Friday, March 24, 2023

March Madness playlists: What the Blue Raiders listen to before they take the court


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Photo by Kevin Martin / Contributor & Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor

Middle Tennessee takes on Minnesota Thursday in what could be one the biggest games in the history of the basketball program. There is a lot at stake for both parties but for MTSU, they are hoping to build off their success they gained in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

With so much on the line, players will usually turn to anything to get their minds right for the game. It could be prayer, an extra hour of sleep or a game day superstition they carry out for good luck. However, what they turn to most of the time is music.

This Thursday, from the time the players leave the hotel until they step onto the court for warmups, they will be dialed in to their individual playlists. The crucial few minutes they have alone with themselves isn’t long, but can set the mood of the day in an instance.

Below, members of the team chose five songs each that give them the most hype and energy on game day. Ranked from one to five with with one being their favorite, take a look and listen to what these athletes will be will be tuned into Thursday afternoon.

Ed Simpson

  1. “Neighbors” – J. Cole
  2. “Crunch time” – J. Cole
  3. “Narcotics” – Denzel Curry
  4. “Chasin'” – Peewee Longway
  5. “Chaining Day” – J. Cole

Simpson admits that he doesn’t listen to a whole lot of music before a game, but what little he does listen to consists of mostly “smooth hits” by J. Cole. Simpson’s cool, calm and collected persona easily translates into his music tastes. The selections present a slower vibe that is good for clearing the mind, almost meditation-like for the junior prior to hitting the court.

Tyrik Dixon

  1. “I’m Da Man” – Lud Foe
  2. “Peace of Mind” – G Herbo
  3. “Eastside” – G Herbo
  4. “Ambition of a Rider” – Lud Foe
  5. “H.A.M.” – NBA Youngboy

Vastly different than that of his teammate above, Dixon’s style is a little more amped up. There’s no question about it that the point-guard digs the sounds of G Herbo and Lud Foe, selecting “I’m Da Man” as his favorite song.

His reasoning?

“Because going onto the court, I feel like I’m the man and this song just gets me focused.”

Reggie Upshaw

  1. “Questions” – Moneybagg Yo
  2. “Ambition of a Rider” – Lud Foe
  3. “187” – Lud Foe
  4. “Hate It or Love It” – The Game
  5. “That’s What I like” – Bruno Mars

From the jazz funk of Bruno Mars to the dirty south rap of The Game, Upshaw may just have one of the more diverse sense of music likings on the team.

At the end of the day, however, Moneybagg Yo is who claimed the top spot on Upshaw’s list, simply because “It puts me into kill mode,” Upshaw said.

JaCorey Williams

  1. “Call Casting” – Migos
  2. “Kelly Price” – Migos
  3. “Ambition of a Rider” – Lud Foe
  4. “What’s the Price” – Migos
  5. “Out Yo Way” – Migos

“Calling” on the Migos for four out of his five songs, it’s safe to assume that they are his favorite group, but what strikes a cord even more is that Fud Loe’s “Ambition of Rider” was chosen in three out of the four Blue Raiders’ playlists.

You can count on that track being played loud and proud prior to MTSU’s game against Minnesota on Thursday at 3 pm EST.

Follow MTSU Men’s Basketball beat writers Tyler Lamb (@Tlamb35) and Rusty Ellis (@RustyEllis13) on Twitter for more coverage.

For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.

To contact Sports Editor Tyler Lamb (@Tlamb35), email

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