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Road wins landed Middle Tennessee in NCAA tournament; Blue Raiders will meet Saint Mary's

It's fitting that Middle Tennessee has to make an early trip to play in the NCAA tournament. The Blue Raiders' prowess on the road got them in the field of 68.

Middle Tennessee (28-5) was a bubble team after suffering an upset in the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament. But the Blue Raiders landed in the NCAA field anyway. They'll play Saint Mary's (27-6) on Tuesday night in the First Four.

Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski, who chaired the NCAA selection committee, says Middle Tennessee's strong road record set it apart. Middle Tennessee went 11-3 on the road and 1-2 at neutral sites, along with a perfect record at home.

Half of Saint Mary's six losses this season came against West Coast Conference rival Gonzaga.