Murray State showed that they're the most exciting team to watch in the NCAA Tournament today, but still fell against fifth-seeded Butler, 54-52. Unlike Thursday, the Racers shrunk in the final two minutes, going scoreless from the field and botching a last-shot opportunity. Whatever play Billy Kennedy had called in the team's final time out went to hell once Butler turned up a little defensive pressure. Murray State failed to get a shot off with the turnover, leading every Vanderbilt fan watching the game to ask "Seriously?"
Though the Racers earned a bunch of respect, their loss and overall inability to score against a less athletic Butler squad is another negative argument against the Commodores. Murray State showed that their rebounding was for real, pulling down 18 more boards than the Bulldogs, but sloppy play doomed the potential Cinderella. Butler shot just 36% from the field and grabbed only 20 rebounds and was still able to beat western Kentucky's finest programs in a slow paced game marred by MSU turnovers. Still, the Racers showed some guts hanging with a tough Bulldog team, and proved they would have belonged in the tournament even without an automatic bid.
In the end, the Bulldogs moved on to the Sweet Sixteen, and - thanks to Murray State - the world was deprived of a Matt Howard/A.J. Ogilvy white-out in the paint. My heart goes out to the MSU fans on the hard loss. It looks like we'll just have to live vicariously through Butler for the next few rounds.