March Madness 2012: The Murray State Racers Are Dancing In the NCAA Tournament

We’ll be doing NCAA Tournament profiles for automatic bid conference winners leading up to Selection Sunday.

Conference: Ohio Valley (30-1)

Location: Murray, Kentucky

Famous Alum: Jim Varney, who was robbed of a Best Actor Oscar for his leading role in Ernest Goes To Camp. As for basketball alums, you may recall Popeye Jones.

They’re Back! The Racers have made 14 previous NCAA Tournaments, winning two games. The first win was over NC State back in 1988, and then they lost to eventual champion Kansas. The other win was two years ago, in their last appearance, when they beat Vanderbilt before losing to Butler, who advanced to the title game, by 2 points.

Resume: Murray State won their first 23 games, and were the last D-I school to lose a game. They avenged that loss in the OVC title game, by beating Tennessee State with a basket in the final seconds. They defeated Southern Miss, Memphis on the road, and St. Mary’s at home among likely tournament teams.

Notable Player(s): Isaiah Canaan is the star of this team, and has hit 48% of his threes on the season.

Team Style/Strengths: The Racers will be very undersized, and rely on their proficient three point shooting (41.4% on the season).

All-Important Rankings: 24 (RPI), 47 (Pomeroy)

Projected Outlook/Seed: The guess here is that Murray State will ride their gaudy win/loss record to a 5 seed, though they could get as high as a 4 pending other results. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them show up in the same bracket as a Big Ten team (Indiana, Michigan or Wisconsin) in the 4/5 pairing, presenting an interesting contrast.

[photo via US Presswire]

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