I’d like to welcome y’all to The Murray State Show


On Thursday night, Murray State overcame a double-digit deficit at home to knock of Southeast Missouri State 81-73, keeping their record unblemished and the dream of a perfect season alive.

But having to overcome a double-digit deficit against a team like Southeast Missouri State isn’t exactly the way to prove to the country that an unblemished record is anything more than happenstance. Murray State plays in the Ohio Valley, a league that isn’t exactly known for one-and-done freshmen and fielding Final Four favorites. Murray State’s three marquee wins this season? The two teams — Southern Miss and Memphis — currently battling for the regular season title in what may end up being a one-bid Conference USA and the Dayton Flyers, whose season has been more of a roller coaster ride than a night out with Lindsey Lohan.

As of today — Friday, Feb. 3rd — Murray State is sitting 10th in the AP top 25 poll. If the season ended today, the Racers would probably be looking at a five seed, give or take a seed line, in the NCAA Tournament.

I think we can all agree that the Racers aren’t one of the top 10 teams in the country. We can also probably agree on the fact that whichever 12 seed draws the Racers in the first round will be looking at a pretty favorable matchup.

In simpler terms, Murray State is overrated, and you probably won’t find many people that will argue that fact.

But that’s not the point.

Let me ask you this question: in the last five years, how many regular season Ohio Valley games have you watched? I’m not talking about the five conference championship games that have been broadcast on ESPN in that time frame or the seven games NCAA Tournament games — including wins by Murray State and Morehead State in 2009 and 2011, respectively — a league member has participated in.

I’m talking regular season conference games.

You’re number probably isn’t that high even if you are a college basketball junky.

But on Thursday night, everyone was tuned into what turned out to be a fantastic game between the Racers and the Redhawks. Everyone got a chance to see the Racers make a tremendous second half run, sparked by a flurry of deep threes from aptly named star guard Isaiah Canaan. Literally, everyone.

Yahoo’s lead college hoops scribe Pat Forde was tuned in. He tweeted “Isaiah Canaan is a bad man.” ESPN’s Dana O’Neil was watching, as she tweeted “Anyone still doubting talent of Murray St., please watch Isaiah Canaan right now and correct your opinion.” Jeff Goodman of CBSSports said “Isaiah Canaan owned this game when it mattered. Love this kid more and more every time I see him.” Seth Davis of SI.com was the most prolific Murray State tweeter, reeling off 14 Murray State related tweets during the game.

To get an idea of the kind of national attention Murray State commanded, think about this: their game was played at 8:00 pm, which happened to overlap the end of Duke’s trip to Virginia Tech and the start of a Pac-12 battle between UCLA and Washington and Florida hosting South Carolina. Care to venture how many times those four scribes commented on those three games?


And that right there is why this Murray State team and their run towards an undefeated regular season matters.

How good they are is irrelevant. Whether or not they are ranked too high or will end up overseeded on Selection Sunday is besides the point. Focusing on what’s wrong with this team completely ignores the fact that this group is everything that’s right about college basketball.

One day, if he’s lucky, Canaan may have a shot at making an NBA roster. Maybe. The rest of these guys will be lucky if they are able to carve out a career for themselves in a professional league in some obscure country in Europe. This team isn’t about draft standing. These aren’t McDonald’s all-americans that have spent the entirety of their adolescence under the microscope of talent evaluators nation wide.

This is a group of kids living out a dream season in front of our eyes.

Every time Murray State steps on the floor they will be playing a team in their biggest game of the season. They are going to get every opponent’s best shot. Win and you will be all over Sportscenter and written about on every college basketball outlet in the country. We saw that on Thursday as the Redhawks played one heckuva of a basketball game.

But Murray State, and the Canaan show, was simply too much. And you know what? It was great to watch. It was fun. Its what being a fan is all about.

Instead of complaining about what Murray State isn’t, we all need to sit back and appreciate what this team is.

An incredible story, one that is going to be must-see TV for the rest of the season.

