The most electrifying player in college basketball–not playing in Durham–is Ja Morant. Morant and his Murray State Racers are currently ranked fourth in this week's Mid-Major Rankings, but big tests await.
For those not updated on the day-to-day grind of the college basketball season–or still watching football–Morant's appearance on ESPN last week sent a shockwave throughout the sporting world. The dunk was one of the filthiest highlighted this season. Right up there with anything Duke All-Everything Zion Williamson has thrown down this season.
The truth is Morant has done more than just attack the rim like Russell Westbrook's long lost younger brother. He currently leads the nation in assists (10.6). His 24.3 points per game rank sixth in the country. The analytics support the raw numbers. He's a full 10 points ahead of the next player in assist percentage (55.3). He also leads the country in points produced per game (27.9). Morant is third in Win Shares per 40 Minutes (.321) and sixth in Player Efficiency Rating (33.6).
His game has allowed his draft status to skyrocket. The sophomore started the season as a fringe first-round selection. As of January, Morant is in the top five, if not the top three, right behind Duke's Williamson and R.J. Barrett.
The Racers have followed his lead. Their only two losses have come at the hands of Alabama in Tuscaloosa by 6 (Morant had 38 points, nine rebounds and five assists) and at Auburn 88-93 (25-8-7). Since that lost to Auburn, Murray State has beaten every opponent by double digits. KenPom has them ranked 45th, while also ranking the Kentucky school 33rd in adjusted offensive efficiency.
Whatever the near future holds, Morant will be driving the Racers. A benefit any team would like to have.
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||LAST WEEK||THIS WEEK|
|4||Murray State||15-2||4||BEL, TSU|
|7||Saint Louis||14-4||7||@DUQ, DC|
|8||San Francisco||16-3||8||POR, @USD|
|9||UNC Greensboro||17-3||9||CIT, MER|