The Ohio Valley Conference used to be Murray State’s playground, but they’ve got some competition for the crown this season. The Racers enter the tourney as the two seed as Belmont picked up top billing in their first year. Those two won’t see their first action until Friday because of the double bye format.
First round action begins this evening with the five thru eight seeds taking the court. Morehead State takes on Tennessee Martin followed by Southeast Missouri and Eastern Illinois. These four teams don’t figure to be much of a threat to the Racers or Bruins. They will need to win two games if they even hope to get to the semifinals.
The three seed is Eastern Kentucky. They finished the year 23-8, 12-4 in the OVC with a road win over the Racers to their name from January 9th. EKU won seven of their last nine to close out the regular season and will be tough on anyone if they are hitting from long-range. Mike DiNunno and Glenn Cosey are the top two scorers and take almost 14 three-point shots between the two per game.
The four seed is Tennessee State who handed Belmont one of their two conference losses. When talking about the Tigers, you have to start with Robert Covington who is one of the best big men in the OVC. He averages 16.8 points per game and is one of four players on the team to put up at least 10 points per contest. In their win over Belmont they shot over 50% getting 25 points from Covington.
Belmont is a scary team for the rest of the country to see. The Bruins beat Stanford, Middle Tennessee State and South Dakota State. They are led by Ian Clark who scores 18.1 points per game and feature five seniors overall. Kerron Johnson and J.J. Mann are also threats on the court.
Isaiah Canaan is a player that everyone should get to watch before he graduates. The Racers guard put up 21.6 points per game adding four assists per contest. Murray State just doesn’t have enough around him besides Ed Daniel and Stacy Wilson. They have lost four of their last six entering this shindig and will most likely lose to Belmont in the title game.