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Racers have reasons to keep fans home

Racers have reasons to keep fans home

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:01 pm

Murray State’s 2012-13 basketball schedule features 15 home games at the CFSB Center, includes games against Old Dominion, Valparaiso, Western Kentucky and the ESPNU BracketBusters as well as a full slate of Ohio Valley Conference games as the Racers will be trying for their fourth straight league title.
The Racers enter the 2012-13 campaign on the high of their greatest season in the 87 years of the program when they were 31-2 under rookie head coach Steve Prohm. MSU earned a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to within a game of the Sweet 16 and set program records in the national rankings ending the season No. 12 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
Highlighting MSU’s non-conference schedule is an appearance in the Charleston Classic (Nov. 15-18) in Charleston, S.C.
The Racers’ first opponent in the event is Auburn (Nov. 15) at TD Arena. MSU will face either St. John’s or College of Charleston (Nov. 16). The rest of an outstanding field of teams includes Baylor, Boston College, Dayton and Colorado.
The Racers face road non-OVC games with Lipscomb, Evansville, Arkansas State and Dayton.
“We’re excited about our schedule because it has a good mix of challenging non-conference home and road games,” Prohm said. “We’re pleased that ESPN invited our team to participate in the Charleston Classic. This tournament will provide our program national exposure and an opportunity to face great programs on a neutral floor. Our fans are among the best in college basketball, and this schedule has a lot of great home games they can see.”
The Racers open the season with an exhibition game against Freed-Hardeman (Nov. 6) before opening the regular season at home with Brescia (Nov. 9).
After coming home from the Charleston Classic, the Racers host Old Dominion (Nov. 24) and travel to Lipscomb (Nov. 26).
December has the Racers with three home games with Bethel (Dec. 4), Western Kentucky (Dec. 16) and Valpo (Dec. 29) with road games at Evansville (Dec. 8), Arkansas State (Dec 19) and Dayton (Dec. 22).
MSU begins OVC play (Jan. 3) at UT Martin and at Southeast Missouri (Jan. 5). MSU’s first meeting with rival Austin Peay is in Clarksville (Jan. 12) with the game at the CFSB Center happening Feb. 2.
The 2012-13 season sees the addition of Belmont to the OVC from the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The Racers and Bruins meet one time this season, at the CFSB Center (Feb. 7).
The Racers end the regular season with a three-game home stand starting with the ESPNU BracketBusters game (Feb. 23). MSU hosts UT Martin (Feb. 28) and SEMO (March 2), which will be Senior Day.
The Racers look for their 16th OVC Tournament title in Nashville (Mar. 6-9). The top two teams in the regular-season standings earn byes into the semifinals and the third and fourth seeds earn a bye to the quarterfinals.
The OVC also moves the basketball race into divisions this season with the Racers belonging to the west division. Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, SIU-E and UT Martin join the Racers in the west. The OVC east division will have Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Jackson-ville State, Morehead State, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.
In Charleston, the Racers could face Baylor, which made it to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals last season and Colorado, which lost to Baylor in the third round.
When adding WKU and Belmont, the Racers potentially can face four teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2012. Additionally, the Racers face two opponents (Dayton and Valparaiso) that played in the National Invitation Tournament last season. Valparaiso won the Horizon League title and will face MSU for the first time since 1999, while Dayton, which finished fifth in the Atlantic-10 Conference, sees the Racers for the second straight season.
The Racers play ODU for the first time since 1990. The Monarchs have 11 NCAA appearances to their credit.
Belmont won 41 of its last 44 games in the Atlantic Sun as they enter the OVC and played in the last two NCAA Tournaments. The Racers face WKU, which had a late-season surge to win a first round NCAA Tournament game.
The Racers and Hilltoppers meet for the 149th time in their long-running series.
The Racers’ schedule is formidable when speaking of NCAA RPI.
MSU finished 21st in the NCAA RPI last season and could see Baylor (8) or Colorado (57). MSU will also be facing Belmont (60) and Dayton (91). Other MSU opponents ranked in the top half of the 344 Division-I teams include: Valparaiso (100), Old Dominion (102), Tennessee State (112), Charleston (125), Evansville (145), Auburn (145), Morehead State (168) and WKU (171).
“This is a tough and demanding schedule,” Prohm said. “You always want to test your team against some high-level opponents and this schedule will do just that. It will prepare us for another run in the OVC. I’m looking forward to seeing all of our fans this season at the CFSB Center.”
The Racers are looking for their 26th consecutive winning season. MSU’s current streak of 25 is tied with Connecticut for fourth in the nation and behind only Syracuse (42), Kansas (29) and Arizona (28). MSU’s 23 OVC regular season titles are tops in the league as the Racers have won the last three in outright fashion. MSU’s 15 OVC Tournament titles are the best in the league.
ESPN recently named the Racers 28th in their list of the top-50 college basketball programs from the last 50 years. Published in The WCP 8.28.12

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