Throughout conference championship week, KSR College writers will be previewing each conference tournament finals game to bring you the latest information on who’s secured a bid to the NCAA tournament. Here’s Havana Childers.
Tonight at seven o’clock EST the #1 Belmont Bruins will take on the #2 Racers of Murray State at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
About the teams:
The Belmont Bruins came into the tournament as the favorite. They have gone (25-6) overall and (14-6) in conference play. This is Belmont’s first year in the OVC after transferring from the Atlantic Sun. One of their players, Ian Clark, could potentially be a second round draft pick. They are 17th overall nationally in points per game with 77.2 and 4th overall with .496 field goal percentage and they were undefeated playing at home this year.
Fun Facts about Belmont:
- Belmont is known to be one of the best music schools located in Music City. They have many notable alumni such as Brad Paisley, Lee Ann Womack, Josh Turner and Trisha Yearwood.
- They have made five NCAA Tournament appearances, since their first appearance in 2006
- Their arena, the Curb Event Center, only holds 5,000
- They lost to Duke by one during the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament
- This is apparently what a bruin looks like:
After last season, the Murray State Racers are familiar with being in the spotlight. They are the #2 seed with a record of (21-9) overall and (10-6) within the OVC. The Racers have suffered some embarrassing losses to teams such as EIU and Tennessee-Martin towards the end of the season. They could potentially make a return to the NCAA Tournament if they are able to redeem themselves by beating the Bruins tonight. Their senior point guard Isaiah Canaan is currently projected to go number 22 in this year’s draft according to nbadraft.net.
Fun Facts about Murray State:
- The last Racer that was drafted into the NBA was Marcus Brown in 1996, he is also the Euroleague’s all-time leading scorer
- They have made 15 NCAA Tournament appearances
- Murray State won the conference championship last year
- They have a huge in-state rivalry with Western Kentucky University
- And just incase anyone was curious, this is a racer:
Game Prediction: The two teams meant earlier in the season, with Murray State earning a 79-74 victory at home. In that outing, the Racers spoiled the Bruins perfect conference record, and Canaan had a draft-worthy night with 26 points and 6 assists. Despite the Bruins high shooting pace (51.9% from the floor and 42.9% behind the arc), the Racers were able to scrap for rebounds and prevent Belmont from having more than one shot per possession. Since the meeting, Belmont has continued to dominate the OVC, losing only one other game in the conference, while Murray State has struggled some and lost four of their last seven. Isaiah Canaan is a star, but he won’t be enough to carry the team’s scoring load against Belmont. Throw in the fact that Belmont is undefeated at home this season and the conference tournament is played in their Nashville backyard at the Municipal Auditorium, and you’ve got a recipe for a Bruins victory tonight.
Sidebar- that’s who Cats fans should root for, since Belmont is probably in the tournament anyway (receiving votes in the ranking polls as of just a couple of weeks ago) and we don’t want Murray State to play the role of auto-bid thief. Go Bruins.
Who do you want to win? Let me know in the comments or @HChildersKSR