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Murray State Racers vs. Southern Illinois Salukis - 12/17/13

Southern Illinois Salukis (2-7) at Murray State Racers (4-5)

College Basketball: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm (CFSB Center)

The Line: Murray State Racers -3.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

TV: None

The Murray State Racers battle at home against the SIU Salukis at the CFSB Center in Murray, Kentucky.

The Racers are starting to pick up the pace with 2 consecutive wins – the first being a nailbiter vs. Evansville from the Missouri Valley. Murray St. welcomes Clemson transfer TJ Sapp, who has become eligible to play and should give the defense a boost in the backcourt.

Murray State Racers vs. Southern Illinois Salukis - 12/17/13

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile the Salukis are under 2nd year head coach Barry Hinson – who previously coached another Valley member Missouri State and had some strong teams. He is trying to build his Salukis into a formidable threat in the Valley once again, but depth is thin as they rely heavily on 3 guards for the bulk of offensive production. Senior guard Desmar Jackson is an All-Valley player who averages 20.3 ppg, while the sophomore tandem of Anthony Beane and Jalen Pendleton are developing nicely. Very little scoring can be found elsewhere.

Neither team excels in long-distance shooting, but Murray State has the better field goal percentage and Jarvice Williams can score (12.8 ppg) and board (11.3 per game). Cameron Payne (13.2 ppg) has been the leading scorer among all freshmen in the Ohio Valley conference all season. They have 4 starters who average between 11 and 14 points, which is a nice luxury, but also have some role guys who can pick up the slack.

Most of the Racers problems come on the charity stripe, hitting at an abysmal rate of 60.5%. This is a big disadvantage that keeps the other team in tighter games than desired and has resulted in close losses on the road.

Murray State has compiled an astonishing record of 186-33 in home games at the CFSB Center, and I look for them to race to another victory in this one. Since they struggle mightily from the free throw line though, I am hesitant to lay the points, but I will, as they should take care of business against one of the weakest Valley teams.

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