Vanderbilt-Middle Tennessee: Basketball Preview

Eric AdamsContributor IJanuary 4, 2010

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 21: Coach Kevin Stallings of the Vanderbilt Commodores during his team's 75-69 win over the Clemson Tigers in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Adam Sparks of the Daily News Journal and editor of sums tonight's game up the best:

The Commodores are playing like a top 25 team right now, so it will take MTSU’s best performance to beat them tonight—and that goes for each of the Blue Raiders individually.

Works for me.

MTSU is working on a four-game winning streak. They haven't really beaten any juggernauts along the way.

Their last two wins have come against Sun Belt foes New Orleans and Louisiana-Lafayette.

In the article mentioned above, Sparks says that in those victories, Middle Tennessee's key players "have had their season-best performance during the current four-game winning streak."

I've only seen them play once.

I was at the Sommet Center for their loss to Tennessee.

From that single event, the only player who stood out was senior Desmond Yates. He scored a season-high 26 points and seemed to be the only threat to UT.

Looking at the box scores from the season, it appears one of their leading scorers basically didn't show up for that contest against the Orange.

Montarrio Haddock only scored three against the Vols, but has put up very good numbers in most other contests. He's averaging roughly 13 points and six rebounds a game.

The wild card for me is freshman James Gallman.

This kid is not afraid to shoot. He is averaging 4.4 three-point attempts per game. In one game, he let go 12 shots from behind the arc. He only hit three, but still.

Here's my point with Gallman: He is capable of scoring in the high teens. If you start hearing "three by Gallman" a few times, Vanderbilt may be in for a long night.

In reality, this is a game that Vanderbilt should be able to win with a solid performance. The Commodores' last three wins have been by at least 30 points.

Vandy is on a roll, and it would take a monumental effort by MTSU to knock them off.

Vanderbilt knows that Florida is waiting for them on Saturday.

Don't expect a letdown knowing that the SEC kicks into gear this weekend.

Coach Stallings will want this team firing on all cylinders.

Unfortunately for Middle, they are facing Vandy at the worst possible time.