Loyola-Maryland (19-9) at Tennessee State (16-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentry Center (10,500) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Loyola 10-3, TSU 10-0. Away Record: Loyola 6-6, TSU 5-10. Neutral Record: Loyola 3-0, TSU 1-1. Conference Record: Loyola 11-5, TSU 10-4. Series Record: Loyola-Maryland leads, 2-0.
GAMES NOTES: The recently hot Tennessee State Tigers will battle the Loyola- Maryland Greyhounds in a BracketBusters matchup at the Gentry Center on Saturday night.
Loyola isn't exactly stumbling into this contest either. The Greyhounds have taken victories in four of their last five games following an 80-57 rout of Siena last Saturday. Loyola has a strong 19-9 overall record on the season and is second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at 11-5.
Following up its impressive 80-69 victory against conference-leading Belmont, Tennessee State took down SIU-Edwardsville, 83-73, on Wednesday for its fourth win in the last five games. The Tigers are one of five teams in the Ohio Valley Conference with at least 16 wins overall, while locked in a tie with Murray State for third in the league standings (10-4).
These teams played during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, when Loyola earned a pair of victories against the Tigers.
Loyola absolutely dominated against Siena. The Greyhounds forced 15 turnovers which they traded in for 28 points while shooting 52.8 percent from the floor. Loyola was also efficient from beyond the arc, hitting 8-of-15 shots from long range.
The backcourt duo of Dylon Cormier (17.0 ppg) and Robert Olson (12.9 ppg) have carried the Greyhounds this season. Cormier is the more versatile scorer of the two and has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games, including a 24-point outburst against Siena. Olson relies more heavily on shooting from beyond the arc. Erik Etherly (14.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is another potent scorer who anchors the team in the frontcourt.
Four starters scored in double figures and Patrick Miller had a double-double (17 points, 11 assists), as the Tigers shot 57.7 percent from the field to cruise past SIU Edwardsville. The Tigers also knocked down 10-of-15 shots from 3-point range, led by Jordan Cyphers, who rattled in four triples.
After he missed a bulk of the middle of the season, the Tigers have really benefited from the return of Robert Covington (17.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg). In the five games since his return, Covington is averaging 16.2 points per game, while scoring in double figures in each contest. Covington joins an already talented starting rotation that features three other double figure scorers. Kellen Thornton (14.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg), Patrick Miller (14.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.4 apg) and Jordan Cyphers (12.1 ppg) are also reliable scorers. Miller has been the most consistent of late, scoring in double figures in seven straight games.
This is one of the more intriguing matchups during BracketBusters weekend. With the Tigers finally healthy they have really started to pick up steam and with their talent in the starting five, they should be able to post an impressive victory to their resume.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee State 73, Loyola-Maryland 70
02/23 10:45:18 ET