Sunday, October 1, 2023

MTSU men’s basketball vs Charlotte conference tournament preview


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Featured photo by Calvin White

Story by Calvin White

Frisco, TX- The Middle Tennessee men’s basketball team awaits its date with the Charlotte 49ers Thursday night at 6:00 at The Ford Center. The 49ers are a familiar opponent for the Blue Raiders as the two foes have met twice already this season. The third matchup will determine who moves on to the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament. 

In the first meeting in Charlotte, the 49ers manhandled the Blue Raiders 82-67. MTSU led 50-47 with 11:34 remaining in the second half, then Charlotte went on a 17-2 run over the next five-and-a-half minutes and never sacrificed the lead. If the Blue Raiders want to win on Thursday night, they cannot give up big runs. 

In the second meeting between the two teams in the Murphy Center, a Tyler Millin 3-pointer proved to be the go-ahead shot that secured the Blue Raiders’ victory. MTSU forced 21 Charlotte turnovers for 21 points and outscored the 49ers 15-3 in fastbreak points. Forcing turnovers and getting out in transition is a major strength of the Blue Raiders and will make life easier for Nick McDevitt’s squad if they can get out and run. 

The 49ers run the pack line defense that is designed to take away passes to the wings and eliminate all driving and passing lanes. Middle Tennessee thrives on getting to the rim and finishing in the paint; the Blue Raiders scored 36 points in the paint in the second meeting. If guys like Eli Lawrence, Camryn Weston, and Teafale Lenard Jr. can exploit Charlotte’s pack line with their slashing abilities, they can finish at the rim and even find some open looks for Deandre Dishman down low. 

Calvin White is the sports editor for MTSU Sidelines. If you have information for a story, you can contact him at

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