MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Sun Belt) - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team earned a No. 4 seed for the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and will host fifth-seeded Marshall on Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. CT in Murphy Center with the game airing on ESPN3. The Blue Raiders received an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the Sun Belt regular-season championship.
"When you look at the field, it's a great reflection on our team that we're hosting," head coach Kermit Davis said. "There are 16 or 18 teams in this field that could win NCAA tournament games. Marshall is a really talented team and they're playing really well."
The Blue Raiders are making their third NIT appearance in program history after finishing the regular season 25-6 overall and 14-2 in league play. MT last played in the NIT in 1988 and served as host for three games. The Blue Raiders defeated Tennessee and Georgia before falling to Boston College in the quarterfinals. MT's only other NIT appearance was in 1986 with the Blue Raiders falling at Clemson in the opening round.
The two teams have met five times previously, with MT owning a 3-2 advantage in the series. Although Marshall earned a 63-60 win in the last meeting between the two teams on Nov. 17, 2010, in Huntington, W.Va., the Blue Raiders are 2-0 against the Thundering Herd in Murfreesboro. The last time Marshall and MT played in Murfreesboro was Dec. 22, 1987, with the Blue Raiders claiming a 91-80 victory.
MT finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 14-1 home record and currently holds a 13-game winning streak on its home floor. The Blue Raiders are one win shy from matching the program record of 15 wins at home set in 1974-75 and matched in 1987-88.
Marshall finished the season 21-13, falling to Conference USA champion Memphis in the league tournament on Saturday. Prior to that, the Thundering Herd had won four in a row, including three tournament victories.