Monday, March 15, 2010

The Murray State Racers: A Quick Look at Their Resume/Team

Over the next couple of days, VSL will have some comprehensive coverage of Vanderbilt's season thus far and our prospects for the first round match-up. But given the excitement of March Madness, here is a real quick look at the Ohio Valley Champion Murray State Racers, a very dangerous team.

Overall: 30-4 (28-4 against D-I opponents) (20-1 in OVC)
RPI: 57
Home Record: 13-0
Neutral: 4-0
Road: 11-4
SOS: 316

Quality Wins: Morehead State (x2) (RPI: 84)
Toughest Game: California (RPI: 20) 5-point loss.

Ken Pom #s:


Adj. Efficiency:
108.3 [68] Offense
92.3 [45] Defense

Adj. Tempo:
67.3 [175]

Four Factors
Effective FG%:
55.4 [9] Offense
43.9 [14] Defense

Turnover %:
21.5 [235] Offense
24.6 [11] Defense

Off. Reb. %:
39.5 [12] Offense
32.7 [179] Defense

42.9 [65] Offense
34.0 [97] Defense

Miscellaneous Components
37.2 [55] Offense
34.0 [167] Defense

55.3 [4] Offense
41.0 [4] Defense

70.3 [131] Offense
69.9 [224] Defense

7.8 [75] Offense
13.9 [15] Defense

9.5 [152] Offense
13.7 [6] Defense

Style Components
31.3 [196] Offense
29.4 [67] Defense

56.7 [91] Offense
51.2 [109] Defense

Defensive Fingerprint:
Mostly Man

Point Distribution (% of total points)
24.8 [231] Offense
26.9 [174] Defense

53.8 [135] Offense
51.9 [169] Defense

Free Throws:
21.4 [151] Offense
21.3 [160] Defense

For those of you not familiar with Ken Pomeroy's calculations, the most enticing numbers that support Murray State as a Cinderella are their Effective Field Goal %, both offensive and defensive, their defensive turnover %, their offensive rebounding % vs. offensive rebounding % allowed, and their 2-pt. % on offense and defense. These numbers suggest that Murray State runs a highly efficient offense and that they LOVE to get second chance points, which would be a mismatch if we decide to let them crash the boards for second chance opportunities.

Ken Pomeroy is supposed to adjust these numbers based on SOS, which is the glaring stat. Admittedly, I became a lawyer to avoid math, and so I won't even begin to figure out how it works. But Murray State sure does pass the complex statistic test, which is the primary reason they look to be a dangerous 13 seed.

Murray State has 5 guys who average 10 points a game and a sixth who averages 9. They have 10 guys who average double figures in minutes, and six who averages over 20 minutes per game. They don't have a whole ton of height, with their tallest player being 6'9", 200 Pound Tony Easley. But they shoot 50% from the field as a team, and they get after the boards.

So there's your quick and dirty on Murray State. What are our advantages? What are our disadvantages?


Steven said...

This Vanderbilt team is so different from past teams, I'm not sure what to expect. Whereas our past two tourney teams relied on a single guy (DB, Shan) to take over and lead us to victory, this team has no "go-to" guy. Beal wants to be, but he hasn't truly been capable of putting the team on his shoulders in most instances, nor should he have to given our depth and breadth of talent. The only reason this team should or could fail is if we collectively don't show up. Coupling VU's lack of drive with outstanding individuals on desperate teams (Downey, Varnado) and you have our disappointing end to the season. Hopefully this team will come out with a fire to win this weekend. If so, I feel good about our chances. Playing physical inside will be key, especially given our size advantage.
While Murray State's numbers seem dangerous, and I do legitimately fear an upset, the most glaring statistic is their strength of schedule. The fact that they have only played 1 team in the top 50 RPI (Cal, from the dubious Pac-10), in the first game of the season, makes it unclear how they will really fare against a talented team from outside the OVC. Here's hoping we don't again embarrass ourselves after receiving the gift of an (arguably) undeserved 4 seed.

Unknown said...

While I also "fear" an upset, I think that we're gonna crush Murray State. That damn Sienna game (which I unfortunately was in attendance for) has tempered so much of our optimism. While 30 wins is impressive, if we played their schedule we'd be 34-0. Maybe I'm looking at our team through incredibly biased lenses, but I just don't see us faltering against MS. This is the type of game where Jeff and Jermaine's superior athleticism is going to be apparent from the opening tip (which we won't win). Especially like our chances because this is where AJ likes to show up. For all the games where he's a no-show, he loves dropping 20 and 10 against inferior big men. I think AJ gets 20, Jermaine 18, and JT 15. If we hit the boards hard, we should get almost everyone.

-Idol sucks

Stanimal said...

Completely agree Steve. Completely agree.

Anything but Gatorade said...

I think Vandy wins this one, but it's going to have to be a game where the focus is defense, defense, defense. All five positions, all forty minutes. There's no one guy to focus on, instead there are five. Murray is a really tough team.

Hopefully this is finally the sort of game and atmosphere that Vanderbilt's edge in talent showcases itself. If the Dores can take good shots and make them, it should be enough.

Unknown said...

If we come to play we should win. AJ really has to put on his big boy shoes. We have to guard the three point line effectively and box out. If we do that should be a double digit win. But these are all "ifs." I am very happy the "experts" are picking us to lose. Very much like 07 when everyone was so high on GW and said they would beat us.

Bobby O'Shea said...

I think the GW comparision is a very apt one

VandyGold28 said...

i think we'll win, but if we played murray state no way we go 34-0. murray lost to wku and actually lost in a much more respectable fashion to them than we did.

Josh said...

I think all the upset talk will get us playing with purpose. When we have focus and energy, we are tough to beat. Ask UT how it feels to be on the receiving end of that kind of game. For that reason and others mentioned here, I think we'll be playing on Saturday.

The question to me is whether we can sustain that and string together a few more wins. Any thoughts on whether we match up better against UTEP or Butler? And what are the chances of the Zags (I'll assume) beating a Syracuse team that's not at full strength? That possibility intruiges me...

Anonymous said...

I still want Murray State to lose, but this is pretty upsetting. My thoughts are with the kid.

Stanimal said...

Very sad news indeed.

RetepAdam said...

Awful to hear about Picasso's mom. As for the game itself, the one thing (aside from the usual talent gap between a major conference 4 seed and a small conference 13) that keeps me optimistic about this game is that we've had an awful lot of close games this year, and for the most part, we've come out on top in them. Even against Georgia, we stormed back late to take the lead. To borrow from ESPN's 30 For 30, I like our chances when it comes to "winning time".

Peter said...

As for the potential second round matchups, I'd rather play Butler than UTEP, to be honest. We can score all day on Butler, but UTEP has the physicality to give AJ fits.

Drubaru said...

Hell no. We do NOT want to see Butler.

Anonymous said...

Murray's SOS is 316...that sucks almost as much as american idol.


Chuck Heston said...

I heard at least 2 analysts describe the Murray St. upset pick as "trendy". The word's being used to caution bracket participants against choosing the Racers.