When No. 9 Murray State fell at the hands of Ohio Valley Conference foe Tennessee State Thursday, the resulting effect was more than just the Racers first entry into the loss column and the end of their perfect season hopes.
Murray State's future seeding in the 2012 NCAA Tournament took a huge hit as well.
Coach Steve Prohm was on record saying that even if Murray State ran the table and won the OVC Tournament, his Racers were likely no better than a No. 4 seed in the tournament.
Murray State has made it's way all the way to a No. 9 AP ranking as the last unbeaten Division I team. But with a strength of schedule at 291, the lack of quality opponents may mean that when the tournament's Selection Committee may drop the Racers down considerably.
I've seen bracketologists drop Murray State to as low as a No. 8 seed on Friday to as high as a No. 5 seed. But this drop isn't Murray State's only worry.
The Racers still have to host No. 16 St. Mary's on Feb. 18. St. Mary's just lost on Thursday by 14 points to Gonzaga and will be in a back-against-the-wall situation as well in regard to tournament seeding.
What used to be a game circled to see if Murray State could hold off a ranked opponent and stay perfect on the season is now a fight for the Racers tournament seeding life.
News from Around the South:
Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost is the career assists leader for the Bulldogs but may be getting sloppy when it comes to heaving the ball up for MSU big man Arnett Moultrie, said David Brandt of the Associated Press. Bost was playing with the media in his compliment to Moultrie, who Bost said could just grab everything thrown at him.
When Kentucky and Vanderbilt meet Saturday in Nashville, Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald-Leader thinks one of the key matchups will be between big men Anthony Davis and Festus Ezeli. Seeing as how Davis might be the best college basketball player on the planet, this matchup being a key to the game does not bode well for Vanderbilt.
Mike Griffith, of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, has a good piece up on Tennessee's Sklar McBee and his transformation from walk-on to bench player to recent starter whose teammates hope he'll shoot the ball every time he touches it.
CSS Game Balls
Robert Covington, Tennessee State - Covington hit a 3-pointer with four minutes to go to put Tennessee State ahead for good Thursday night and end Murray State's perfect season. Covington led the Tigers with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State - Moultrie amazed the Bulldog crowd with four big dunks Thursday night and scored 18 points to lead Mississippi State to some revenge over in-state rival Ole Miss. Moultrie also grabbed nine rebounds.
LaRon Dendy, Middle Tennessee State - Dendy scored a season-high 26 points Thursday and pulled down a season-high 14 rebounds against rival Western Kentucky. MTSU pulled away late to win eight.
Omar Wattad, UT-Chattanooga - Wattad scored 22 points and teammate Ricky Taylor scored 24 to help the Mocs come from behind to beat Elon Thursday. Wattad gets the game ball instead of Taylor because Wattad also grabbed eight boards.
Trevis Simpson, UNC-Greensboro - Simpson registered his fifth-straight 20-plus point game Thursday when he scored 25 at Samford. Simpson also grabbed seven rebounds.
"Well, after what they did to Florida, I cant really tell you. Somebody kind of threw in a prayer, if you will, to beat them and give them their only loss of the season, so they must be pretty doggone good." Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings on what the Commodores need to do to beat Kentucky on Saturday.
What to Watch Friday
Mercer (19-7,11-2 A-Sun) at Kennesaw State (3-22, 0-13 A-Sun) - These teams are nowhere close in the Atlantic Sun standings but it's a big rivalry game which could add an electric vibe on Friday. Mercer has to avoid any missteps if it wants to keep pace with Belmont at the top of the conference standings. Tip off is at 7 p.m. ET and the game will be on CSS.