Racers will play ‘great’ bracket

Jonathan Ferris
Staff writer

 

Allie Douglass/The News

If the Racers defeat Colorado State today they will play again in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday against the winner of the matchup between third seed Marquette and 14th seed Iona. Marquette’s leading scorers are seniors Jae Crowder, a 6-foot-6 forward who averages 17.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, and 6-foot-2 guard Darius Johnson-Odom, who averages 18.5 points per game.

Marquette averages 76 points and 36 rebounds per game compared to the Racers 74 points and 33 rebounds. Marquette enters the tournament having lost two of their last three games after being eliminated by Louisville in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.

If the Racers can win their first two games they will move on to Phoenix for the first Sweet Sixteen appearance in school history.

“We have a great bracket,” Murray State Head Coach Steve Prohm said. “We’ve got some very, very good teams and I’m happy for the other teams. I’m excited for Iona, another mid-major to get a well deserved bid. Coach Williams does a very good job at Marquette, but our first task is a great team in Colorado State.”

Other notable teams in the West bracket include:

No. 1 Michigan State: The Spartans upset Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship on Saturday and earned the final No. 1 seed. The Racers could see Michigan State as a potential Elite Eight matchup.

No. 2 Missouri: Mizzou boasts the best record among the two seeds at 30-4. The Tigers defeated Baylor for the third time this season in the Big 12 Championship, outscoring the Golden Bears 90-75. The Tigers average the sixth most points per game and the third highest field goal percentage in the nation. The Racers could see the Tigers in a Sweet Sixteen showdown in Phoenix.

No. 8 Memphis: Memphis enters the tournament on a seven game winning streak, winning all seven games by margins of 12 or greater. The Tigers won 11 of their final 12 games and blew out Marshall by 26 points in the Conference USA championship. Memphis would have to advance to the Elite Eight for a shot at revenge against a Racer team who handed them one of only two home losses this season.

No. 12 Long Beach State: Picked by some to be a potential Cinderella, the 25-8 49ers from California depend on senior guard Casper Ware and his 17.4 points per game. They defeated Pitt and Xavier, two top-15 teams, early on in the season and defeated UC Santa Barbara to win the Big West tournament. The 49ers have seven seniors and six juniors on their squad.

Long Beach State will have their hands full in the first round facing a 27-6 New Mexico team who defeated fellow NCAA tournament participants UNLV and San Diego State to win the Mountain West Tournament.

No. 14 BYU: The nation’s 13th highest scoring team will have to play their way into the second round matchup against Marquette by beating Iona in the first round play in game. The Cougars will not be short on experience, playing seven upper classmen. BYU won seven of their last eight before losing to Gonzaga in the semifinal of the WCC tournament. If the Racers defeat Colorado State and BYU upsets Marquette, the two teams would face each other on Saturday in Louisville.