Even before the regular season begins, the Murray State men's basketball team got a good measure of how the Ohio Valley Conference season could go.
The Racers faced Bethel in their exhibition match Tuesday, an 82-45 win. OVC opponent UT Martin also played the Wildcats in an exhibition, a 90-71 win.
So. If Martin beat Bethel by 19 points, and the Racers beat Bethel by 37, that means the Racers will beat Martin by 18 points in January.
Wildcat coach Jeff Britt, a Sedalia, Ky., native, had the privilege of comparing the two teams for the small media panel present after the game. He provided a very diplomatic analysis.
"I think with Murray, overall, much better defensive team, than UTM. I think probably a little bigger inside. I think they're a little crisper on the offensive side of it, to compare the two. I think they're both two good basketball teams, I think you're going to see them battling for your top two or three spots in the conference, maybe both for then No. 1 spot. They both got depth and good size, and both blessed with some good quickness. I'm going to give Martin just a tad bit of edge on the shooters I think Murray's probably got one or two guys that can shoot. I think Martin's got several that can shoot."
The OVC picked the Racers to finish first in the league, but other publications and outlets predicted UT Martin right up there with them, sometimes picked as high as first.
Britt said the Racers obviously put in a lot of time on the defensive end of the ball. Compared to last season, the Racers seemed to have more of a sense of a mission, Britt said, as if they were trying to achieve a conference championship.
"It appears they know they're batter and it appears they're confident in their play and they feel like they can win the regular season and the conference."
Jan. 5, 2009 and Jan. 31. That's when you can find out how well Britt pegged the two teams.