Save your complaints for Selection Sunday, the only day they will actually matter. Until then, do like the rest of us — sit back and enjoy the show. Who knows when we will ever see one like it again.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Texas’ Arterio Morris plays amid misdemeanor domestic violence case

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AUSTIN, Texas — In a season when Texas fired coach Chris Beard after a felony domestic violence arrest, it has allowed a reserve guard to keep playing while he awaits trial on a misdemeanor charge of assaulting an ex-girlfriend.

Second-seed Texas has advanced under interim coach Rodney Terry to the program’s first Sweet 16 since 2008, and the Longhorns play No. 3 Xavier in Kansas City, Missouri.

Arterio Morris, a freshman who was one of the top recruits in the country last year, was initially scheduled to stand trial March 29, three days before Final Four weekend. Denton County prosecutors were granted a delay to an unspecified date.

Beard was fired Jan. 5, about three weeks after he was arrested on suspicion of a felony charge of choking his fiancée in a fight during which she also told police he bit, and hit her. She later recanted the choking allegation and the Travis County district attorney dismissed the case, saying prosecutors were following her wishes not to got to trial and that the charge could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Morris is charged with Class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury to a family member, which in Texas includes dating relationships. It stems from a June 2022 confrontation in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. The charge carries penalties ranging from probation and fines to up to a year in jail if convicted.

Morris’ attorney, Justin Moore, said the charges against Beard and the player are different.

“(Beard) was charged with a felony family assault,” Moore said. “That was far more serious as to what Arterio was alleged to have to committed. We maintain Arterio’s innocence.”

According to police, the ex-girlfriend said Morris grabbed her arm and pulled her off a bed, and later pulled the front of her sports bra, causing an injury to her neck and shoulder area. Police reported seeing a sizable bruise or scratch.

Texas officials declined comment. Beard said before the season that school officials he would not identify determined the freshman could play this season.

Moore defended Texas officials’ decision to not suspend Morris.

“I do believe Texas has taken this seriously. They’ve also allowed Arterio to enjoy his due process rights,” Moore said.

Morris has played in all 36 games this season, although his minutes and have been limited on a senior-dominated team. He averages nearly 12 minutes and 4.7 points per game. His biggest moment was a soaring alley-oop dunk against Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament championship game.

Attempts to reach Morris’ ex-girlfriend through family members were not successful. According to online records, prosecutors sought the trial delay to “procure witness availability.” Prosecutor Jamie Beck did not immediately return messages.

Wichita State hires ORU’s Paul Mills to lead program

Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Wichita State hired Paul Mills away from Oral Roberts to turn around its languishing program, landing what has been one of the hottest names among mid-major coaches.

The 50-year-old Mills led the the Golden Eagles to two of the past three NCAA Tournaments, engineering upsets of Ohio State and Florida as a No. 15 seed in 2021 before going 30-5 this past season and losing to Duke as a No. 5 seed.

He replaces Isaac Brown, who was fired after three seasons as the Shockers slowly slipped toward mediocrity.

“My family and I are extremely excited about being a part of Wichita State,” said Mills, who will be introduced during a news conference at Charles Koch Arena. “The rich history, winning tradition and unbelievable community support will keep us working on behalf of the greatest fans in all of college basketball.”

Mills got his break in coaching when he joined Scott Drew’s first staff at Baylor in 2003, working alongside future Kansas State coach Jerome Tang in helping to turn around a program that had been mired in controversy. Mills stayed for 14 years, helping to reach seven NCAA Tournaments, before replacing Scott Sutton at Oral Roberts before the 2017 season.

Mills went just 11-21 each of his first two seasons in Tulsa, but the seeds of a turnaround had been planted, and the Golden Eagles have not had a losing season since. The biggest step came two years ago, when Mills led Oral Roberts to the Sweet 16 of an NCAA Tournament played entirely within an Indianapolis “bubble environment” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Golden Eagles slipped to 19-12 the following year before winning 30 games and the Summit League title this past season, when they were led by high-scoring guard Max Abmas, an honorable mention All-American selection.

“Paul Mills’ heart for people, passion for life and approach to the development of young people and programs is energizing,” Wichita State athletic director Kevin Saal said in a statement. “He aligns with Shocker Athletics’ core values, facilitates a first-class student-athlete experience and fuels broad-based competitive excellence.”

