MURRAY STATE RACERS (24-5, 16-2 OVC)
Head Coach: Matt McMahon (Appalachian State, 2000)
Career Record: 57-36 (3rd season) • At MUR: Same • OVC: 34-16
Date-Time: March 2, 7 p.m. CT Site: Evansville, Ind. Arena: Ford Center TV: ESPNU Roy Philpott & Adrian Branch Radio: Racer Radio - WFGE 103.7 FM - Neal Bradley & Kenny Roth Web Streaming: Audio: GoRacers.com & Froggy103.com Video: ESPN3 Live Stats: StatBroadcast.com Twitter: @MSURacers @RacersHoops @RacerDave23
MSU & OVC Tournament
First MSU Appearance: 1949, Lost EKU 73-41. First OVC Tournament was held at Louisville Gardens. Total Tournaments: 2018's tournament marks the 55th time it has been played and 44th straight year it has been held. Tournament Not Held: No OVC Tournament was contested between 1955-1964 and 1967-1975. MSU Titles: MSU has won 15 OVC Tournament titles. Last MSU Title: 2012, MSU defeated TSU 54-52 2017 Event: Last year, the Racers were No. 7 seed and defeated TTU and MOR before losing to UTM in the semifinals. 2015 Event: Was the last time MSU was in the championship game. They lost to BEL 88
-87 at buzzer.
The OVC regular season champion Murray State Racers are the No. 1 seed heading to Evansville, Indiana and the Ford Center this week after a tremendous season including a 24-5 record and an 11-game winning streak. The Racers are the No. 1 seed and locked into playing the first semifinal game Friday (March 2) at 7 p.m. CT. MSU's opponent will begin to be determined on Wednesday when No. 8 SIUE takes on No. 5 Tennessee Tech. The winner will meet No. 4 seed Jacksonville State on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The winner will meet the Racers in the semifinals.
Froggy 103 (WFGS 103.7 FM) airs every MSU game with "Voice of the Racers" Neal Bradley calling the action in his 27th season. Former MSU assistant coach Kenny Roth provides commentary. Froggy103.com and GoRacers.com has free online streaming audio. Roy Philpott and Adrian Branch have the call on ESPNU and the game will also have online streaming video on ESPN3.com.
Since 2006, the Racers has played in five OVC semifinal games and have won four times, with the lone exception coming in 2011 when No. 4 Tennessee Tech upset the favored Racers. 2018 marks the first No. 1 seed for MSU since 2015, which the Racers lost on a buzzer shot by Belmont. The last time MSU won as the No. 1 seed was in 2012 when they beat Tennessee State and eventually became a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament and had 31 wins after they were the final undefeated team at 23-0. If MSU can win on Friday, it will put them into the OVC championship game for the 26th time and first since 2015. MSU has 15 wins and 15 trips to the NCAA Tournament, they'd like to be doing that again Saturday night.
Jonathan Stark, the OVC Preseason Player of the Year, proved everyone right with the amazing season he had and this week was named OVC Player of the Year, MSU's 19th overall by 14 players. He has six 30-point games this season and three in his last four games. His 103 3-pointers heading into the OVC Tournament means he is close to surpassing his own MSU single-season record of 108 from last season. Stark is leading the OVC in scoring for a second-straight season at 21.7 points per game. He became the all-time two-year scorer for the Racers last week and if you add in his two seasons at Tulane, Stark is the only active player in NCAA D-I with 2,100 points and 500 assists.
All-OVC Preseason pick Terrell Miller, Jr., proved he was worthy of a First Team All-OVC selection this week. He starts the week with 956 points. He is one of only five two-year MSU players that have reached 500 rebounds. If Miller can reach 1,000 points, he'll become the 21st MSU player with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
Ja Morant is the first Racer to be All-OVC as a freshman since Cameron Payne did it in 2013-14. Morant has been fantastic and enters the OVC Tournament ranked 20th in OVC in scoring at 12.6 points per game, 10th in rebounding at 6.8 per game and second in assists with 7.3 per game. In NCAA D-I, he is the second ranked freshman (14th overall) in assists per game behind only Oklahoma sensation Trey Howard at 9.1.
His triple-double earlier this season at home against Eastern Illinois was the second at MSU in records that go back to 1984.