Tennessee Tech (17-11) at Coastal Carolina (18-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday February 18th, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kimbel Arena (1,039) -- Conway, South Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: TTU 9-4, CCU 12-3. Away Record: TTU 6-7, CCU 6-5. Neutral Record: TTU 2-0, CCU 0-0. Conference Record: TTU 9-6, CCU 11-5. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles will step out of Ohio Valley Conference play to square off with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the annual BracketBusters event at Kimbel Arena.
This will be just the third encounter between TTU and the Chanticleers in history. The series is tied, 1-1, after each team won a game in their two-game series of the 1987-1988 season.
Steve Payne has guided his Golden Eagles to a 17-11 overall record and a fourth place position in this year's competitive OVC. TTU picked up a 74-67 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday to snap a two-game losing streak. The Golden Eagles had a very strong offensive showing against the Colonels, as they knocked down 53.2 percent of their field goals in the contest. TTU is tough to stop, as it averages 73.1 ppg. However, the Golden Eagles could have focused a little more on the defensive end this season, as opponents have averaged 71.5 ppg against them.
TTU is led by its dynamic duo of Kevin Murphy and Jud Dillard. Murphy is 11th in the nation in scoring with an average of 20.4 ppg, and is a lock to be a First-Team All-OVC at the season's end. Dillard is third in the OVC in scoring with 18.0 ppg, and also leads his respective conference in rebounding with 8.8 rpg. Point guard Zac Swansey has benefited from having two high-scoring guards on the floor with him, as he ranks in the top 25 in the nation in assists and steals.
Coastal Carolina comes in with an impressive 18-8 overall record after its 74-69 victory over UNC-Asheville on Tuesday night. The Chanticleers would be atop the Big South's standings had they not went 0-3 last week in league play. Head coach Cliff Ellis has to be happy after his team knocked down a season- high nine three-pointers in their bout with UNCA. The Chanticleers are averaging 73.3 ppg, and they have held opponents to an average of 64.9 ppg.
Anthony Raffa and Chris Gradnigo form to make a high-scoring tandem for Coastal Carolina. Raffa is netting 16.8 ppg, while Gradnigo carries averages of 15.3 points and a team-high 6.4 boards per outing. In their recent win over UNC-Asheville, Raffa scored a team-high 20 points while Gradnigo recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Jon Pack had 14 points and Kierre Greenwood added 12 to provide depth for the Chanticleers.
This matchup will yield an exciting, high-scoring affair. The back and fourth battle between Raffa and Murphy will be very interesting to watch. Coastal Carolina holds a slight edge due to its more well rounded lineup and home court advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Coastal Carolina 80, Tennessee Tech 75
02/18 10:37:13 ET