The hiring of Mills comes as the Shockers try to position themselves at the forefront of a new-look American Athletic Conference. Perennial powerhouse Houston is joining Central Florida and Cincinnati in leaving for the Big 12 after this season, and six new schools are due to arrive from Conference USA for the start of next season.

Wichita State, a power under Ralph Miller and Gene Smithson in the 1960s, returned to prominence when Mark Turgeon took over in 2000. But it was under Gregg Marshall, who resigned in November 2020 amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse of players, that it began to soar. The Shockers advanced to the Final Four in 2013, finished the regular season unbeaten the following year and at one point went to seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Brown, who was Marshall’s top recruiter, led them back to the NCAA Tournament in his first year. But the Shockers were just 15-13 last year and 17-15 this past season, leading Saal to decide that a coaching change was necessary.

Turns out the answer Saal was looking for was just a few hours south at Oral Roberts.

Arizona State extends Bobby Hurley through 2025-26 season

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State agreed to a contract extension with head coach Bobby Hurley that runs through the 2025-26 season.

The deal announced on Tuesday is subject to approval by the Arizona Board of Regents. Hurley’s previous contract was set to expire after next season.

“Coach Hurley has made our program relevant nationally with many significant wins and an exciting style, along with a firm commitment to the academic success of our student-athletes,” Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement. “He has made it clear to us that he wants to be here and we have done likewise with him. We share a strong confidence in the present and future state of Sun Devil men’s basketball.”

Hurley led the Sun Devils to 23 wins this season and their third trip to the NCAA Tournament the last five times it has been played. Arizona State beat Nevada in the First Four before losing to Texas Christian on a last-second shot last Friday.

The Sun Devils have won at least 20 games four of the past six seasons. They are 141-113 in eight seasons under Hurley.

Mark Campbell new TCU women’s coach after taking Sacramento State to NCAA

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

FORT WORTH, Texas – Mark Campbell was hired as TCU’s women’s basketball coach after the former Oregon assistant took Sacramento State to its first NCAA Tournament in an impressive and quick turnaround.

Sacramento State was coming off a 3-22 season when Campbell was hired two years ago. The Hornets won 14 games in Campbell’s first season, and then made another 11-win improvement this season while finishing 25-8 with Big Sky regular-season and tournament championships.

During his seven seasons on Oregon’s staff before that, the Ducks had some of the nation’s top recruiting classes. That included Campbell recruiting Sabrina Ionescu, who became the AP player of the year in 2020 before she was the first overall pick in the WNBA draft.

Campbell replaces Raegan Pebley, who stepped down after nine seasons as TCU’s coach with a 141-138 record. The Horned Frogs were 8-23 this season, including 1-17 in Big 12 play during the regular season.

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati described Campbell as an elite recruiter and program builder.

“Similar to his success at Sacramento State, he was instrumental in Oregon quickly becoming one of the nation’s most successful programs, reaching their first NCAA Elite Eight and then Final Four,” Donati said.

The Frogs haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2010. That was their ninth NCAA appearance, all coming in a 10-season span without making it past the second round.

Boston College extends Earl Grant through 2028-29 season

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BOSTON – Boston College coach Earl Grant has agreed to a two-year extension that will keep him under contract through the 2028-29 season.

Grant took over as Eagles coach prior to the 2021-22 season and finished 13-20. Boston College went 16-17 this past season, but it had three wins over nationally ranked teams for the first time in 14 years.

“My family and I have enjoyed being a part of this amazing community,” Grant said in a statement. “Boston is a great city and we are glad to call it our home. I am thankful for the efforts of my staff to help move the program forward.”

The Eagles finished 9-11 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, their most wins in the league play since 2010-11. Quinten Post also became the first Boston College player to be named Most Improved Player.

In announcing the extension, athletic director Blake James expressed optimism about the direction of the program.

“Earl has done an outstanding job leading our men’s basketball program over the last two seasons and we are looking forward to him doing so for many years to come,” James said.