Tennessee State (3-23) at Belmont (19-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 13, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Curb Event Center (5,000) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: TSU 2-10, Belmont 10-1. Away Record: TSU 1-11, Belmont 7-7. Neutral Record: TSU 0-2, Belmont 2-0. Conference Record: TSU 2-10, Belmont 10-2. Series Record: Belmont leads, 12-8.
GAME NOTES: In a battle between the best and worst teams in the East Division of the Ohio Valley Conference, the last-place Tennessee State Tigers tangle with Music City rival, the division-leading Belmont Bruins at the Curb Event Center on Thursday night.
Tennessee State has lost two straight and nine of its last 10 overall. The Tigers fell at home to Murray State last Saturday night in a 73-65 final.
Having much more success of late, Belmont has won two in a row and seven of its last eight. They last played on Saturday as well, downing Austin Peay, 93-68.
Belmont lead the all-time series, 11-10, and won the previous meeting this season, 79-65, on TSU's home floor. The Bruins have won three of the last four encounters.
Patrick Miller finished with 26 points for the Tigers in their loss to Murray State last Saturday. Kennedy Eubanks chipped in with 13 points, and M.J. Rhett notched a double-double consisting of 10 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Miller is one of the few bright spots for the Tigers this season, as he is netting a conference-best 23.2 ppg on 43.9 percent shooting from the field. Miller's 104 assists is a team high, along with his 48 steals. Rhett is the only other TSU player to average double digits, checking in at 10.7 ppg with a team-best 8.8 rpg. Tennessee State is averaging 68.8 ppg and giving up a whopping 76.7 ppg, ranking them dead last in the OVC in scoring margin.
J.J. Mann scored 28 points, 22 of which came in the first half, to lead the Bruins to an easy victory over Austin Peay last Saturday. Five players scored in double figures for the Bruins, including Reece Chamberlain (13), Evan Bradds (12), Blake Jenkins (11) and Craig Bradshaw (10). Chamberlain also dished out 10 assists and went without a turnover. After the Governors got as close as five in the opening minutes of the second half, the Bruins separated themselves with a 23-5 run that put the game out of reach.
Mann and Bradshaw have shined for Belmont this season, with the former being tops on the team with 17.9 ppg, while the latter checks at 16.1 ppg. Reece Chamberlain, who leads the team with 108 assists, is third with 10.2 ppg while Drew Windler chips in 10.2 ppg. Blake Jenkins tops the Bruins in rebounding at 4.9 rpg. They are scoring at a healthy 80.1 ppg clip, good for second in the OVC, but giving up 75.9 ppg at the defensive end. They are knocking down a league-best 49.9 percent of their field goal attempts.
Despite the presence of the league's top scorer, the Tigers lack the offensive firepower to keep up with the Bruins, so expect Belmont to continue its success and continue to pad its lead in the OVC East.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Belmont 78, Tennessee State 64
02/13 10:17:14 ET