Preview: WKU vs. Murray State

WKU (3-3) heads to in-state rival Murray State (4-4) on Saturday, tipoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT.

Western Kentucky heads to in-state rival Murray State (4-4) on Saturday night, with tipoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT.

Read our full preview below for details on the matchup.


TV: American Sports Network. Click HERE for network clearances/listings.

Radio: Hilltopper IMG Sports Network. Click HERE for network listings.


Vegas line: The Racers opened as 6.5 point favorites, with the line being bet down to 4.5 as of Friday night.

Kenpom model: Murray State is ranked No. 130 nationally on Kenpom.com, while WKU is No. 137 overall. Kenpom’s system likes the Racers by 4, giving the Toppers only a 33 percent chance to win.


Opponent roster highlights: Murray State returns four starters from last year's 23-11 team, and was picked by coaches preseason to win the Ohio Valley Conference. Sophomore guard Cameron Payne and senior forward Jarvis Williams are their go-to players. Payne (17.0 ppg) takes 33 percent of the Racers' shots when he's in the game, one of the higher individual rates in Division 1, also contributing 4.6 assists and 3.1 steals a game. Williams (14.6 ppg) takes fewer shots than Payne, but is more efficient from the field.

As a team, Murray ranks No. 115 nationally on the offensive end, No. 158 on defense. They're top 90 nationally in both offensive and defensive turnover rate, so they take pretty good care of the ball and force a pretty good amount of turnovers. That doesn't bode well for WKU, who's struggled mightily with turnovers this year. However, Murray is horrible at defending the glass, allowing opponents to earn offensive rebounds on 42 percent of their misses--only 9 Division 1 teams protect the glass worse.

If WKU can just keep pace in turnovers with Murray, then they've got a great shot in this one. If the turnover margin largely favors the Racers though, WKU will have to dominate the boards to be competitive.


Game Notes: WKU--LINK.

Murray State--LINK.


Stat of the match: WKU has only once in their last 7 trips to Murray, dating back to 1997. The sole win came on Dec. 4, 2004, an 82-72 win.


WKU Insider Top Stories