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What They've Done
More like: What haven't they done? If that's the question, the answer would be simple: go undefeated.
The Racers won all but one game, posting the same 30-1 record that Syracuse and Kentucky currently hold.
Murray State didn't amass any "great" wins, but the Racers' Dec. 11 victory at Memphis certainly cued us in on their talent. The Racers also beat Southern Miss, Dayton and San Francisco in non-conference play before toppling a hobbled Saint Mary's in ESPN's BracketBuster weekend.
As for the Ohio Valley Conference, Murray State fell to Tennessee State—the only other top-115 RPI squad in the conference. The Racers had a few other close calls but ultimately emerged victorious.
How They've Done It
With a little bit of luck and the outstanding play of Isaiah Canaan, Murray State had its dominant season. Canaan had several jaw-dropping performances and moments that left audiences incredulous. The junior averaged 19.2 points per game while shooting 47.3 percent from long range.
He also had 14 outings of 20-plus points.
As for the rest of the team, Donte Poole's potency and Ivan Aska's rebounding are most important. However, Ed Daniel and Jewuan Long have also stepped up at various points in the season.
As a team, Murray State is solid offensively. The Racers rank No. 65 in adjusted offensive efficiency, No. 41 in points per game, No. 23 in field-goal percentage and No. 6 in three-point percentage.
Though the latter three stats are rather impressive, it's somewhat naive to evaluate Murray State based on that because of their level of competition. Instead, the adjusted offensive efficiency gives us a better idea of the Racers' offensive potential.
Defensively, the stats tell a similar story. With the exception of field -oal percentage defense (No. 126), the Racers rank in the top 40 in steals (No. 24), scoring defense (No. 38) and three-point defense (No. 16). However, they are No. 48 in adjusted defensive efficiency.
We won't know how this Murray State team will fare against top competition until they face it, but several players on this team were on the team that upset Vanderbilt two seasons ago.
Rotation: 8 upperclassmen, 1 freshman