Rice basketball returns home in need of a win to keep their Conference USA Tournament hopes alive. How do the Owls’ stack up against Middle Tennessee?
MTSU 7-21 (3-12), Last 5 (1-4)
- 75-70 (L) vs North Texas
- 91-83 (L) vs Rice
- 83-72 (L) at UAB
- 79-66 (L) vs UAB
- 61-53 (W) at Southern Miss
Rice 13-15 (5-10), Last 5 (3-2)
- 86-72 (W) at UAB
- 91-83 (W) at MTSU
- 73-70 (L) vs Old Dominion
- 70-54 (W) vs Charlotte
- 68-62 (L) at UTEP
MTSU statistical leaders
- Scoring | CJ Jones – 16.4 per game
- Rebounds | Jayce Johnson – 4.9 per game
- Assists | Donovan Sims – 3.5 per game
- Steals | Donovan Sims – 1.6 per game
- Blocks | Tyson Jackson – 0.7 per game
Rice statistical leaders
- Scoring | Trey Murphy – 13.2 per game
- Rebounds | Drew Peterson – 6.5 per game
- Assists | Drew Peterson – 3.4 per game
- Steals | Trey Murphy – 1.1 per game
- Blocks | Trey Murphy – 0.6 per game
Rice keys to victory
When Rice basketball and Middle Tennessee last met the Owls shot the lights out of the Murphy Athletic Center in Murfreesboro. Rice shot 52.8 percent from the field and scored 91 points, the most against any conference opponent this season.
A hot shooting start would be a plus, but it’s the defensive side of the ball which could hold the key. Middle Tennessee is a poor rebounding team that is currently ranked in the top half of Conference USA in turnovers. Rice is going to be able to score against Middle Tennessee’s porous defense. Staying vigilant on the other end of the court should ensure the Owls get a much-needed bounce-back win.
Middle Tennessee win against Southern Miss in their previous game puts the burden to win this matchup squarely on Rice. If the Blue Raiders win, they’ll finish above Rice in the final standings with two wins and the tiebreakers over the Owls. If Rice wants to control their own destiny, they have to win this game.