By Steven Johnson//Contributing Writer
MTSU men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis did not let a disappointing 2014 campaign stop the Blue Raiders from upping the ante on their non-conference schedule next season.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Sunday afternoon that the Blue Raiders have tentatively agreed to a home-and-home series with the VCU Rams.
Both schools are in the process of finalizing the agreement.
Per the preliminary agreement between the schools, the first game of the series is scheduled for the upcoming 2015-16 season in Murfreesboro on Dec. 2.
The return game is scheduled for the 2016-17 season in Richmond, per the tentative agreement.
The game instantly becomes one of the more important non-conference games on the Blue Raiders’ schedule given the success of the Atlantic 10 power.
The Rams gained prominence under the direction of former coaches Anthony Grant and Shaka Smart, with the latter guiding the Rams to the 2011 Final Four.
VCU had been consistent under Smart, making five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
However, the Rams will be replacing their most successful coach in Smart, who took the Texas job earlier in the offseason.
The Blue Raiders will now face a dangerous team led by new coach Will Wade, who VCU hired out of UT-Chattanooga.
The Rams return key pieces from a 26-win team, such as leading scorer Treveon Graham, former Atlantic 10 sixth man of the year Melvin Johnson and their senior guard, Briante Weber.
The VCU announcement comes on the verge of the Blue Raiders’ finalization of a neutral site game with Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers in Nashville for the upcoming season.
The Tigers lost their top two scorers with both KT Harrell and Antoine Mason graduating after last season. However, Auburn does return big man Cinmeon Bowers and junior point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen, who Pearl will lean on to lead his team.
The MTSU and Auburn matchup is scheduled for Dec. 12 at Bridgestone Arena.
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