Can Murray State Go Undefeated?Posted: February 3, 2012
By now we all know the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers were the last to run the table (32-0).
Is there any surprise that the last undefeated team this season in Division I is from Kentucky and they wear the color blue? Not Kentucky Wildcat blue, Murray State Racer blue. The Racers have the best start to a season ever by an OVC team, as well as their 25th straight winning season (tied with UConn only trailing Syracuse, Kansas and Arizona) Now the question, will this be the season that we have the next team that runs the table?
On paper Murray State has a great shot, especially since leading rebounder Ivan Aska has returned to the lineup after breaking his hand December 30th. Let’s look at the rest of the Conference schedule.
Four road games – the team with the highest PRI of the four would be Tennessee Tech (RealtimeRPI of 180). When they played earlier this year the Racers won by 8. For the home games, the toughest test based on RPI appears to be Austin Peay (Racers won by 12 last time out).
That leaves us with one game to look at, the match-up that every basketball fan wanted for ESPN BracketBusters. St. Mary’s at Murray State. The Gaels will fly to Kentucky with a RPI Rank of 18, SOS of 115; their two losses, at Denver and vs Baylor (in Las Vegas). Both teams play on Wednesday of that weekend, so no extra time to prepare for either team, Murray State will be returning from Southeast Missouri (who they defeated February 2 at home despite trailing at the half), St. Mary’s will be flying in from a home game. There is no doubt that this will be the most talked about and most watched game, probably the best match-up in BracketBusters history.
Now let’s talk seeding. RPI of 34 (and falling), SOS 236 (ouch, thanks OVC!), quality wins: Southern Miss (RPI 9) Dayton (73) at Memphis (25). Current ESPN Bracketology has the Racers as a 6 seed, playing St. Louis in Columbus. CBS is projecting the Racers as a 3 seed in Nashville against Iowa State.
How has a 6 seed done in the tournament you ask. If they obtain a 6 seed, they have a better chance than as a 7 seed (never advanced to the Final Four). 3 teams have made it to the Final Four as a 6, same for the 8 seed (the 1985 Villanova team won the championship as an 8 seed, the lowest seed to ever cut down the nets). Since 1985, the 3 seed has taken home the trophy three times.
Can they run the table, yes they can, any thing can happen. Will they? That is something we will have to wait and find out, and it should be fun to watch.