OVC TOURNAMENT PREVIEW

6 Mar

OVC tournament will be held from 3/6-9 in Nashville at the Nashville Auditorium. East winner Belmont is the number one seed, while West winner Murray St received the 2 seed, despite having the 4th best OVC record. Those two have byes to the semi’s, while 3rd seeded EKU and 4th seeded Tennessee St have byes to the quarterfinals.

Bracket

Where to stream the games 

My Prediction to Win: You have to like Belmont. They’re playing at “home”, and they’re clearly the best team in the OVC. They’re the most efficient team offensively and defensively. Ian Clark is a ridiculous 92-199 from 3 this season, and they have a tremendous PG in Kerron Johnson, who does a great job running Byrd’s motion offense. Their biggest weakness is that they don’t have a shot creator, and can struggle when teams disrupt motion offense. They don’t get to the free throw line because of the lack of a create your own shot type of guy, and they can be exploited on glass.

If Not Them Then… Eastern Kentucky The Colonels are the 3 seed, and would have to get past #2 Murray St, but EKU won at Murray easily, and without Cosey. The Racers still have Canaan, Daniel, and Wilson, but they looked awful to end the regular season. Granted, they weren’t playing for much given the overall weakness of the West division, but home losses to UTM and Se Mo, and b2b road losses to EIU and SIUE? They did beat Belmont in one of the games of the year though. EKU doesn’t turn the ball over, and they can light it up from 3, but they can get killed on glass and interior.

Sleepers: 4th seeded Tennessee St split with Belmont, and the first loss was without Robert Covington, who was unstoppable in the second meeting. The Tigers get the FT line regularly, and Patrick Miller is triple double threat at PG. However, he can be incredibly turnover prone. Also keep an eye on Morehead State. The 5th seeded Eagles love to apply pressure defensively, but they often negate that with their own turnover issues. They’re also great on the glass, but that’s a product of the fact that they can’t really shoot. Morehead did sweep likely quarterfinal opponent Tennessee State. UT Martin poses no threat to Morehead in first round. UTM was blown out by a zombie Austin Peay team when Myles Taylor left the game with an injury. 6th seeded Se Mo State has hit double digits in 3 pointers made in the last 6 games. They’re a ridiculous 82-149 from 3 in their last 6 games, with Wilford, Smith, and Niemczyk bombing away from outside. Se Mo hasn’t exactly been what I thought they would be this season, but they’ve won 5 of 7 down the stretch. Stone has regressed it seems in the paint, but  Nino Johnson has excelled. 7th seeded EIU shouldn’t pose much of a threat. They’ve won 3 in a row, but over Northern Illinois in BB (who cares), Chicago State (why?), and and a dead SIUE team. They don’t do anything well offensively, and their zone is entirely bustable by Se Mo’s shooters.

Predictions: Morehead over UTM by 20, Se Mo over EIU by 10

Tennessee St over Morehead by 3, EKU over Se Mo by 10

Belmont over Tennessee St by 8, EKU over Murray by 3

Belmont over EKU by 12

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