(6) Murray State vs. (11) Colorado State Preview
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(6) Murray State Racers
This has been a historic season for the Racers, who finished the year ranked in the Top 10 with a 30-1 record. They’re the only one-loss team in the tournament. Representing the Ohio Valley Conference, the Racers are looking to take the place of Butler as the dominant mid-major team in the tournament. How they play in the big dance is ultimately going to determine how this season is remembered. The Racers are compromised primarily of juniors and the group has a lot of experience playing together. Isaiah Canaan has developed into a star, scoring 19 points a night while also grabbing three rebounds and handing out three assists. Donte Poole, a senior scoring 14 on average, deserves respect offensively as well. The Racers make seven threes a game at a 40 percent rate. Racers head coach Stever Prohm will play as many as nine guys regularly. Size is not the strength of this Racers team so they can get beat up on the boards. While they were 3-0 against the RPI Top 25, 23 of their wins came against teams ranked outside of the Top 100. That creates questions about how the Racers will do when the level of competition takes a big leap in the later rounds.
(11) Colorado State Rams
Hailing from the deep Mountain West Conference is the Rams, who put an end to an eight-year tournament drought with their at-large berth. They do a fine job of making the most out of each possession, shooting 47 percent from the field and 40 percent to deep, which was fourth in the country during the regular season. They also only turn it over 12 times a contest. Junior guards Wes Eikmeier and Dorian Green are featured in the backcourt. They combine to average 28 points, five rebounds and four assists. As a team the Rams struggle to defend the long ball, allowing their opponents to shoot 35 percent on the year. They give up 68 a game and are not a threat to force a lot of turnovers. They went 5-7 against the RPI Top 75, boasting a dominant win against Duke and victories against all of the top teams in their league.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Murray State. The Rams are a quality ball club, but they drew a bad match up in the Racers.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!