MSU earns long break
Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 12:01 pm
By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer
No. 11 Murray State accomplished its season-long goal of reaching the NCAA tournament. Now, the Racers must wait and wait and wait to see what comes next.
Senior guard Donte Poole said he’s already lived the longest 1.1 seconds of his life over the final play of their victory in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship on Saturday, but the coming days might be even longer.
The earliest Murray State (30-1) will play again is next Thursday — a layoff of at least 11 days.
“That 1.1 seconds in the OVC championship was the longest 1.1 seconds of my life, but these 11 days are going to be long,” Poole said. “We’ve just got to make sure we stay focused, stay hungry.”
Murray State has a lot it can build off of in its rally over Tennessee State in a 54-52 victory that was capped when senior Jewuan Long made a floater before holding off the Tigers.
“For me to make that shot, it could’ve been anybody,” Long said. “I was going to make the right play. At the same time, any of our players could’ve done that.”
The Racers are currently one of three men’s Division I teams with 30 wins — along with No. 1 Kentucky and No. 2 Syracuse — but unlike those major conference schools, the Racers will be forced to sit and wait before the NCAA tournament.
Long said they’ll use the time wisely to prepare even though they won’t know their next opponent until Sunday.
“I would hope it would go by quick, but I believe it’s going to go by a little bit slow because it’s just the anticipation. We’re excited to go to the NCAA tournament,” he said. “I know what we’re getting into. It means more practice. We’re just ready to get back on the floor and play.”
The Racers took Sunday and Monday off and Prohm is still deciding how to bridge the layoff. He plans to fill the time with scrimmages, weightlifting sessions and individual workouts before the selection show.
“I think it’s a very small window (to relax). We can’t become too complacent, we can’t become too comfortable. Wherever we go, we’ve got to make sure we’re ready because from this point on, there’s no more chances,” Poole said. “It’s one and done.
“A lot of teams might become too comfortable, they might be happy with the success that they had so far, but I just think that allows teams to get beat and we’re not ready to stop this journey.”
In the meantime, Prohm believes Murray State can make a strong case to be a 2 seed in the tournament.
“We have like five or six Top 100, 125 (RPI) wins, so when you factor that into the equation and then you look at the fact we’re 30-1, you have to sit back and say, ‘Wow,’” Prohm said. “You’re not just 30-1 by mistake.”
Published in The WCP 3.8.12