March Madness may be over for both Blue Raider basketball teams, but the MTSU Athletic Department is seeking to “put a bow” on a strong season for both teams.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, the Murphy Center will host the “Celebration of Champions,” an event that will recognize the stellar campaigns for both the men’s and women’s Blue Raider teams. Doors open at 5 p.m., and concessions will be on sale.
Associate Athletic Director Kortne Gosha said he and the rest of the Athletic Department wanted to take the opportunity to recognize both teams after their strong post-season runs.
“We wanted to have a chance to pay homage to our seniors and our athletics in general. Both teams won their conference outright, and our men went on a magical run that did great things for not only this campus but the city of Murfreesboro,” said Gosha.
According to MT Athletics Communications, brief remarks will come from MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, Director of Athletics Chris Massaro, SGA President Lindsey Pierce, Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess, Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland and head coaches Rick Insell and Kermit Davis. Commemorative posters will be available, teams will be introduced, a senior from each team will address the crowd, and an autograph session will take place at the conclusion of the event.
The Blue Raider men’s team finished the 2015-16 season with an impressive 25-10 record and in particular had a magical March, winning its first Conference USA tournament title and securing the program’s second NCAA tournament appearance in the last four years.
Once in the tournament, the team secured the most prolific victory in program history March 18 by upsetting No. 2 seed Michigan State 90-81, a bracket-busting shocker that eliminated a consensus pick to make the Final Four. The men’s team fell on March 20 to No. 7 seed Syracuse.
The women’s team also posted a strong season and finished the year with a 24-9 record, also winning the Conference USA tournament and securing a 12th seed in the NCAA tournament. It marked the second NCAA appearance for the Blue Raiders since joining Conference USA and its third appearance in the past four years.
The Blue Raiders were eliminated March 19 in their first round by No. 5 seed Florida State.
Fans can purchase or renew season tickets at the same price as 2015-16. The Blue Raider Athletic Association also will be represented at the March 23 event as they introduce the new “Next Level” campaign.
Textbook Brokers also will be on site to sell Conference USA Men’s and Women’s championship T-shirts and hats, as well as the Men’s Bracket Buster shirts. Fans will be able to preorder the Nike “Always Reppin’” shirts that each team wears.
“We want it to kind of be a big party, just celebrating our men’s team’s magical run and celebrating our women’s successful season as well,” Gosha added. “Both of their runs were huge for our program, and we want everyone to come out, especially our students to come and help put a bow on both of their seasons.”
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— Stevie Michael Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)