Murray State 2010 NCAA Tournament Preview

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Murray State Racers - Ohio Valley Conference (30-4, 17-1)

Seed: #13 - West Region

Big Wins: 12/5 Morehead State (86-56), 1/9 at Austin Peay (69-53), 3/6 vs Morehead State (62-51)

Bad Losses: 12/15 at Louisiana Tech (81-87), 12/22 at Western Kentucky (72-83), 2/25 at Morehead State (65-70)

Last NCAA Appearance: 2006, First Round loss to North Carolina

Coach: Billy Kennedy (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)


Probable Murray State Starters:

  • Isacc Miles, Junior, Guard, 9.5 ppg, 3.8 apg

  • B.J. Jenkins, Junior, Guard, 10.5 ppg, 3.2 apg

  • Danero Thomas, Senior, Forward, 10.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg

  • Ivan Aska, Sophomore, Forward, 10.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg

  • Tony Easley, Senior, Forward, 10.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.7 bpg


Key Murray State Roleplayers:

  • Isaiah Canaan, Freshman, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 1.6 apg

  • Edward Daniel, Freshman, Forward, 2.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg

  • Jewuan Long, Sophomore, Guard, 3.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg

  • Jeffery McClain, Junior, Forward, 3.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg

  • Donte Poole, Sophomore, Guard, 5.0 ppg, 1.2 apg


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Why The Racers Can Surprise:
Murray State has six players who average between 9.5 points and 10.6 points. You are not going to find a more balanced scoring attack than that. Ivan Aska and Tony Easley are the scorers in the paint. Aska, a 6-7 sophomore, does the dirty work under the basket and has continued his success as a quality interior scorer. Easley is the senior leader up front and leads the team in rebounds and blocked shots.

The rest of the six players who average at least 9.5 points per gameare perimeter orientated. B.J. Jenkins is the most prolific outside shooter of the bunch. He is also a great ballhandler and defender. Isacc Miles, a transfer from Creighton, can also bring the ball up the floor and is a little more aggressive getting to the basket than Jenkins. Danero Thomas is listed as a forward, but he is only 6-4. While he is the best rebounder of anybody on the perimeter, his game still is that of a guard. Thomas can hit the outside shot effectively, but he will mix it up in the paint when he has a strength advantage against a defender. Isaiah Canaan is the one of the best sixth men around. He is the most consistent outside shooter on the team and the 6-0 freshman is not afraid to attack the basket.


Why The Racers Can Disappoint:
The Racers have plenty of players who can pass the ball, most notably Jenkins, Miles and Thomas, but this is also a team that has some major turnover problems. The issue is more than neutralized since the Racers will create more turnovers than they commit, but they will need every possession they can get if they hope to win a game or two in the tournament. The forwards are the most likely players to commit turnovers, but the guards have to put them in a better position to make a play. Turnovers happen, but this is a very experienced team and 14.6 turnovers per game will not cut it in the NCAA Tournament.

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Who To Watch for Murray State:
Six players dominate the stat book, but Coach Billy Kennedy usually goes ten deep every game. Donte Poole is the most talented of the bunch and is capable of scoring both inside and out. Fellow guard Jewuan Long has a promising future once he learns to be more aggressive and attack the basket. The more important bench players are perhaps in the frontcourt. Jeffery McClain played more last year than he has this season, but he is an experienced big body who has to be productive. Edward Daniel is a 6-7, 220 pound freshman who is an immediate shot blocking threat when he steps on the floor.


Murray State By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 77.5 (28th in nation, 1st in conference)

Scoring Defense: 60.5 (21, 1)

Field-Goal Percentage: 50.3 (3, 1)

Field-Goal Defense: 38.6 (13, 1)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.2 (169, 5)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.8 (62, 5)

Free-Throw Percentage: 70.3 (123, 5)

Rebound Margin: 6.0 (19, 2)

Assists Per Game: 15.6 (25, 1)

Turnovers Per Game: 14.6 (239, 6)


Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Vanderbilt


By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer


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