The Blue Raiders have done it again.
A year after then No. 15-seed Middle Tennessee upset No. 2-seed Michigan State in the opening round of the Midwest Region of the 2016 NCAA men’s tournament, the C-USA champions bust a few brackets again this year after beating No. 5-seed Minnesota 81-72.
Middle Tennessee looked and played as if it was the higher seed throughout the game.
“We think we belong on the national stage and our players play that way,” Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis told CBS Sports after the game.
The Blue Raiders were explosive from the three-point arch, hitting seven of their 13 three-point attempts (53.8 percent). The Minnesota Golden Gophers were not so good from the arch—6-of-21 (28.6 percent).
Middle Tennessee’s bench also played a vital role in the win, out-scoring Minnesota’s bench 22-11.
Senior forward Reggie Upshaw led the Blue Raiders with 19 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Giddy Potts scored 15 points and senior forward JaCorey Williams added 13 points.
Minnesota was led by freshman guard Amir Coffey with 17 points, followed by sophomore guard Dupree McBrayer with 16 points.
Middle Tennessee will face No. 4 Butler in the second round of the South Region.