WSU's Toure MurryThe Shockers did what we expected on Monday. They handled UMKC and didn’t need to sweat after they took a double-digit lead in the first half. Once again, WSU’s depth told the story. Reliable energy guys such as Gabe Blair and Graham Hatch picked things up. Toure Murry played a superb game, offensively and defensively. Garrett Stutz broke out of a slow start with his scoring and scored 11 points. David Kyles scored 12 points and nobody noticed, which is progress for him.
Joe Ragland didn’t play well, especially defensively. That will probably be his issue. He is talented enough to be a good defender. He will get better on offense as he plays more and understands the importance of the little things. It should be no surprise that it will take him time to figure out how to bring it each and every night. It’s and adjustment almost every junior college player goes through. At some point, Ragland will figure it out.
How will point guard play out? I don’ t know. In Maui, it appeared WSU coach Gregg Marshall wanted Ragland to be the guy because of his ability to push the ball. Then Murry comes back with another strong performance. It’s good to have players who can run the point. I don’ t know that there’s any urgency to get something settled. It’s important that Ragland continues to improve, and then we see how the team works best.
While I don’ t the RPI is particularly meaningful this early in the season, it is noteworthy that WSU is No. 18 in Jerry Palm’s collegerpi.com. Virginia’s win over Minnesota (with the Gophers missing two injured starters) is helpful, both from an RPI and a perception standpoint. I was not impressed by Virginia. We will see how their season plays out. For now, the Cavaliers are doing the Shockers a great service.
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Palm’s RPI ranks the MVC No. 8, which is a surprise to me. I was prepared for much worse, given the performance so far this season. Three teams – WSU, MSU, Evansville – are in the top 60. Maybe the MVC’s situation is not as dire as I thought. However, a lot can change in the next month and Valley schools need to pile up some wins.