Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dear NCAA Selection Committee: Murray State Should Be In

Dear NCAA Selection Committee:

I would like to briefly introduce myself, then fully endorse the Murray State Racers for the a spot in the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament.

My name is Anthony Wireman and I am the owner of, a basketball website that focuses on exactly what the domain name suggests...all Kentucky hoops. The primary objective is Kentucky, but the site's reach extends throughout the nation and even around the globe.

I can send you a detailed list of well-respected coaches, players and administrators who will vouch for my credibility, if needed.

This season alone, I have personally watched (as a credentialed member of the media) numerous Division I basketball teams in action. In this week's AP Top 25, I have observed No. 1 Kentucky, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 14 Louisville, No. 19 North Carolina, RV Providence, RV Ohio State, RV Valparaiso and RV Purdue (practice only).

In addition, I have also checked out UCLA, South Carolina, Florida, Auburn, Cincinnati, Missouri and Tennessee.

Lastly, I have been in attendance for numerous mid-major and low-major teams. I won't name them all but I will note a few including the aforementioned Valpo: Drake, Portland, Morehead State, Northern Kentucky, Buffalo, Grand Canyon, Boston, Eastern Kentucky, Belmont, Columbia and Marshall.

I mention these teams not in a bragging manner, but only as a way of illustrating that I am blessed to observe many college basketball games. I also have a firm understanding, based on 32 years around the game, of what I am watching.

That brings me to the real reason I am constructing this letter...I feel the Murray State Racers deserve a spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

I was in Nashville last weekend for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. I sat courtside and watched Murray State lose a heartbreaking battle to the Belmont Bruins in the league's championship game.

Before I even exited the arena Saturday night, the national pundits were already dismissing the Racers as an NCAA Tournament team. The general consensus...Murray State "has no quality wins" or "who have they beaten?"

I will be the first to admit that Murray State's resume lacks a top 50 win, their schedule isn't the best in the country and they obviously lost to a Belmont team that was supposed to be a year or two away from being back in the NCAA Tournament.

That being said, I firmly believe that the Racers have earned a spot in the Dance and here are several reasons why:

- Murray State is 27-5 this season. Let's face it, 27 wins is a big number. But, they have 5 losses, right?

- The Racers had a 25-game winning streak and won 25 of their last 26 games. Yes, Murray State lost 5 games this season but they also started 2-4 before everyone adapted and landed on the same page. But, the winning streak came against weak opposition, right?

- It's difficult to play a top 100 schedule when top 100 teams feel they don't benefit from playing a team like Murray State. Head coach Steve Prohm has publicly stated that teams simply refuse to play the Racers. There's a reason for that...and it's not always money-related. But, they're in the "lowly" OVC, right?

- Let me remind you that the OVC has been playing pretty well in the big tournament. Eastern Kentucky took No. 2-seeded Kansas to the wire last season before falling short. In 2012, Murray State knocked off Colorado State. Remember that one time when Morehead State played Louisville? But, this isn't THAT Murray State team is it?

- This Murray State is very comparable to the 2012 team. That team was 31-1 and finished 15-1 in the OVC. Speaking of the OVC, the Racers went 16-0 in the league this season. But, that team had Isaiah Canaan, right?

- Murray State THIS season has a legitimate pro prospect in Cameron Payne. After Friday's OVC semifinal game, Morehead State head coach Sean Woods plainly stated, "we'll be watching that kid on TNT in a few years." Coach Woods knows a thing or two about high-level point guards. Cameron Payne is a stud and would be a great addition to the NCAA Tournament. But, the great stud NBA prospect lost to Belmont, right?

- Newsflash: Belmont would have beaten a great many good teams Saturday night in Nashville. The Bruins drained 15 3-pointers, including a desperation shot clock buzzer beater, a bank shot from 25-feet and another 25-footer just moments later to seal the deal. Even after that incredible shooting display and everything Rick Byrd had to offer (many people fail to realize that Rick Byrd is one of the absolute best coaches in college basketball), the Racers only lost by one point. But, they just don't have an NCAA Tournament resume, right?

- My final point is simple but important. The so-called tournament resume isn't everything, or at least it shouldn't be. It's true that the Racers were beaten soundly by potential tourney teams Xavier and Valpo. I watched Murray State four times this season, including the thumping by Valpo on a neutral court. The team I watched in November was not the same team I watched in January, February and March. The Racers went to another NCAA Tournament level.

- BONUS: Murray State fans will follow the team. If you reward them with a spot in the tournament, Racer Nation will fill the arena.

In closing, I own, I watch an insane amount of basketball each season and I fully understand what I am watching.

Last Saturday night in Nashville...I didn't watch the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats, but I did see two NCAA Tournament teams play a high-level college basketball game. Murray State and Belmont both deserve a place in the Dance.


Anthony Wireman, Owner

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Anthony. Something else to remember is since the First Four began, the following teams were selected with similar numbers to Murray State:

2013-Middle Tennessee State
2014-North Carolina State

I think Murray State at worst deserves a spot in the First Four. I hope they get it. Besides, its not like Belmont was some fluke team..they've been an excellent program at the Mid Major level.

Blog Archive