Beginning Monday, June 21st,
2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the
nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the
opening day of the 2004-05 Season.
144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back
each day to see which team is previewed next.
#86 Middle Tennessee State Blue
2003-04: 17-12, 8-6, 4th
2003-04 postseason: none
Blue Raiders never really got things going last year. Every time head coach
Kermit Davis had his team on a two or three game winning streak, they’d lose
a tough game and would have trouble getting back to their winning ways.
This year, a young, but talented group will need to be more consistent. The
Raiders return a solid group and have a great incoming class of new players.
Who’s Out: Tommy Gunn is third on the all-time scoring list at Middle
Tennessee State. His scoring and leadership will be missed greatly. Steven
Jackson and Marcus Robinson both averaged over 15 minutes per game. Both
were solid options off the bench. Keith Connor saw action in 23 games but
only averaged 1.2 points and 1.7 assists.
Who’s In: A group of talented and experienced players will add
immediate depth to the Blue Raiders roster. Steve Thomas, a transfer from
Georgia, will be available after the completion of fall semester. The 6-8
forward scored 10.2 points and grabbed 7.3 rebounds per game for the
Bulldogs two years ago. Guard Jonathan Loe spent some time with Ole Miss
before going to Northwest Mississippi Junior College. Loe is a hardworking,
multi-talented guard who can fill any spot on the perimeter. Junior college
guards Francis Cuyler and Marcus Morrison will add even more depth to the
backcourt. Morrison, at 6-6, is a tremendous athlete and determined
defender. Experienced help is coming into the frontcourt as well with
Indian River Junior College transfer Tim Blue. The 6-8 power forward
averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots last year at the Juco
level. The only incoming freshman is forward Brian Lake. He might not see
much playing time early, but has the potential to become an impact player in
the years to come.
Who to Watch: Mike Dean led the Blue Raiders last year with 16.2
points per game. He is a solid shooter, draining 62 of 142 attempts from
behind the arc. Dean can light it up on any given day. He scored over 20
points in six of his 23 games last year, including a 30 point showcase
against Arkansas State. Dean’s senior leadership and scoring ability will
be needed for the Raiders to compete for the top spot in the Sun Belt.
Projected Conference Rank: Western Kentucky and New Orleans will keep
it close, but Middle Tennessee State has enough weapons to finish 1st in the
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
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