Commentary

How good is Murray State?

The Racers are far from perfect, but they're built to wreak havoc this March

Originally Published: January 24, 2012
By Jordan Brenner | ESPN Insider
Ivan AskaSpruce Derden/US PresswireIvan Aska leads the Racers with six rebounds per game this season.

All season long, Insider will be keeping a close eye on teams from conferences that haven't usually produced multiple NCAA tournament bids to see which squads outside of the spotlight look the strongest come tournament time. To that end, we'll be ranking the top performers from all conferences outside of the A-10, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-12 and SEC. One new caveat for this season: With the movement of BYU to the WCC, we will not be including the Cougars because of their established performance record. Likewise, Gonzaga and Memphis will not be considered in these rankings.

They're ranked ninth in the latest coaches' poll. Joe Lunardi pegs them as a 7-seed in the NCAA tourney. And they still haven't lost a game.

So how in the world do the Murray State Racers only place eighth in this week's Mid-Major Power Rankings?

It's a great question. And the only answer is that while the Racers keep beating teams, they're not doing so particularly efficiently. Murray State ranks 40th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 70th at the defensive end. In barely beating a weak Morehead State team last Wednesday, the Racers turned it over 14 times in a slow-paced game and shot just 43.2 percent. Factor in a woeful schedule (266th in the nation, according to Kenpom.com) and this much is clear: The Racers have a perfect record, but they are far from a perfect team.

But there's a twist to this plot when it comes to how Murray State will perform in March. While these power rankings are built solely on efficiency margin, the secret sauce behind Giant Killers uses many more ingredients and targets different strengths in teams that are likely to knock off top dogs. At this point in the season, Murray State is already building a frighteningly good GK résumé.


To see the full Mid-Major Power Rankings, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Jordan Brenner | email

ESPN The Magazine contributing writer
Brenner writes for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Insider. He covers the NBA and college basketball.