The Murray State Racers Men's Basketball team heads towards win number 20 in tonight's game against South East Missouri (currently in progress). With a 17-game winning streak, "Voice of the Racers" Neal Bradley says it's the fourth longest winning streak in the history of the OVC. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross speaks with Bradley about the previous four games and what's ahead for the Racers.
Vs Eastern Illinois 77-62
Neal Bradley says this was a terrific game. The stadium was packed and the crowd was rowdy. It took a while for the Racers to take control, but overall they defended well and had a nice halftime lead. Eastern never made a serious charge in the second half, but it was never totally comfortable for the Racers. Before this game, Eastern had not lost at home in conference play. They were right on the Racers heels and after this match, they went on to lose the next two games.
Vs SIU Edwardsville 60-54
The Racers shot 34% from the three-point range, 6% better than any other team. Bradley says for some reason teams just don't shoot well on this court from the perimeter. The Racers had some problems scoring all-together, but defended well enough and rebounded well, too. In a four-minute stretch, Cameron Payne made enough big shots to survive.
Vs Eastern Kentucky 85-78
Bradley says Eastern's coach is had done a great job with their team. Bradley considers them one of the more difficult teams in the OVC. Murray State was down by 6 at halftime. Eastern was off to a good start in the second half, too. However, in the last two minutes of the game, when Murray State was down by 5 points - they brought it back and forced the game into overtime for the win.
Vs UT Martin 65-62
Bradley says, "If someone had been out of the country and came in and saw that score, they'd think 'boy the Racers are obviously horrible because they barely beat Martin by three points,' but that's not the case." Martin is playing very well this season and Bradley says it's no accident that they are a good team - with great coaching and quality players. Justin Seymour and J.T. Sapp were standouts in this game.
Tonight against SEMO
In tonight's game against SEMO, Bradley says he picked the Racers to win the division when the season started, but thought if anyone could upset them it'd be SEMO. They're 10 and 12 overall, 4 and 5 in OVC and in fifth place. But they have a lot of talent. Overall, this season they've relied heavily on shooting 3's. It's tough for them on the court when they're not making 3's. That being said, Bradley reminds us that this is largely the same team that beat the Racers in a double overtime last season. If they start making shots, they still have the potential to get on a roll and fare well. However, their chances of winning the league are slim to none.
Traveling to Austin Peay
Bradley says despite the classic rivalry with Murray State, this is not a classic team. This is a team where if they don't win four of the final eight games, they'll have lost 20 games for the third time in 20 years. They are not recruited well and their guard play is sub par, he says. Between 2000 and 2009, Austin Peay was the best team in the conference, but they haven't been very good since then. Bradley says the player to look out for is Chris Horton. That being said, it's a rival game and it wouldn't be a surprise if it went to the final two minutes to be decided.
How good are the Racers?
The issues the Racers have had this season - whether playing well or whether losing is "length." When tall players are on the court, the Racers have a hard time shooting. They've done a good job making up for this, Bradley says, in rebounding and defending. Nevertheless, he reminds us that the Racers are doing very well in the OVC and says that the league's as good as it's ever been with the exception of Isaiah Canaan's junior year. For the Racers, there's only about three or four teams in the OVC that are 'scary,' the rest are vulnerable in some way.