 - No. 1 Middle Tennessee vs. Winner Game 2 - 6:00 p.m. (Sun Belt Network - Summit Arena)
Game 5 - No. 4 Louisiana-Lafayette vs. No. 5 North Texas - 6:15 p.m. (Convention Center Court)
Game 6 - No. 2 UALR vs. Winner Game 3 - 8:30 p.m. (Sun Belt Network - Summit Arena)
Game 7 - No. 3 Denver vs. Winner Game 1 - 8:45 p.m. (Convention Center Court)
Monday, March 5
Game 8 - Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5 - 6:00 p.m. (Sun Belt Network - Summit Arena)
Game 9 - Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 7 - 8:30 p.m. (Sun Belt Network - Summit Arena)
Tuesday, March 6
Championship Game - Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9 - 6:00 p.m. (ESPN2 – Summit Arena)