Photo by Sarah Grace Taylor // Managing Editor
It was the biggest win for Middle Tennessee in school history.
MTSU became the eighth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 seed, defeating Michigan State 90-81 at the Scottrade Center.
Prior to the win, the Blue Raiders had an all-time record of 0-22 against top-ten ranked teams, and hadn’t beaten a Big Ten opponent since Michigan back in 1986.
The last team to upset Michigan State in the first round (George Mason, 2006) went on a run to the Final Four.
Even with a monumental upset by MTSU head coach Kermit Davis and his Blue Raiders, something more important came across his mind after the final buzzer.
“You know, I thought about my dad because he couldn’t be here. He’s got a little touch of pneumonia and he’s 80,” Davis explained. “My mother couldn’t come, too. I looked straight across and my wife and Betty and Claire and Ally and my brother and sister were here, along with some good pals. Just a lot of things that go through it, families and the coaches’ wives.
“And I felt a tremendous joy for Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee State University.”
Davis’ father, Kermit Davis, Sr., was once a head coach as well, with the same roots at Mississippi State University.
The elder Davis was the head coach at Mississippi State for seven seasons, being named SEC coach of the year in the 1971 season.
Also in attendance was Davis’ daughter, Ally Davis, who attends almost every MTSU game.
“She’s something,” Davis said with a smile. “My oldest daughter, Ally, is 28 and has Down Syndrome. She was born when I was an assistant coach at the University of Idaho working with Tim Floyd. So Ally puts everything, trust me, into perspective. She keeps us right on our toes all the time.”
Much like any game inside the Murphy Center, Ally’s presence calmed Kermit Davis and MTSU on its biggest stage.
“It was so funny. We’re fixing to play the game… and Ally has to eat at every game,” Davis said. “They’re sitting right across [from me], and walking down the steps. And about 30 seconds before tip-off, I saw [Ally] walking down the steps with her pizza. She was more worried about getting something to eat at lunch. But it kind of puts a calmness to you.
“And she’ll look forward to a really big hug, that’s for sure.”
To contact Sports Editor Connor Grott, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Connor_Grott.