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UTC (15-10, 6-6 SoCon) vs. VMI (7-18, 2-10)

Wednesday at 7 p.m. at McKenzie Arena

 

TV & Radio: ESPN+ & 97.7 FM/1070 AM

 

Storyline: The Mocs have waited all season to play VMI — literally waited, as they already have completed four home-and-home sets with other Southern Conference teams. The good news is the Keydets have beaten only winless The Citadel in league play. The bad news is they are playing their best basketball right now. In addition to a 75-64 win over their military rivals to the south, the Keydets recently lost by two in overtime at Furman, by three to Mercer and by just six against East Tennessee State. They have good balance, with Travis Evee leading four players at nine-plus points with 12 per game. Veteran guard Greg Parham is coming off by far his best game with 36 vs. The Citadel, and he's one of four VMI players with 37 or more 3-pointers. The Mocs are coming off a satisfying win at Wofford to put themselves back into contention for a top-six tournament seed. Point guard Maurice Commander had a career-best 22 points — all in the second half — and Matt Ryan had 25 as the Mocs shot 60% for the game. Which UTC shows up Wednesday night, the one that can torch the nets at such a rate or the one that shot under 40% against Western Carolina?

 

What's at stake? A great deal, in fact, for the Mocs to improve their lot for the SoCon tournament. Win the games they should and pull off one more upset, and there is a nice shot at a top-four seed. Lose one of the three games left to VMI or The Citadel, and staying out of the bottom four will be tough.

 

Up next: UTC travels to Furman for a 4 p.m. tipoff Saturday.

 

 

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