Murray State Men's Basketball 2019 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Murray State Racers

Ohio Valley (27-4, 16-2)

With an overall record of 27-4, Murray State was in the conversation for an at-large bid. Their losses came against Alabama, Auburn, Belmont and Jacksonville State so there was not a bad loss on the resume. But the Racers did not have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday thanks to beating Belmont 77-65 in the OVC title game and securing an automatic bid to the tournament.
Big Wins: 3/2 Austin Peay (94-83), 3/8 vs Jacksonville State (76-74), 3/9 vs Belmont (77-65)
Bad Losses: 11/26 at Alabama (72-78), 1/24 Belmont (66-79), 1/31 at Jacksonville State (68-88)
Coach: Matt McMahon
Why They Can Surprise:
Sophomore Ja Morant has garnered plenty of attention this season, and rightfully so. The 6-3 guard averages 24.6 points, 10.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He is a good enough shooter to keep the opposition honest and when a defender gets a little too close, he will attack the basket and finish himself or find a teammate. Morant shoots just 33.6 percent from beyond the arc, but shoots 50.3 percent overall and that is a very impressive number for a guard who takes as many shots as Morant. Shaq Buchanan and Tevin Brown are the other perimeter scoring threats on the team and are often the beneficiaries of Morant’s playmaking abilities. If the opposition keys in too much on Morant, those two can make them pay.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Darnell Cowart and KJ Williams form a solid frontcourt duo. Those two have had a good season and will add some scoring, but they will both be tested on the other end of the floor. The Racers have not played too many NCAA caliber teams this year and the best team they have beaten is Belmont. They kept it close against Alabama and Auburn and the pressure will be on Cowart, Williams and reserve forward Devin Gilmore to be strong on the glass and defensively so the Murray State offense can have an opportunity to pull off an upset or two.
Probable Starters:
Shaq Buchanan, Senior, Guard, 13.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Ja Morant, Sophomore, Guard, 24.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 10.0 apg
Tevin Brown, Freshman, Guard, 11.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 apg
Darnell Cowart, Junior, Forward, 10.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg
KJ Williams, Freshman, Forward, 7.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Key Role Players:
Jaiveon Eaves, Junior, Guard, 3.7 ppg
Devin Gilmore, Sophomore, Forward,3.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 83.3 (15th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.8 (76, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.6 (7, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.0 (44, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (165, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (153, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.9 (69, 3)
Rebound Margin: 3.8 (62, 3)
Assists Per Game: 18.1 (6, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (88, 3)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2018NCAARound of 64 loss to West Virginia
2015NITFirst Round win over UTEP
2015NITSecond Round win over Tulsa
2015NITQuarterfinal loss to Old Dominion
2014CITFirst Round win over Missouri State
2014CITSecond Round win over Nebraska-Omaha
2014CITQuarterfinal win over Towson
2014CITSemifinal win over Pacific
2014CITFinal win over Yale
2012NCAARound of 64 win over Colorado State
2012NCAARound of 32 loss to Marquette
2011NITFirst Round loss to Missouri State
2010NCAARound of 64 win over Vanderbilt
2010NCAARound of 32 loss to Butler
2006NCAARound of 64 loss to North Carolina
2004NCAARound of 64 loss to Illinois
2002NCAARound of 64 loss to Georgia
*all team stats through 3/10