Getting to know the Racers and the Shockers: Details about Murray State, Wichita State

Photo shows the Murray State University campus. (Murray State University)

With Racers and Shockers as nicknames, Murray State and Wichita State universities are a bit of a mystery to many fans in the Mountain State.

On Friday, West Virginia University squares off against the Murray State Racers, and Marshall faces the Wichita State Shockers in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Other than nicknames that have been making headlines, what do fans know about the schools? Here is some information that will help fill in some of those blanks.

Founded in 1922, Murray State is a four-year, public supported university with an enrollment of about 10,000 students, according to the school’s website. It offers 63 bachelor’s programs, 43 master’s and specialist programs and three doctoral programs.

But where is Murray State? The university is located in western Kentucky in the town of Murray, about a 30-minute drive from Paducah. Murray State is a 597-mile drive from Morgantown.

The Racers, 26-5, play in the Ohio Valley Conference along with Belmont, Jacksonville State, Tennessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State, Tennessee State, Austin Peay, Tennessee-Martin, Southeast Missouri State, Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).

Murray State defeated Belmont to win the OVC and landed the automatic NCAA spot. The Racers have appeared in the NCAA tournament 15 times, according to ESPN.

When its team takes the floor against the Mountaineers, what colors will Murray State be sporting? The school’s colors are navy blue and gold with white accent.

Meanwhile, Marshall’s opponent, Wichita State, was founded in 1895 in south-central Kansas. It offers 152 degree programs, including 70 undergraduate degrees, 29 master’s degrees, 13 doctoral degrees and more than 20 graduate certificates. In the fall of 2016, the student population was more than 14,400, according to the school’s website.

Located in Wichita, Kan., Wichita State is quite the drive from Marshall University's Huntington campus - 902 miles.

The Shockers, 25-7, play in the American Athletic Conference along with Cincinnati, Houston, Tulsa, Memphis, University of Central Florida, Temple, the University of Connecticut, Southern Methodist University, Tulane, East Carolina University and the University of Southern Florida.

Wichita lost to Houston, 77-74, in the conference semifinals. The team is a regular participant in the NCAA tournament. ESPN reports the Shockers have been in the tournament 14 times and made it to the Final Four twice.

Shockers fans will be wearing the school colors, black and yellow, when they face Marshall.

Marshall and Wichita State share a tragic past. Half of Wichita State's football team was killed in a plane crash in 1970 just 44 days before the MU plane crash in which 75 people, including Herd players and coaches, lost their lives.

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