MURFREESBORO, Tennessee. — Winners of four straight games, Middle Tennessee men’s basketball is gathering momentum in its toughest test of the season. The Blue Raiders travel to Boca Raton on Thursday to take on No. 21 Florida Atlantic before ending a three-game road swing at FIU on Saturday.
Both games end at 6pm CT. Thursday’s Florida Atlantic game will be shown on CBS Sports Network, while the FIU contest can be seen on C-USA TV. Both games will be broadcast on 94.9 The Fan, 95.1 in Murfreesboro, while Saturday’s competition will also be broadcast on WGNS 101.9 FM, 100.5 FM and 1450 AM. GoBlueRaiders.com and the Varsity Network App will broadcast the digital audio.
Game 21: Middle Tennessee (13-7, 6-3 C-USA) at Florida Atlantic (19-1, 9-0 C-USA)
» Thursday, January 26, 2022 – 6:00 p.m. CT
» Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena
» Boca Raton, FL
Game 22: Middle Tennessee (13-7, 6-3 C-USA) at FIU (9-11, 3-6 C-USA)
» Saturday, January 28, 2022 – 6:00 p.m. CT
» Ocean Bank Convocation Center
All-time against Florida Atlantic and FIU
» The Blue Raiders lead the all-time series with Florida Atlantic, 21-8. MTSU swept the 2021-22 season series over the Owls.
» Middle Tennessee also leads the all-time series over FIU, 33-11 after winning over the Panthers three times in a row.
Blue Raider Notes
» As of Jan. 23, Middle Tennessee is ranked 18th in Division I with an average of 5.2 blocked shots per game.
» Thursday’s game will be the Blue Raiders’ first game against a ranked team since they faced No. 17 Villanova on November 21, 2019. MTSU’s only win against a ranked team was the 2016 NCAA tournament against Michigan State No. 2.
» MTSU joins Navy as the only team in the country that neither loses a player to the transfer portal nor adds a player from it in the 2022 off-season.
» Teafale Lenard, Jr., is 27th in the country in blocked shots with 39 and 32nd in blocks per game with 1.95. He is fifth in career blocks at MTSU with 97.
At 36 dunks a year, Lenard is on track to surpass his program record of 50 by the end of the regular season.
» DeAndre Dishman is one of only seven players in his seventh year in Division I men’s basketball.
» Dishman had his third double-double of the season and seventh of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Rice.
» The Blue Raiders are keeping opponents at a .280 3-point percentage (28-100) in their last six games after limiting LA Tech to a 3-for-21 (.143) performance on Saturday.
» Eli Lawrence goes into play on Thursday with 925 career points. If he averages 6.8 points per game for the rest of the game, he’ll hit the 1,000 point mark by the end of the regular season.
» Lenard had a career game at Belmont in which he posted personal bests in points (20), rebounds (8) and blocks (6) while adding three assists and three steals. His six blocks are the fourth most in a game in program history, and MTSU’s 13 blocks in the game set a new program record.
» The Blue Raiders have gained 19 spots in the NET rankings over the past week, jumping from 126th on Sunday 15th January to 107th on January 22nd.
Exploring the owls
» After debuting at No. 24 in the AP poll a week ago, Florida Atlantic has moved up to No. 21 and is 9-0 in C-USA.
» The Owls maintain second-longest winning streak in the country with 18 games. Only the No. 18 College of Charleston’s 20-game winning streak is longer.
» FAU is one of only three one-loss teams remaining in the country, the others being No. 1 Purdue and No. 18 College of Charleston.
The Owls are one of the deepest teams in the nation, leading Division I in bench scoring with 37.7 points per game.
» FAU is third in C-USA in field goal percentage at 46.8% while keeping opponents off the field at only 40%, second-best clip in the league.
» Vladislav Goldin leads the Owls and is ninth in the conference at 6.2 boards per game.
Exploring the Panthers
» FIU’s signature win of the season came on Jan. 7 when they beat UAB in overtime in Miami.
» The Panthers ended a three-game slip on Saturday with a 77-72 win at UTSA.
» Sophomore guard Denver Jones leads the Panthers and is second in the league with 19.3 points per game. The New Market, Alabama, native has at least 12 points in all but one C-USA tilt.
» Freshman guard Arturo Dean is the FIU’s second-best scorer with 11.8 points per game. He’s also the conference leader in steals per game at 2.4.
» FIU ranks third in C-USA for field goal percentage at 46.2%.
Follow the Blue Raiders
Follow Middle Tennessee Men’s Basketball on social media on Facebook //MTMensBasketball, Twitter (@MT_MBB) and Instagram (@mt_mbb).