(Photo by David Russell/Nashville Post)

The Middle Tennessee State men’s basketball team has another destination tournament on its schedule in 2021 as the Blue Raiders will compete in the Cancun Challenge in mid-November.

Held at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya, the eight-team tournament will feature MTSU, Bucknell, Mercer and Rider University — comprising the Mayan Division — with Buffalo, Illinois State, Saint Louis and Stephen F. Austin making up the Riviera Division.

"We're really excited about the opportunity to compete in the Cancun Challenge," fourth-year MTSU coach Nick McDevitt said. "The bracket for this year's event boasts some strong competition, and we expect it to be a great experience for our players and Blue Raider fans.”

The Blue Raiders kick off the tournament against Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas, on Nov. 19, followed by the start of intra-divisional play in Mexico against Rider on Nov. 23. 

If MTSU wins, it will play the Bucknell/Mercer winner at 2 p.m. CST on Nov. 24. If the Blue Raiders lose, they’ll play the Bucknell/Mercer loser at 11:30 a.m. CST on Nov. 24.

The tournament games are the only non-conference games currently shwoing on MTSU’s 2021 schedule. The Blue Raiders begin Conference USA play on Dec. 30 against UTSA at the Murphy Center, followed by UTEP on Jan. 1 — also at home.

MTSU went 5-18 with a 3-13 record in C-USA last season. The team added JUCO guards Justin Bufford and Camryn Weston, graduate transfer guard Josh Jefferson and three-star small forward Teafale Leonard.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_

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