The Murray State Racers (30-2) will take on the San Francisco Dons (24-9) in a Thursday game in the West Regional in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Gainsbridge Fieldhouse. Tip time is set for 8:40 p.m. CDT.
The Racers and Dons have met just one time, a 70-67 Racer win in the semifinals of the 2011 Great Alaskan Shootout. San Francisco finished its regular season with a record of 24-9 and a 10-6 mark in West Coast Conference play. The Dons finished fourth in the WCC and advanced to the WCC tournament semifinals. San Francisco will enter the NCAA tournament with five NET Top 100 wins and with eight of its nine losses coming to NET Top 100 teams, including a combined five to No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 19 St. Mary’s (CA).
Head coach Todd Golden’s squad is making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1997-98. This year’s Dons have been led by the trio of Khalil Shabazz, Jamaree Bouyea and Yauhen Massalski with Bouyea averaging a team-high 16.7 points per game. Shabazz follows Bouyea with 14.0 points, while Massalski averages 13.5 to go along with a team best 9.4 rebounds per game.
The regular season and tournament champion from the Ohio Valley Conference, the Racers were the first team to go undefeated in an 18-game league schedule. MSU was No. 19 last week in the Associated Press and USA Today Top-25 as this season marks just the second time in the last 41 years that MSU has been ranked for more than one week. Additionally, the Racers current win streak of 20 in a row is the second-longest in NCAA D-I with South Dakota State and the Racers have the most wins of any team in the nation with 30 along with Arizona and South Dakota State.
When the Racers get to Indianapolis, they will be looking for their fifth all-time win in the NCAA Tournament and the second under Coach Matt McMahon, who has the Racers in the NCAAs for a third time in the last five seasons. McMahon’s Racers defeated Marquette in the first round of the 2019 NCAA. MSU’s first win came in 1988 and it was 22 years later when Danero Thomas hit “The Shot” in 2010 that defeated Vanderbilt. Under rookie coach Steve Prohm, the Racers defeated Colorado State in 2012. McMahon was on Prohm’s staff and was promoted to head coach in 2015 when Prohm left to coach at Iowa State.
Murray State is a three point underdog according to the Massey Ratings, which predicts a 72-69 San Francisco victory. If the Racers win, and Kentucky wins their first round game against St. Peter's, the two teams would play each other for the first time in history on Saturday.