UALR looks to avoid its first 0-3 start to a season in 29 years tonight when the Trojans (0-2) travel to Middle Tennessee (3-0) for a 7 p.m. game in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
UALR has opened the season with losses to North Florida and Florida. The last time the Trojans started a season 0-3 was the 1984-1985 season. That year was the first for rookie Coach Mike Newell.
Newell’s group lost at Iowa, at Oklahoma, at Southeastern Louisiana and in Montana against Northeastern. The Trojans got their first victory in Game 5 with a victory over Georgia State while still in Montana. UALR went on to finish 17-13 that season.
UALR actually played Georgia State, which was also a member of UALR’s Trans America Athletic Conference, three times that season. UALR won all three.
If not for a non-Division I game it could have happened in 2009-2010. The Trojans opened that season with road losses at Ole Miss and Tulsa before winning a home game against non-Division I St. Gregory’s. UALR then lost two road games at Creighton and Louisiana Tech to drop to 1-4.
It really seems way, way too early in the season for a trip to Murfreesboro, Tenn. But with the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders abandoning the Sun Belt Conference for Conference USA, here we are. This game actually came about as part of UALR’s summer trip to Canada. UALR was paid $60,000 for its participation. Out of that money, UALR had to fund its travel to Calgary, Canada; Gainesville, Fla.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; and Baton Rouge, La. UALR heads to Baton Rouge later this week for a game against Southern.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1. Glass Cleaner: The rebounding effort was better vs. Florida on Saturday. It will need to be solid tonight vs. Middle Tennessee.
2. Value the Ball: Turnovers come in different levels of bad. An offensive foul isn’t bad. A backcourt turnover that leads to a dunk is the worst. It seemed like the majority of UALR’s 18 turnovers vs. Florida were of the bad to worst variety. Need to clean that up today.
3. Two Solid: UALR needs production out of the 2 guard spot. Josh Hagins leads the Trojans in turnovers and Kemy Osse hasn’t made a field goal. Both need to be productive tonight.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS
Middle Tennessee is a 12-point favorite tonight.