No. 16 St. Mary’s at No. 10/9 Murray State
Alright Murray State, you got the matchup most of you were wanting: A team with a higher RPI, one of the 12 schools in the nation with a higher offensive efficiency rating than you, and virtually tied with you statistically on defense. Still want them? You do? Okay then…
The Gaels have a great high-low combo in Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones, who combine for almost 30 points a game, and both shoot better than 45% from the field. Jones is a rebounding beast, averaging more than 10 a game. They have 5 legitimate 3-point threats and like the Racers, are a strong free throw shooting team. They don’t turn the ball over, and are one of the best rebounding teams in the nation.
If you’re looking for weaknesses, the Gaels don’t defend the 3-point shot all that well, and haven’t forced many turnovers this year. You can make the argument that the WCC is down, but it’s a laughable statement when you look at the whole of the OVC.
Murray State got the premier matchup, and at 21-0, it would have been a tragedy if they didn’t. But that being said, this will be the best team they’ve played this year, which means yes, they’re better than Memphis. If the Racers enter this game with a undefeated record (which isn’t assured, by any means) St. Mary’s is a solid threat to knock off the Racers. But as they say, no risk, no reward, and a win over St. Mary’s would boost the Racers tournament profile.
(Impressions for the rest of the OVC to be posted tomorrow morning)