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The Murray State News

Basketball looks to take MVC crown

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Jakob Milani
The Racers’ starting lineup prepares to be announced before the game.

As basketball season runs on, Murray State’s men’s team is preparing for the tough gauntlet that is Missouri Valley basketball.

After a seventh-place finish in the regular season and a quarter-final exit in the MVC tournament last season, the Racers have regrouped and added new faces in an attempt to climb the ranks and finish with a better placing this year.

Head Coach Steve Prohm said during one of the Racers’ practices that The Valley is tougher than expected, but the team is better prepared this year.

“It’s tough, physical, grimey,” Prohm said. “It’s well-coached, and there are really good players. But it was good for us to go through it. We’ve played Valley teams here for a very long time… but it’s different when you play a 20-game league schedule… There’s great venues and great places all around the league. I’m just excited for year two and the challenges ahead.”

After kicking the season off against last year’s runner-up, the Bradley Braves, the Racers head to Normal, Illinois, to take on the Illinois State Redbirds on Sunday, Dec. 3. The Redbirds finished ninth in the regular season and were eliminated in the first round last season.

The Racers take a six-game break from MVC play before picking back up on Tuesday, Jan. 2, when they host the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames. They finished 11th in the regular season and were bounced in the first round.

The Racers then travel to take on the Purple Aces of Evansville on Saturday, Jan. 6. Evansville came in last in the Valley last year and lost in the first round of the MVC Tournament.

Missouri State hosts Murray State on Wednesday, Jan. 10, for the first time in the season. The Bears were the sixth-best team in the Valley last year and eliminated UIC in the first round before losing in the quarterfinals.

Murray State returns to the CFSB Center on Saturday, Jan. 14, when they will host the Northern Iowa Panthers. UNI finished eighth in the conference last season and eliminated Illinois State in the first round before losing to Bradley in the quarterfinals.

After a trip to Chicago to play UIC on Wednesday, Jan. 17, the Racers return home to host the Indiana State Sycamores on Sunday, Jan. 21. The Sycamores were fifth in league play last year and lost in the semifinals to Bradley.

The Racers travel north to play Bradley on Wednesday, Jan. 24, then host the Salukis of Southern Illinois on Saturday, Jan. 27. The Salukis were the third-best team in conference play last season and lost to Drake in the semifinals of the MVC Tournament. 

This will also mark the first game between the Racers and the Salukis since the brawl in Carbondale following a matchup between the two teams last season.

Tuesday, Jan. 30, is Greek Night in the CFSB Center as the Racers host Illinois State. Murray State then travels to Northern Iowa to play the Panthers on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Wednesday, Feb. 7, marks the first matchup between Belmont and Murray State this season. The old foes are both in their second seasons in the MVC. The Bruins were upset by Indiana State in the quarterfinals after finishing the regular season in fourth place,

Murray State plays back-to-back home games, hosting Evansville on Saturday, Feb. 10, and Missouri State on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The Racers then head north to take on the defending MVC champions, the Drake Bulldogs. Drake finished second in the regular season last year and defeated SIU to make the championship, where they defeated Bradley to make the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs host the Racers on Sunday, Feb. 18. It’s the only time the two teams play this season.

Wednesday, Feb. 21, marks the Racers return to Carbondale to take on the Salukis. Murray State then hosts the Valparaiso Beacons on Saturday, Feb. 24. The Racers defeated the Beacons in the first round of the playoffs last season. This game will be the only time the two teams will play this season.

After hosting Belmont during Senior Night on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Racers finish their season in Terre Haute, Indiana, where they play Indiana State on Sunday, March 3.

The season ends in St. Louis, Missouri, home of the MVC Tournament, better known to fans as “Arch Madness.” The tournament starts on Thursday, March 7, and will conclude on Sunday, March 10, with the winner punching their ticket to March Madness.

It’s Murray State’s second season in The Valley, and with many roster changes and coaching changes across the conference, the Racers are looking to make a run for their first MVC Championship.

 

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About the Contributor
Jakob Milani, Sports Editor
Jakob Milani is all about sports. He joined the staff of The Murray State News in 2020 as a sports writer, assigned to women's basketball, and by fall 2021 was named Sports Editor. He is a dedicated lover of all things Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears related, and loves to talk about all things sports. He is a co-host of "The Iron Grid" podcast with fellow sports writer Ronan Summers, and only ever watches ESPN in his down time. Aside from sports, Jakob also has a passion for music and baking. His favorite artists include Nirvana, Travis Scott, and Queen. His favorite item to bake is cheesecake.

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