Tuesday, February 11, 2020

OVC Update

Just to remind ourselves, here is the list of OVC Tournament winners since Belmont joined the league after the 2012 season:

2013:  Belmont (beaten by Arizona in first round of NCAA Tournament)
2014:  E. Kentucky (beaten by Kansas in first round of NCAA Tournament)
2015:  Belmont (beaten by Virginia in first round of NCAA Tournament)
2016:  Austin Peay (beaten by Kansas in first round of NCAA Tournament)'
2017:  Jacksonville St. (beaten by Louisville in first round of NCAA Tournament)
2018:  Murray St. (beaten by W. Virginia in first round of NCAA Tournament)
2019:  Murray St. (beaten by Florida St. in second round of NCAA Tournament)

So the OVC continues its tradition of hard-fought conference battles and occasional NCAA upsets.  Good for them.

Here are the current standings, with Ken Pom ratings next to each team:

137.  Murray St.  11-1

151.  Austin Peay:  10-2

109.  Belmont:  9-3
303.  E. Kentucky:  9-3

235.  Tennessee St.  7-5

310.  Morehead St.  6-6

236.  E. Illinois:  5-7
261.  Jacksonville St.  5-7

329.  UT-Martin:  3-9
339.  SIU-Edwardsville:  3-9
340.  Tennessee Tech:  3-9

338.  SE Missouri St:  1-11

Last week, Belmont swept Murray State and Austin Peay at home, thus making up for the fact that the Racers and the Governors swept Belmont when the Bruins visited them in January.  On paper, Belmont's toughest remaining game is at Tennessee State on February 29 -- the last game of the year.

Murray has three difficult games left:  at Austin Peay (Feb. 13), at Eastern Illinois (Feb. 20), and home to Austin Peay (Feb. 29).

Austin Peay has that same set of games, except the Governors will be at Eastern Illinois on February 22.

Eastern Kentucky still has to play Austin Peay and Murray on the road, and Belmont at home, so it will be very difficult for them to keep pace.

Of course, all of this drama is merely a prelude to the real showdown -- the OVC Tournament, which used to be in Nashville but is now in Evansville.  It should be a dandy.

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