Men's Hoops Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee
FAU (7-10, 3-3) @ MTSU (8-9, 3-2)
When: Saturday, Jan. 16th - 8:00PM EST
Where: Murfreesboro, TN - Murphy Center
Live Video: MTSU Pay Per View
ESPN 760 Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
MTSU Team Site: Here
G Ray Taylor 16.5 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.8 ppg
G Alex Tucker 4.2 ppg
F Sanchez Hughley 9.4 ppg
F Brett Royster 9.9 ppg
G Rod Emanuel 6.9 ppg
G James Washington 10.9 ppg
F Calvin O’Neil 4.7 ppg
F Montarrio Haddock 14.2 ppg
F Desmond Yates 14.2 ppg
The Blue Raiders lead the all time series 6-1. FAU's lone win was a 75-67 victory at home on February 23, 2008.
FAU at a Glance
The Owls will be looking for a split on their two game Sun Belt road trip on Saturday night.
Florida Atlantic fought hard, but foul trouble and poor free throw shooting played havoc late, as Western Kentucky pulled out a 79-72 win on Thursday night at Diddle Arena.
Jarvis was not happy about the team's lack of fundamental efforts from the charity stripe and underneath the basket, but was pleased with Greg Gantt's 23 point performance on 5-6 shooting from long range.
"He's doing a great job, and he's also playing a lot better on defense", Jarvis said. "Hopefully we'll take better care of the ball (Saturday), we'll make more lay-ups and free throws, and we'll come home with a road win."
With Hughley in foul trouble early, the Owl's had a tough time defending WKU's four-man Stepphon Pettigrew, who dropped 21 points.
But, despite the loss, the team has shown leaps and bounds improvement over last year's squad. Jarvis made mention of this after the game.
“I was lying like a dog last year,” said Jarvis. “We were awful last year. That was just me in a moment of insanity just trying to survive a long, bad season. And we did, thank God. But the good news is now we have the beginning of a basketball program”.
“I think we’re the youngest team in America, but I also think that we have a lot of potential and a lot of hope for the future. I like our team, I like our chances in the league this year, and I wouldn’t want to play us in the Sun Belt Tournament", Jarvis said.
FAU is second in scoring offense in the Sun Belt at 74.6 ppg and has two scorers in the top 10 in Taylor (16.5 ppg), and Gantt (14.8 ppg).
MTSU at a Glance
The Blue Raiders lost to FIU on Thursday night 65-58 thanks to a Golden Panther 16-5 run to start the second half. Montarrio Haddock posted his second double-double and fourth 20-point game of the season.
The Panther bench held a 31-13 scoring advantage over the Blue Raider's.
"I give FIU all the credit in the world. Their team competed harder than we did, got better guard play than we did and we got beat in every phase of basketball tonight," said MTSU head coach Kermit Davis.
Senior forward Desmond Yates needs just 70 points to claim the all-time Blue Raider scoring record with 14 games still left to play on the regular season schedule.
Middle Tennessee leads the Sun Belt in scoring defense (65.2 ppg), but is ninth in scoring offense (68.5 ppg).
Owl's Nest Prediction
It's the "Offense vs. Defense show" - literally.
Game is too close to call really. But, for the sake of trying, here it is:
FAU has command of most stat categories except free throw percentage made - which they got nailed on hard last night. The Blue Raiders enjoy a 7% advantage there, and that is worth two points.
However, the Owls continues to improve with each outing, and growth does not show up in the stat column. Give them a point.
If MTSU didn't falter against the Panthers, would likely be on board with the possibility of an upset. Unfortunately, FAU will face another pissed off team - who just lost at home - tomorrow night. And that is worth another 2 points.
Have to go with the Blue Raiders.