The Murray State Racers were thought to be as mortal of a lock as you can be to make the big dance playing in a small conference. That was mostly due to their star player being, well, a star. It wasn’t like Isaiah Canaan didn’t live up to the star billing either. It is just that sometimes, especially in a small conference, winning the conference tournament is the only way to get your NCAA Tournament ticket punched.
Unfortunately, it seems like them losing to the Belmont Bruins in the OVC Tournament Finals was a deathblow to their at-large NCAA Tournament chances. Not that the Racers didn’t play their hearts out or make the game interesting into the final moments, but the loss — coupled with a weak schedule — has likely done them no favors.
Has the bubble burst, probably. Murray State should still be getting an invite to participate in the NIT. The only chances the Racers have at getting an at-large birth is that all the bubble teams that are still battling it out, play so humorously horrible in their final games that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has no choice but to give them a second look. However, Murray State would need a slew of bubble teams to collapse, and even in this wild season that we have had, is very unlikely.
There is no shame in the season Murray State had. Regardless of the expectations that we put on them, the Racers did everything they could have to live up to them. Playing in a solid, but not spectacular, OVC and still getting a shot for postseason glory in the NIT is nothing to be balked at.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone