Team preview: Murray State

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Billy Kennedy, it seemed, had walked into a gold mine. Less than a year removed from building Southeastern Louisiana from perennial doormat to champions of the Southland Conference, he was given the task of sustaining Murray State's dominance of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Kennedy, plucked from Frank Haith's staff at Miami, inherited a talented club with three returning starters, including a pair of first-team All-OVC selections and a key reserve who blossomed into an offensive force late last season -- all this from a team that went 24-7 and came within a minute of upsetting North Carolina in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before losing coach Mick Cronin to Cincinnati.

If preparing for this season had only been so easy.

As spring unfolded, it was apparent that the reloading job was more along the lines of rebuilding, Two of the three returning regulars soon departed -- swingman Justin Orr (8.9 ppg, 3.2rpg) transferred to Ohio University and guard Trey Pearson (10.3 ppg, 2.8 apg) was dismissed from the team because of some off-court issues. A couple of reserves were let go, and two well regarded recruits asked to be released from their letters-of-intent.