Tennessee Tech (7-8) at Tennessee State (1-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentry Complex (10,500) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Tennessee Tech 5-1, Tennessee State 1-3. Away Record: Tennessee Tech 2-5, Tennessee State 0-8. Neutral Record: Tennessee Tech 0-2, Tennessee State 0-2. Conference Record: Tennessee Tech 0-0, Tennessee State 0-1. Series Record: Series is tied, 28-28.
GAME NOTES: Tennessee Tech is looking to open Ohio Valley Conference play on a high note, while Tennessee State is looking to forget its OVC opener when the two programs hook up at the Gentry Complex on Thursday.
Tennessee State was on the brink of winning just its second game of the season last Saturday, but the Tigers found a way to blow a 10-point lead against Eastern Illinois with four minutes remaining. Eastern Illinois ended the game on a 17-6 run and pulled out the win on Chris Oliver's last-second tip-in after TSU's Jay Harris missed two free throws in the final minute.
It was a heartbreaking loss in what is turning out to be a rough season for the Tigers, who rely heavily on Patrick Miller's production. Miller poured in a career high-tying 30 points last Saturday in the losing effort and is leading the conference in scoring (21.6 ppg) and minutes per game (37.1). He paces the team in assists (4.1) and is right up there in rebounds (4.3 rpg). The only other player scoring in double figures is M.J. Rhett, who barely cracks the mark at 10.3 ppg. No one else on the team averages more than eight points a game.
Tennessee State is averaging nearly 13 turnovers per game and is only producing just over 10 assists per contest, a ratio that sums up its poor record so far.
Tennessee Tech is also bad in that department (14.5 turnovers-to-11.5 assists per game), but has made up for it by outrebounding opponents by more than six rebounds per game (38.2-to-32.0) and forcing 15.5 turnovers per contest.
The Golden Eagles had 20 takeaways against Utah Valley last Saturday, but it wasn't enough in a 75-66 setback. The team has alternated wins and losses over the past five games.
On Saturday, Dwan Caldwell paced Tennessee Tech with 17 points, while Dennis Ogbe and Jeremiah Samarrippas each added 13. Ogbe and Caldwell are each logging right around 10 points per game, just behind Ty Allen's team-high 11.1 average. Ogbe also leads the strong frontcourt with 6.7 rebounds per contest.
Last season the Tigers swept the home-and-home series and have won three straight meetings to even the all-time series, 28-28. The Golden Eagles should put that record back in their favor on Thursday since the Tigers have not had very much go their way this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee Tech 80, Tennessee State 69
01/02 10:36:27 ET