CSJ NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Second Round Preview: Murray State vs. Marquette, How to Watch and Fearless Prediction

#12 Murray State vs. #5 Marquette

When: Thursday, March 21, 4:30 PM
Where: XL Center Hartford, CT

  Murray State Racers (27-4, 16-2)
Murray, Kentucky
Ohio Valley Conference
Head Coach: Matt McMahon, (3rd Season at Murray State 86-41)
Enrollment: 7891
Sagarin Rating: 57

Scouting Report: Murray State won a share of the OVC regular season title and followed that up by winning the league’s post season tournament and the automatic bid that comes along with it. The Racers only lost two conference games all year. Their two non-conference losses were to SEC teams Alabama and Auburn. The Racers are led by Sportscenter sensation Ja Morant. Morant is a potential lottery pick in the upcoming draft. Murray State averages 83 points per game, so they will not be scared if a game has high tempo in the tournament.

Murray State Projected Starters

No. Player Pos. Cl. Ht./Wt. PPG/RPG/APG/Note

10 Tevin Brown G FR 6-5/180 11.7/4.7/2.4/Started all 31 games as a Freshman

11 Shaq Buchanan G SR 6-3/190 13.4/4.2/1.8/Increased scoring output by 4pts over 2018

12 Ja Morant G SO 6-3/175 24.4/5.5/10.0/21 double-doubles, 2 triple-doubles

23 KJ Williams F FR 6-9/240 7.6/4.7/0.5/ Season high 16 rebounds vs Eastern Illinois

32 Darnell Cowart F JR 6-8/295 10.4/6.5/1.0/ 22 points, 13 rebounds in win over Tennessee-Martin

Key Player: With all the Sportscenter hype over his dunking ability and his potential as an NBA lottery pick, Ja Morant has led the Racers all season. Morant is a talented scorer but is also a distributor averaging 10 assists per game as well. Morant’s ability to get his teammates involved in the offense prevents opponents from just focusing on him

Fantasy Player: Morant is the best player and will put up the best numbers. Don’t over think it. Morant will have a double-double and flirt with the triple-double here.

Marquette Golden Eagles (24-9, 12-6)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Big East Conference
Head Coach: Steve Wojciechowski (5th year at Marquette 97-68)
Enrollment: 8,143
Sagarin: 24

Scouting Report: Marquette finished as runner up in the Big East behind defending National Champion Villanova, earning an at large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Golden Eagles are led by a dynamic scorer of their own in Markus Howard at 25 points per game. Marquette also features the Hauser brothers who combine to average 25 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Marquette Projected Starters

No. Player Pos. Cl. Ht./Wt. PPG/RPG/APG/Note

0 Markus Howard G JR 5-11/175 25.0/4.0/4.0/Scored 53 points in win vs. Creighton

2 Sacar Amin F JR 6-5/210 8.6/3.1/1.2/16 points in win over Kansas State

4 Theo John F SO 6-9/240 5.7/4.8/0.5/leads team in FG% at 61.6%

10 Sam Hauser F SO 6-8/225 14.9/7.1/2.5/8-20+ point games

22 Joey Hauser F FR 6-9/230 9.7/5.3/2.5/Leads team 3 point shooting at 43.1%

Key Player: The Hauser brothers form a strong duo in the Marquette front court. If they can control the boards and keep Murray State to single shot possessions, the Golden Eagles will have a great shot to win this game.

Fantasy Player:  Markus Howard has a season high of 53 points, but he also has 2 other 40 point games and seven 30 point games. Howard is another NBA prospect, but may be back for his senior year. THe NCAA tournament is where so many players make a name for themselves when the stars shine brightest. Howard should flirt with the 30 point mark in this game.

Fearless Prediction: This game features two of the best scorers that college basketball has to offer. This game could be the game of the day on Thursday with two teams who can get the score into the 80s or even the 90s. Bracket lore says that at least one 12 seed beats a 5 seed on opening day. Thanks to a huge game by Ja Morant, this is that game. Murray State 87, Marquette 85

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