College Sports

Murray State is mostly just Ja Morant, but that’s enough for them to bust your bracket

Analyzing the economic impact of the NCAA Tournament

The NCAA Tournament is upon us, but the madness of March goes beyond the court. The amount of money the TV industry, its advertisers and fans spend on the tournament are pretty crazy too.
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The NCAA Tournament is upon us, but the madness of March goes beyond the court. The amount of money the TV industry, its advertisers and fans spend on the tournament are pretty crazy too.

By now, you probably know about Ja Morant. He’s sort of the Troy McClure of the Twitter highlight.

“You may remember me from such clips as ‘Dunking Through the Heart of the Entire Belmont Bruins Roster’ or ‘Literally Jumping Over Some Poor Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks Defender.’”

Later this week, you will probably actually watch Morant for the first time when his No. 12-seed Murray State Racers play the No. 5-seed Marquette Golden Eagles in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The matchup is being billed as Morant against Markus Howard, which is probably fair. The All-American point guards are the two leading scorers in the tournament and, because they’re point guards, they have the ball in their hands more than just about any two players in the country.

Morant, however, takes this idea to the extreme. The sophomore, a projected top-five pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, finished eighth in the nation in scoring and led the country with 10.0 assists per game.

For the early part of this season, Morant threatened to join Trae Young as the rare player to lead the country in both points and assists per game.

He has had a 40-point game this year, when he accounted for nearly half Murray State’s points, and he has had an 18-assist game, when he accounted for all but six of the Racers’ helpers.

In his January 40-point game against the SIU Edwardsville Cougars, Morant accounted for 63 of Murray State’s 82 points thanks to 11 assists leading go 23 points.

In theory, this all means the recipe to beating the Racers is obvious: Shut down Morant, shut down Murray State.

The problem?

Morant has proven pretty much impossible to shut down. The guard only failed to score in double figures once this season. He only failed to score 20 six times. His assist total was only in single digits 13 times and he only handed out fewer than seven assists four times.

The nation will finally truly get to see Morant this week. Chances are he won’t disappoint.

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