#96 Murray State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Murray State Racers

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #96
Conference Rank: #1 Ohio Valley

Murray State Team Page#96 Murray State Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Murray State Basketball Tickets

A 13-3 record in OVC play was not enough for Murray State to win the conference title. Belmont took that honor. The Racers still had major NCAA Tournament hopes as the #2 seed in the conference tournament, but that too faded quickly. Murray State was upset by Eastern Kentucky in their tournament opener. As a result, the Racers were relegated to the CIT. They did make the most of it, beating Missouri State, Omaha, Towson, Pacific and Yale en route to a CIT title. It was just the CIT, but that momentum is huge heading into the 2014-2015 campaign.

2013-14 Record: 23-11, 13-3
2013-14 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Steve Prohm
Coach Record: 74-23 at Murray State, 74-23 overall

Who’s Out:
The big loss is Dexter Fields. The shooting guard led the team by hitting 76 three-pointers at 42.0 percent. Murray State has other shooters returning, but none will be as consistent as Fields. The only other departure is C.J. Ford. Ford played in nearly every contest, but averaged just 2.0 points in 8.7 minutes per game.

Who’s In:
Coach Steve Prohm has three newcomers who can help replace Fields. Kedrick Flomo is a point guard, but he is a scoring point guard. The 6-1 freshman can shoot and attack the basket with ease. For now, he will be a nice weapon off of the bench. The same is true for combo guard JayQuan McCloud. The Chicago native can create his own shot very effectively. Even if his shot is not falling as a freshman, he could be utilized off the bench for his defensive abilities. The most experienced newcomer is Utah transfer Justin Seymour. Two years ago the 6-3 guard averaged about a dozen minutes per game with the Utes and it became clear that his vast potential was not going to be reached with Utah. A fresh start at Murray State could lead to big things for Seymour and the Racers.

Who to Watch:
This team returns five of their top six minute earners, but will revolve around Cameron Payne and Jarvis Williams. Payne had an amazing freshman campaign and started off scoring 21 points in his debut. He did not slow down from there, averaging 16.8 points and 5.4 assists. Payne is a great drive and dish point guard, but he is a good outside shooter too. With that year of experience under his belt, few players in the OVC will be tougher to guard than Payne. One who will be just as tough to stop is Williams. The 6-8 forward averaged 14.9 points and 9.9 rebounds during his debut season with the Racers after spending a couple years at the junior college ranks. He is a very consistent scorer and only failed to reach double digits four times during Murray State’s 34 games last season. And in three of those games he recorded at least a dozen rebounds. T.J. Sapp, Jeffery Moss and Jonathan Fairell figure to round out the starting lineup. Sapp was a mid-season transfer from Clemson and played in 24 contests. Most figured he would be a starter as soon as he was eligible, but Sapp was mostly used as a shooter off of the bench. He is the best option to replace Fields and has the talent to boost his scoring beyond his 13.3 points per game from a year ago. Moss, a 6-4 forward, is another capable shooter who can drive and finish around the basket. Fairell is a nice complimentary player to Williams in the paint. He is not a great scorer, but will help out on the glass.

Final Projection:
The only thing this team really lacks is depth in the paint. Tyler Rambo, a 6-5 junior, will again be asked to play 15 to 20 minutes per game. However, he has not been that effective on the glass. Terron Gilmore has more size, but his playing time has been very limited over the last two years. A little boost in production from either Rambo or Gilmore would go a long way. Even Belmont does not have as much talent as Murray State this season and once again it will come down to those two teams for the OVC title.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Cameron Payne, Sophomore, Guard, 16.8 points per game
T.J. Sapp, Senior, Guard, 13.3 points per game
Jeffery Moss, Junior, Forward, 13.2 points per game
Jonathan Fairell, Senior, Forward, 6.8 points per game
Jarvis Williams, Senior, Forward, 14.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.9 (31st in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.9 (229, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.5 (27, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.5 (218, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (63, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.6 (55, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.2 (259, 10)
Rebound Margin: 2.1 (117, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (134, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (182, 4)


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