Courtney Whitson of Middle Tennessee

Courtney Whitson of Middle Tennessee 

Each week during the remainder of the college basketball season, the Nashville Post and The News will have weekly updates on all the local schools in the buildup to March Madness. 

MT women's 16-game winning streak snapped, Top-25 ranking lost

The Blue Raiders were flying high heading into the month of February. They had recently been named the Team of the Week by both the NCAA and the USWBA and were one of only two mid-majors in the AP top-25. 

But Middle Tennessee has now lost their last two games, falling at UTEP 65-62 and at UTSA 58-53, to drop out of the rankings and lose their iron grip on the Conference USA standings. They're still a game up on Western Kentucky in the loss column with the Hilltoppers visiting Murfreesboro on Thursday in what should be a pivotal matchup. 

Belmont's Sheppard, Bartley sweep MVC weekly awards

Belmont players won both the men's and women's Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week awards as Ben Sheppard took home his third honor of the season, while Madison Bartley won her second of the year.

Sheppard helped Belmont move into a four-way tie for first place in the conference by averaging 26.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in wins at Murray State and vs Illinois State. Against the Racers, Sheppard scored a season-best 35 points and added nine rebounds. 

Bartley and the Bruins are two games back of first place after taking down Murray State and Bradley. The junior averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 in the wins, including a 22-and-12 night vs the Braves.  

Houston earns second SEC Player of the Week honor

Vanderbilt's Ciaja Harbison continues to be a bright spot in an injury-depleted season for the Commodores. The graduate transfer was named the SEC Player of the Week for the second time this season after tying the school record with a career-high 41 points as Vanderbilt secured their first conference win of the year over Texas A&M. 

Harbison finished 14-19 from the field and 11-13 from the free throw line and added three rebounds and a team-high five steals in the 88-79 win. It was the most points scored by an individual in an SEC game this season. 

TSU men improve to .500 in OVC play thanks to three straight wins

Tennessee State has moved out of the Ohio Valley Conference basement after three consecutive wins, two of which came on the road. The Tigers defeated Lindenwood 83-66 at the Gentry Center and Southern Indiana and Eastern Illinois away from home. 

On Thursday, TSU will welcome SEMO as the school hosts Dick Barnett night in honor of the legendary former Tiger who led the program to three straight NAIA  National Championships from 1957-59.

Barnett, who will be in attendance, is currently the only Tiger to have his jersey retired. On Friday, the school will host a screening of Dick Barnett's documentary "The Dream Whisperer." 

Lipscomb women climb to within a game of first place in ASUN

The Lipscomb women's basketball team is on pace for one of the program's best-ever seasons in terms of conference standings. The Bisons have won six of their last seven games and currently are 9-2 in the ASUN, just one game back from perennial ASUN champion FGCU. 

Lipscomb still has two cracks at the Eagles to come, with a trip for Fort Myers set for Feb. 16 and a visit from FGCU on March 1 in the regular season finale. Meanwhile, the men's team knocked off the ASUN-leading Liberty Flames 69-64 in Allen Arena on Saturday.