The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders are in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1989, but there were some sleepless nights between the team's four-point loss in the Sun Belt semis and the good news on Selection Sunday. After the upset loss in the Sun Belt tourney, a hiccup that snapped a 17-game winning streak, the Blue Raiders were placed on the ever-popular NCAA bubble. But in the end, the Blue Raiders were deemed worthy of a golden ticket to the Big Dance. Middle Tennessee has some of the ingredients necessary to make some NCAA tourney noise, but can they spring an upset?
ESPN Insider has your answers, as Joe Lunardi has enlisted a team of Bracketologists to compile advanced metrics, key scouting intel and best- and worst-case tournament scenarios for all 68 teams, in order to help you make smart picks in your bracket. Plus, as Lunardi fills out his bracket, he'll give you his prediction on how each team will fare.
Consider the Blue Raiders a litmus test of a comprehensive selection process, using both data and common sense to evaluate the multiple perspectives of Division I men's basketball. Is MTSU better than Virginia, Maryland or Iowa? We'll never know until minimum scheduling standards are put in place. Until then, I'll always prefer winning (Middle Tennessee) over a calculated avoidance of losing.
Best wins: Ole Miss, Central Florida, Vanderbilt
Worst losses: Belmont by 15, Arkansas State (OT), Florida International