99 in 99: #37 Murray State Racers

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Murray State Racers

The 13th seeded Racers made a name for themselves by pulling off the first round upset of Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA TournamentMurray State almost advanced past the opening weekend giving eventual national runner-up Butler all they could handle before falling by two points.

The Racers will again be a force from the Ohio Valley Conference which is why they come in at #37 in my “99 in 99” which ranks the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors.  Click here if you missed teams #38-#99.

By: David Kay

Murray State Racers (1st, 17-1 in OVC, 30-5 overall)


Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Jeffery McClain (Sr)/Shawn Jackson (Fr)
F: Ivan Aska (Jr)/Edward Daniel (So)/Brandon Garrett (So)/Chris Griffin (Fr)
SF: Donte Poole (Jr)/Jeff Reese (Jr)
G: Isacc Miles (Sr)/Jewuan Long (So)
G: B.J. Jenkins (Sr)/Isaiah Canaan (So)

Gone: C-Tony Easley, F-Danero Thomas, C-Georges Fotso, F-A.J. Wilson (transfer-Minnesota State)

2010-2011 Outlook:

No team defined balance like Murray State did last year.  The Racers top six scorers averaged between 9.7 and 10.6 points per game.  Four of those players return as do the four others who were regular contributors off the bench.

The backcourt has experience in senior starters Isacc Miles and B.J. Jenkins who can both handle the point guard responsibility and play off the ball.  Sophomore Isaiah Canaan was the team’s sixth man last season but led the Ohio Valley Conference in three-point percentage and was also named OVC Freshman of the Year and Tournament MVP.  The Racers could go with a smaller, three-guard look in the starting line-up but might be better off with Canaan providing a spark off the bench.

If head coach Billy Kennedy opts to keep Canaan as the sixth man, 6-3 junior wing Donte Poole could be moved to the starting line-up with JUCO transfer Jeff Reese

Murray State basketballUp-front, Murray State brings back starter Ivan Aska but the other starting jobs are up for grabs.  Jeffery McClain is under-sized at 6-6 but could start alongside Aska.  Edward Daniel, JUCO transfer Brandon Garrett, and freshman Shawn Jackson should also compete for minutes in the frontcourt.

Murray State will not sneak up on anybody this season.  The depth, unselfishness, and commitment to defense should have the Racers in a similar position to where they were a year ago.  They will be the team to beat in the OVC with Kenneth Faried and Morehead State posing as the biggest conference challenger.

Player to Watch: Ivan Aska, F
In losing his fellow starting frontcourt mates Tony Easly and Demario Thomas, Aska needs to become more of an inside presence.  There are several players who are capable of stepping up as well but Aska has the length and athleticism to lead that mission.

Key Non-Conference Games:

11/17 at Mississippi
11/25 vs. Stanford (76 Classic)
11/26 vs. UNLV/Tulsa (76 Classic)
11/28 vs. Virginia Tech/CS-Northridge/Oklahoma State/DePaul (76 Classic)
12/18 vs. Western Kentucky
2/19 vs. TBA (ESPN’s Bracket Busters)

Other 99 in 99’s:
#38 Dayton
#39 Notre Dame
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#42 Maryland
#43 Richmond
#44 UNLV
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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