Earlier this year, these two schools met in an epic 72-59 game in Murray. Only it was football season then, and yes, that was a football score. Question of the night: Will the Racers and Bears meet their combined 131 point performance on the court?
For the first time in 15 years, the Racers will open play in the NIT tonight when they travel to Missouri State, a team that’s similar to the Racers in many aspects. Like the Racers, the Bears were the MVC regular season champs (15-3) but lost in the conference finals to Indiana State. Not only are their season’s similar, but their stat lines this year are as well:
Murray State – 68.3
Missouri State – 69.2
Field Goal %
Murray State – 45.6%
Missouri State – 45.3%
Murray State – 37.9%
Missouri State – 37.0%
Rebounds per game
Murray State – 32.6
Missouri State – 33.2
Murray State – 92
Missouri State – 99
I don’t think this is going to be a match-up of opposing styles…
The one major difference between these squads: Turnovers. The Bears are the 10th best in the nation at not coughing up the ball. But they don’t force many turnovers either, only averaging 5 steals a game. They are not led by committee like the Racers either; Kyle Weems leads the Bears with 16 ppg, 7+ rebounds a contest.
Since they are out of the MVC, Evansville is a common opponent of the Bears and Racers. Murray handled Evansville as part of ESPN’s Bracketbusters, winning by 25 in the CFSB Center. Missouri State split their meetings with the Purple Aces, winning at home by 15 but falling by 12 on the road. Both teams also faced Oklahoma State. The Bears lost by 14, Murray lost by 17. Both of those games, though, were in the first month of the season.
The Bears have been on the outside of the AP top 25 for most of the conference season, receiving votes to the poll in 3 consecutive weeks. This team hasn’t changed much from November either; The same 5 players have started all 33 contests for the Bears.