The Racers would rather forget the last time they were on ESPNU. That statement alone is probably enough to raise the blood pressure of Racer fans, who watched Murray fall just short of rallying back against league leaders Austin Peay. Many want to place the blame on one of ESPNU’s commentator, who may have been instrumental in helping the refs call a late technical foul against Murray that may have cost the Racers the game. I blame the 9-19 FT shooting and digging themselves into a 16-point hole, but the call didn’t help either. They’re back on ESPN’s lesser station, as they try to do something no OVC team has done this year: hand Tennessee State a home loss. Tennessee Tech is looking to protect home court as well, against an Eastern Kentucky squad just outside the seemingly 5-way race for first place. Austin Peay and Morehead get a breather, at least in theory, taking on the two squads currently slated to miss the tournament
Murray State at Tennessee State, 8:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Last Meeting: TSU 53, Murray 64
Slow starts can be killers, something Tennessee State learned when they visited Murray, shooting less than 30% in the first half and trailing by 16 at the half on their way to their 2nd OVC loss. After that loss, the Tigers won four straight, but dropped their last two on the dreaded “Death Valley” road swing. As for the Racers, they’re coming off a hot shooting night, putting up over 90 for the second time in three games breezing past UT Martin, the Racers 3rd straight win. In 10 conference games, the Racers are just a hair short of shooting 50% (49.9) The last time the Racers lost to the Tigers: the 2008 OVC tournament.
Eastern Kentucky at Tennessee Tech, 7:30 p.m.
Last Meeting: TTU 78, EKU 66
All of a sudden, EKU are the road warriors. Despite splitting their last 4 home games, the Colonels have won 5 straight on the road, and they’re hoping to keep that streak alive against a team just 2-2 at home. Last time out, 5 Golden Eagles scored in double figures and the team shot 67% from the field in the second half on their way to a convincing 12 point win on the road. Rebounding was a huge problem for the Colonels, out rebounded 29-16. Tempo could be key tonight: EKU features one of the league’s top scoring defenses, TTU one of the top offenses.
UT Martin at Austin Peay, 7:30 p.m.
Last Meeting: AP 71, UTM 61
For the Governors, tonight can be seen as the calm before the storm, with Murray State, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech on deck, but first the Govs get to face UT Martin. Anyone else thinking “trap game”? Last time out Martin held a 9-point lead at halftime before just melting away on both ends of the ball in the 2nd. The Skyhawks were dominated in the paint on one end, trailing in points in the paint 46-14, but won the rebounding battle 37-29, including 11 offensive rebounds. Martin allowed Murray to shoot the lights out last Saturday, including letting the Racers hit 11 of 12 from 3-range.
Morehead State at Jacksonville State, 7:45 p.m.
Last Meeting: JSU 52, Morehead 73
It’s been a good week for Kenneth Faried: First the star center earned a record setting 12th OVC player of the week honor, before receiving his 2nd national player of the week honor. Couple that with a huge win over Austin Peay Saturday and the Eagles are flying high. But they’re back on the road today, where they have struggled, against a Jacksonville State squad that is starting to show signs of life. Last time out was a tale of 2 halves, as the Gamecocks kept things close and low scoring the 1st, before Morehead State put up 45 of their 73 points in the 2nd half cruising to a 21 point win. As for Faried, he had a rather weak double-double (if there is such a thing) putting up 13 points and 11 rebounds.