NCAA Basketball Tournament - Murray State v Marquette

VIDEO: Why Murray, KY, is everything that’s great about college hoops

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Murray, KY, is college basketball.

A town of around 18,000 in the southwestern part of the state — Murray is just north of the Tennessee border and closer to Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas than it is Louisville or Lexington — Murray is obsessed with their Murray State Racers.

Think about it like this: the town has 18,000 people, the school had about 10,000 undergraduate and grad students, and their basketball arena routinely fills to its 8,602 seat capacity on home games. On any given night, about 30% of the folks with a Murray, KY, address will be in the stands for a game. Think about that.

Mark Gottfried, Mick Cronin and Billy Kennedy all saw their careers launch in Murray, and Steve Prohm will join that list shortly, but the proud tradition of the Racers consists of 15 NCAA tournament appearances. They are thrilled just to be in the dance, and a season becomes historic when they win a game in the big dance.

This is mid-major basketball through-and-through. This isn’t Duke or North Carolina or Big Blue Nation. If it wasn’t for Isaiah Canaan and last year’s run at a perfect season, even fewer people would even know that Murray State was a program that existed. This is a small, but proud, program with a town behind them that bleeds navy blue and gold.

And thanks to the sleuthing of Matt Norlander, here’s a video that perfectly encapsulates just what the basketball team means to Murray, KY:

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.