Middle Tennessee State 2010 College Insider Tournament Preview
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders - Sun Belt Conference (19-13, 13-5)
Big Wins: 1/18 Western Kentucky (47-46), 1/23 at Western Kentucky (84-74), 1/30 North Texas (69-64)
Bad Losses: 11/23 at North Carolina A&T (56-65), 1/14 Florida International (58-65), 1/16 Florida Atlantic (60-61)
Coach: Kermit Davis
Probable Middle Tennessee State Starters:
James Washington, Junior, Guard, 11.8 ppg, 3.8 apg
Calvin O’Neil, Senior, Guard, 7.6 ppg, 2.1 apg
Montarrio Haddock, Senior, Guard, 13.1 ppg, 1.3 apg, 5.7 rpg
Desmond Yates, Senior, Forward, 13.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Trevor Ottley, Junior, Forward, 3.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Key MTSU Roleplayers:
Rod Emanuel, Junior, Guard, 5.9 ppg, 1.2 apg
James Gallman, Freshman, Guard, 7.8 ppg, 1.1 apg
J.T. Sulton, Freshman, Forward, 4.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Why The Blue Raiders Can Surprise:
Middle Tennessee State’s season did not start off too well, but in the end they tied for the Sun Belt title…there first league title since they won the Ohio Valley Conference crown during the 1988-1989 season. Much of their success stems from a team that takes smart shots and players who can make those shots. Desmond Yates is a 6-7 power forward who stretches out the defense with his shooting ability. He connects on 40.9 percent of his 2.6 attempts from long range. Yet, Yates is equally productive inside the arc and leads the team with 13.4 points per game.
James Washington and James Gallman are the more traditional perimeter shooters on the team. While neither is quite as accurate as Yates, both are relatively consistent. Washington is also the point guard and he will score in a variety of ways. Gallman, the Blue Raiders sixth man, usually comes in off the bench to spark the offense with his outside shooting ability.
Why The Blue Raiders Can Disappoint:
And the offense needs some sparking every once in a while. Despite scoring nearly 70 points per game, MTSU ranks near the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference in assists. Too often when forced into a half-court offense the team will pass the ball around looking for an opening that they cannot find. Eventually somebody is forced to take a bad shot. Washington does a decent job of setting up his teammates, but the overall assist numbers are way too low. Fellow starting guard Calvin O’Neil has the size to attack the basket, but sometimes he needs to slow it down and make an extra pass and look for a better shot. This team certainly needs Washington and O’Neil to score, but those two also have to be leaders on the floor and help the offense find the open man.
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Who To Watch for MTSU:
Montarrio Haddock and Trevor Ottley might be the key players for MTSU if they hope for a little postseason run. Haddock is a versatile wing who can score in every way possible and leads the team in rebounding. Ottley is slowly becoming the clog in the middle. Despite starting just eight games and averaging a mere 16.1 minutes per contest, Ottley is second on the team with 4.2 rebounds and leads the team with 1.3 blocks per contest. The 6-9, 210 pound junior is not much of an offensive threat, but he is a game changer on the other end of the floor. It would be nice to have a true interior scorer, but Middle Tennessee State needs Ottley’s defense against most opponents or they will have big trouble defending a physical post player.
Middle Tennessee State By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.8 (177th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.0 (63, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.2 (138, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.0 (215, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (189, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.2 (53, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.6 (29, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (117, 4)
Assists Per Game: 10.9 (297, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (130, 6)