Thursday, January 15, 2015

Commonwealth Update

We know, of course, that UK (16-0) and U of L (15-2) are both off to great starts in this basketball season.  But how are the other Commonwealth teams doing?

Eastern Kentucky (10-5 overall, 2-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference, ranked 67th by Ken Pomeroy).  The Colonels won the OVC Tournament last year, and they are a strong contender again this year.  So far, their big win of the year was a 72-44 pasting of Miami (Fla.) -- on the road.  They are currently riding a four-game winning streak, and KenPom expects them to go 13-3 in the OVC.  In Ken Pom's data going back to 2002, no EKU team has finished the year ranked higher than 117 -- so they are currently ranked 40 points above their prior high.

Murray State (13-4 overall, 3-0 in the OVC, ranked 74th by Ken Pom).  The Racers have gone 88-27 since Steve Prohm took over at the beginning of the 2012 season, which is extraordinary for almost any school, much less one in the OVC.  This year, the Racers appear to have their strongest team since they went 31-2 in 2012.  So far they have beaten Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois, and Evansville.  They were undefeated in December, and they have now won 11 games in a row.  Their battle with EKU in Murray on January should be quite a game.

Western Kentucky (10-5 overall, 3-0 in Conference USA, ranked 101st by Ken Pom).  The last time Western was ranked this high by Ken Pomeroy was in 2009, when the Tops finished 86th in the rankings.  2009 was also the last time WKU was dangerous from the outside -- this year, Western is making 36.2 percent of its three-pointers, a significant improvement from last year's 33.5 percent.  That improved shooting has paid off -- since starting 1-3, Western has gone 9-2, with its only losses coming at Murray and at home against U of L.  Western's wins include an 81-74 victory at Ole Miss, and a 72-65 win over Old Dominion, which was 13-1 when the game began.  If Western continues to play at this level, it will make a lot of noise in its new conference.

Morehead State (6-12 overall, 1-2 in the OVC, ranked 217th by Ken Pom).  UK favorite Sean Woods is in his third season coaching the Eagles, and his team has struggled on offense, where it ranks 282d in the country.

Northern Kentucky (7-10 overall, 1-1 in the Atlantic Sun, ranked 264th by Ken Pom).  This is only the third season for the Norse in D-1, and I can't remember if they are eligible for their conference title yet or not.  There's some sort of transition period, but I don't know how long it lasts.  Last year NKU finished with a ranking of 311, so they are showing some improvement this year.


  1. WKU was down 11 at Florida Atlantic in the middle of the second half last night when I tuned in the radio. I got to listen to about five minutes of game time, and they had gotten it down to a five-point gap. They ended up winning in overtime by one! Very exciting. My favorite college basketball player, George Fant, is on a run of "double-doubles." #HARPERMANIA!