11/11 proved anything but lucky for the OVC Friday as all 6 teams that faced Division-I competition lost.
But Austin Peay may have lost more than a game, as John Fraley left the Governors game against Middle Tennessee in the second half on a stretcher. Fraley’s neck was in a brace, but there’s no word on the severity or the nature of his injury.
Mike Miller is a gambler or there’s something wrong with James Hollowell. Hollowell only played 11 minutes in the Panthers opener, but managed 10 points off the bench. Jeremy Granger is the real deal for EIU, putting up 26 points on 10 of 16 shooting.
Maybe it’s a bit early for panic, but UT Martin may be in danger of being my worst pick in my preseason rankings. The defense is far from fixed, and this is still a young team. And somebody take the ball out of Troy King‘s hands. No really, it’s easy…9 turnovers for King in the loss
Don’t get me wrong, when Leon Powell returns this will be his team. But they may be more than just one good player. And Lucas Nutt may not be one of those good players. If he and Marland Smith don’t play better, Dickie Nutt might more to a 3 forward lineup that includes freshman Nino Johnson in a starting spot.
Basketball may not be a “contact sport,” but it can be a rough one, evidenced by John Fraley being taken off the court on a stretcher. Austin Peay may have a chink in their armor: free throws. The Governors only hit 11 of 24 in the loss. (And Edmondson didn’t actually come off the bench, right? The box score says he did, but played 35 minutes.)
My praise for Latreze Mushatt may have been premature. The Racers are very defensively minded, again, perhaps to a fault. (I’m not sold the offense will just “come” eventually) But that defense is very good, and the Racers are responding to momentum swings much better on the early season than last year.
The Gamecocks may be better scorers than we thought, putting up 54 on Miles College in the first half. (Yes, I realize it’s ONLY Miles College) It’s easy to put up that many when you get to the free throw line 28 times in the half. (40 for the game) But 22 turnovers, against, again, Miles College..that’s not good at all.
Tennessee State is also at risk of making my preseason predictions look bad. I get you’re playing St. Louis, who historically plays low scoring games, but only 37 points? Only 7 free throw attempts? 22 turnovers? Forget dark horse..if those numbers continue, things will only be dark.
This one has to hurt. If the Golden Eagles win the OVC, this is the kind of loss that could cost them a seed in the tournament. But it also reinforces my pick of TTU topping the OVC. (And more madness…why did Kevin Murphy come off the bench? They were down 7-0 before Murphy saw his first minute.)