NEW ORLEANS (SunBeltSports.org) - With 20 wins, Middle Tennessee has already clinched a winning season and are one of five teams in the country with 20 wins already this year. This is the ninth winning season under head coach Kermit Davis and fifth in the last six years for MT. MT now has back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons. Ironically, in 1987-88, MT finished 23-11, went to the NIT and won two games, including one over Tennessee. The Blue Raiders followed that up with a 23-8 record and NCAA tournament berth where they beat Florida State before falling to Virginia.
MT has won nine in a row and 13 of their last 14 games in large part due to the Blue Raider defense. MT ranks 27th nationally according to Pomeroy with a rating of 89.2 in defensive efficiency. The Blue Raiders also rank 12th in the country with an .807 winning percentage over the past two seasons.
MT ranks the highest in the Sun Belt in all of the following: NCAA RPI: 36, ESPN Daily RPI: 35, ESPN BPI: 49, Pomeroy: 47, Sagarin: 57, ESPN Mid-Major Poll: 6 and Bleacher Report Mid-Major: 5.
The Blue Raiders maintain their lead in the Sun Belt East Division over South Alabama by three games.
Two teams sit atop the Sun Belt West Division standings as UALR and Arkansas State both share 8-5 records and are four games ahead of the pack. UALR lost in its only game last week to South Alabama. Meanwhile, Arkansas State is now on a three game win streak.
The Red Wolves will meet Middle Tennessee on Thursday in Murfreesboro and then travel to Bowling Green to face WKU. UALR, meanwhile, will only have one game again this week - a raod contest against Louisiana-Monroe.
ASU and UALR will meet for the first of two games on Valentine's Day in Jonesboro.
Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week – As selected by the Sun Belt member institutions
Trey Finn (Arkansas State, Sr., G)
Trey Finn helped Arkansas State gain a current share of first-place in the SBC's West Division as the Red Wolves were victorious in both of last week's contests. Finn recorded a game-high tying 18 points and a game-best three steals to go with a team-leading eight rebounds in ASU's 74-62 home conference decision over South Alabama last Thursday (1/31). The 6-2 backcourt player contributed 14 points with six rebounds and a game-high five steals in a 75-66 overtime home league win against NorthTexas last Saturday (2/2). Finn has registered seven double-figure point outings in his last eight appearances and is averaging 13.4 points per game (107 pts.) during that span. For this season, Finn has accumulated 11 double-digit point contests to date. Finn presently ranks 21st among ASU's all-time leaders with 1,056 career points. He ranks 13th in career rebounding (628 total) and fourth in career steals (150) on the Red Wolves' all-time leaders list.
* Florida Atlantic at FIU - 6:00 PM
* Arkansas State at Middle Tennessee - 7:00 PM (ESPN3)
* WKU at North Texas - 7:00 PM (TXA-21/WKYU)
* Troy at South Alabama - 7:05 PM
* UALR at UL-Monroe - 7:30 PM
* Troy at Middle Tennessee - 5:00 PM
* Arkansas State at WKU - 7:00 PM (HSSN/ESPN3)
* FIU at North Texas - 7:00 PM
* Florida Atlantic at South Alabama - 7:30 PM (Sun Belt Network)
* UL-Monroe at UL-Lafayette - 7:15 PM
* Florida Atlantic 76, Louisiana-Monroe 71
* Middle Tennessee 66, FIU 64
* Louisiana-Lafayette 105, North Texas 74
* Western Kentucky 65, Troy 61 (HSSN/ESPN3)
* Arkansas State 74, South Alabama 62
* Middle Tennessee 73, Florida Atlantic 56
* FIU 76, Louisiana-Monroe 73
* South Alabama 70, UALR 66
* Arkansas State 75, North Texas 66 (OT)
* Troy 71, Louisiana-Lafayette 52