Find those glass slippers, folks, Middle Tennessee is at it again. For the second straight season, the Blue Raiders have pulled off an upset in the NCAA Tournament, and will keep on dancing in the Round of 32.
Last season we saw No. 15 Middle Tennessee earn a shocking first round victory over No. 2 Michigan State. The Big Ten was their victim again this season, as the No. 12 Blue Raiders took down No. 5 Minnesota 81-72.
A 22-22 game with about 6 minutes to play in the first half, Middle Tennessee opened up a 37-31 lead at the break and went on run to open the second half, holding as much as a 17-point lead in the second before eventually coasting to a nine-point victory.
Reggie Upshaw was the key to the Blue Radiers' upset. The senior scored nine straight points late in the second half amid a Minnesota comeback attempt. Upshaw finished the game with 19 points to lead all scorers.
Minnesota was hampered in the first half when the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Reggie Lynch, had to sit with three early fouls. He finished with three blocks, three rebounds and eight points.
Middle Tennessee won the perimeter game, shooting 7-13 from three point range (53.3 percent) while Minnesota struggled to shoot from deep, making just 6-21, or 28.6 percent.
The Blue Raiders will look to make it to the Sweet 16 for the first time when they play Butler on Saturday. The Blue Raiders have lost in the Round of 32 three times in school history.
Butler earned a 76-64 win over Winthrop earlier Thursday.