Topper Extra: MTSU by the numbers

WKU freshman guard Charles Bassey (23) shoots a free-throw during an exhibition match vs Kentucky Wesleyan in E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Sophie Austin

The basketball edition of one of Conference USA’s fiercest rivalries takes to the court at Diddle Arena tonight in a huge matchup for the Hilltoppers going into C-USA bonus play. Here are 10 numbers that define the Hilltoppers’ matchup with Middle Tennessee State.

8-17: Following a rough start to the season with an overall record of 3-14 and a C-USA record of 0-4 in the first 17 games, the Blue Raiders have now accumulated a record of 8-17 this season and a C-USA record of 5-7. They are currently tied for eighth place in the conference.

13: In an 89-86 win over Texas-San Antonio back in January, MTSU snapped a 13-game losing streak. UTSA is currently ranked second overall in C-USA. WKU also faced UTSA back in January, which ended in a 96-88 victory for the Hilltoppers.

-4.28: MTSU has struggled with turnovers this season, ranking last in C-USA with an average of 16.6 per game. The Blue Raiders’ opponents average 12.3 turnovers per game, giving the Blue Raiders a turnover margin of -4.28.

18: Junior guard Antonio Green leads the team in scoring with 18 points per game. This puts him sixth in the conference for scoring. Green also averages 4.2 rebounds per game. His field goal percentage this season has been 38.7 and his 3-point percentage is 35.5.

-6.1: MTSU averages 66.6 points per game while its opponents average 72.7. This gives the Blue Raiders a scoring margin of -6.1, which puts them 13th in C-USA. The Hilltoppers are currently averaging 72.7 points for and 70.6 against per game, giving them a scoring margin of 2.0. This puts them eighth place in the conference.

6: Senior forward Karl Gamble leads the Blue Raiders in rebounds with an average of six per game. Gamble is ranked 17th in the conference for rebounds. MTSU is ranked third in the conference for offensive rebounds with 11.6 per game, and eighth for defensive rebounds with 26.8 per game.

93.3: ESPN has given WKU a 93.3 percent chance of winning Thursday. However, MTSU faced UAB in early February, with UAB given an 84.5 percent chance of winning. The Blue Raiders broke the odds, topping the Blazers in a 79-78 victory.

82-64: The last time the Hilltoppers and Blue Raiders competed was back in March 2018 at MTSU, when MTSU came out on top with an 82-64 win. The two teams were neck-and-neck in the first half, with WKU leading or trailing by only a few points for the majority of the frame, but the Blue Raiders soon pulled away. WKU never got within any more than nine points of MTSU in the last 20 minutes of the game.

55-50: MTSU played a tight game with Old Dominion on Saturday, which ended in a 55-50 loss for the Blue Raiders. The game was their 17th loss of the season and their fifth loss in C-USA. Donovan Sims led the team in scoring with 14 points, while Antonio Green also contributed 13 points and six rebounds.

0.8: Senior forward James Hawthorne leads the Blue Raiders in blocks with 0.8 per game. This places him at 11th in C-USA. Hawthorne is also averaging 6.8 points per game with a field goal percentage of 41.9 and 3-point percentage of 30.6. He is also averaging five rebounds per game.

Reporter Sophie Austin can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected].