Middle Tennessee State Vs. Denver: Pioneers Make Rare ESPN Appearance

The Denver Pioneers make a national television appearance on ESPN2 when they host Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

Magness Arena in Denver will no doubt be buzzing when the Denver Pioneers host the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Saturday afternoon. With two of the top teams in the Sun Belt conference facing off, there will be a national audience looking in on ESPN2 to see which team comes away with the win. Middle Tennessee has been terrific so far this season, amassing an impressive 21-3 record overall and a perfect 10-0 conference record. The Pioneers have also put together an impressive resume at 16-7 overall, but they have lost three of their last four games against Sun Belt opponents and are now just 6-4 against conference opponents.

The good news for the Pioneers is that they are still a very respectable 10-2 at home this season. The Pioneers are led by senior guard Brian Stafford (14.3 points per game and a .478 three-point field goal percentage) and sophomore forward Chris Udofia (14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game). Stafford had a streak of double-digit scoring in seven-straight games snapped on Thursday, when he scored only three points in a loss to the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns. That performance marked only the third time in his four-year career that Stafford has been prevented from making a single field goal. The senior leader will have to reach his production levels from the previous seven games if Denver hopes to come away with a win over the Blue Raiders.

How good has Middle Tennessee been so far this season? Consider the following information provided by DenverPioneers.com:

The Blue Raiders are leading the SBC in scoring offense (72.3 points per game), scoring defense (60.5 per game), scoring margin (+11.8), field goal percentage (.495), field goal percentage defense (.384) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.306), and they are second in blocked shots (4.9 per game), assists (15.0 per game) and steals (7.5 per game). MTSU is led by LaRon Dendy's 13.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots, all of which rank in the top 10 in the SBC. Marcos Knight is adding 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds, and JT Sulton has an average of 11.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. Bruce Massey is sixth in the SBC with 3.7 assists per game.

Here is some basic information to help you find the game on Saturday.

Game date, time: 2:00 PM CT, Saturday, February 4, 2012

Location: Magness Arena, Denver, CO

TV channel: ESPN2

Radio: AM 1510 and FM 93.7

Spread: Denver is currently favored by 2 points. The over/under is currently set at 125 points.

Web: ESPN3.com, Pioneers homepage

For more info on the 2011-2012 college basketball season, head over to the SB Nation College Basketball news hub. And be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Denver for Pioneers updates, previews and recaps.

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