The time for enjoying the win vs Middle Tennessee came and went quickly, as we turn to Murray State. The Racers present a difficult challenge on the road, with their pressure defense and physical style. Stylistically this is a good match up for us, Murray plays a similar style, with a less talented roster. They shoot a good percentage from the floor, but struggle from deep, and hold their opponents to a low percentage from the field, by limiting assists and turning them over. They have good size with a few guys going 6-8 250ish, Miller in particular plays like a man down low, averaging 16.7 pts and 7 rebs per game, but can also pop and shoot the three. Stark is their next guy to be aware of, a small guard who shoots in volume. Other than Miller, their next three scorers averaging low double figures are all smaller guards (6-3 and under). Stark shoots the most threes and is the most dangerous if he gets hot from the floor at home.
Murray hasn't played a very tough schedule to get to their 7-2 record, with their two losses coming to Middle Tennessee and St. Louis.
We should be well suited to match up in this game. Expect to see Mitchell and Harper play together if the quickness of their guards is giving us trouble on the perimeter. Our posts are more athletic, but could struggle with the physicality if caught out of position. Murray should fit in well in this game, with his size and skill set. Heron should give them match up problems with his size at the 3 and could be in for a big night. Murray at the high post should be effective as well. Honestly, there are a number of ways we should be able to find mis-matches to our advantage in this one. The biggest concern should be our point guards taking care of the ball. If we can handle the environment and not turn the ball over we should be in good shape. Murray St rebounds pretty well, and we will need to prevent second chance opportunities and force them to shoot jump shots.
I would look for Brown to have a bounce back game. He will be able to shoot over the smaller players defending him, and should have some transition opportunities to get going. I would also look for us to go to Heron early and often. We handled the atmosphere at Dayton well earlier, can we handle it again and avoid a let down after the big win? With league play in sight this road win can really help our resume. I expect a close game with scoring in the 80s.
AU is a -4.5 favorite. AU (43 Ken Pom) vs M. St. (108 Ken Pom); AU (34 RPI) vs M. St. (130).