The month of March has given basketball fans the lasting memories of Christian Lattiner hitting a last second shot, a young Michael Jordan hitting a jumper from the baseline to seal the NCAA Championship, and Bryce Drew's buzzer beating shot to lift Valparaiso over Ole Miss in the opening round of the 1998 NCAA tournament. Most college basketball fans can tell you where they were when the underdog N.C. State Wolfpack, coached by the late Jimmy "V", upset the Phi Slamma Jamma Houston Cougars. In March we have seen big-time favorites fall, such as the 1995 championship game where Villanova upset the powerhouse Georgetown Hoyas.
Long time Middle Tennessee fans have some great March memories as well. Probably the fondest in most minds is the 1982 upset of Kentucky. The year with the most postseason excitement was 1988 when the Blue Raiders upset SEC members Tennessee and Georgia and fell just a few points short against Boston College; just falling short of making it to New York and the Final Four of the NIT. Then we have the latest memory, a 14 point upset of Florida State in 1989. Unfortunately for Blue Raider fans, that was the Blue Raiders last postseason appearance.
There is hope for all of you long enduring Blue Raider fans. Kermit Davis knows how to coach and he knows how to get the best out of his team late in the year. The month of February has always been Davis' month. In the last six years his team have posted a 25-15 record in regular season play in the month of February. If you take out a dismal 2-5 campaign in 2007 (the same year the Blue Raiders upset #1 seed South Alabama in the Sun Belt tournament), that record rises to 23-10.
It is no secret that the Sun Belt Conference is a one bid team. It has been since 1994 that the Sun Belt placed two or more teams in the NCAA. The fact is that there is not a Sun Belt school that will be getting an at-large bid to the NCAA this year. Only the winner of the Sun Belt tournament will go to the Big Dance…and Davis know this. Once again he has his team poised to make a late season run.
If Coach Davis can get the same results in March that he is accustomed to getting in February, there just might be a new March Madness memory for Blue Raider fans.