Although I’m purely guessing here, the last team Austin Peay wants to see right now it the team that started their season with a loss, Middle Tennessee State.
Too bad that’s who they host tonight.
I’m heading to Cape Girardeau, as the Redhawks host Miami (OH), and Murray State is in the finals of the Great Alaska Shootout against Southern Miss.
Here’s today’s First Word:
[Princeton (1-4) vs Morehead State (2-3), 1 p.m. CST] Princeton represents a good matchup for the Eagles: Good in the sense that Princeton isn’t a team that looks to run up the score on, well, anyone. The big question for an Eagles team that has struggled to defend teams in the paint is whether they can keep the ball out of Ian Hummer‘s hands, Princeton’s leading scorer averaging over 16 points a game. They still need to find consistent scoring help for Terrance Hill. (looking at you Ty Proffitt) Don’t read too much into Princeton’s record: they’ve played stiffer competition on the whole than the Eagles so far.
[Morgan State (0-5) at Tennessee State (2-4), 1:30 p.m. CST] Morgan State is not an 0-5 team. Well they are, but with losses to USC by 2, and other losses to Murray State, Xavier, UNLV, and Cal Poly. Much like Tennessee State they have struggled defensively, especially in defending the 3-point line. Much like Tennessee State, they’ve struggled to pull down boards. Much like Tennessee State, they have been sloppy with the ball. This is another solid matchup at home for the Tigers.
[Miami OH (2-1) at SEMO (2-3), 3:00 p.m. CST] This will be a matchup of styles between the guard oriented Redhawks from Ohio and the forward oriented Redhawks of Missouri. (Yep, they’re both Redhawks. That won’t make covering them today confusing at all) SEMO hasn’t had many problems with turnovers this season, and that will have to continue to have a good chance today. SEMO comes into this game with the 15th best field goal percentage in the nation, led by Leon Powell’s 82% shooting and 12 points a game. Live Updates on Twitter @OVCBall.
[Eastern Illinois (3-1) at Central Arkansas (1-3), 4:00 p.m. CST] Central Arkansas is pretty much the definition of a bad 1-3 team, losing to NAIA Philander Smith, and being blown out in their 2 contests against Division I competition. It’s rare when I say I expect a team to win big on the road, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. The Panthers have held their opponents to under 40% shooting on the season, whereas Central Arkansas’s opponents have shot better than 55% And while Central Arkansas does average over 37 rebounds a game, much of those can be attributed to a bad offense.
[Middle Tennessee (5-1) at Austin Peay (0-6) 7:00 p.m CST] I never would have imagined that the Governors would still be looking for their 1st win when the Blue Raiders traveled to Clarksville for the rematch. Middle Tennessee shot 55% in their home gym, and Austin Peay hit just 53% from the free throw line in the 9 point loss just a few weeks ago. Emotions should be high for this game, especially given that John Fraley was injured in their first meeting. Middle Tennessee’s only lost this year came at the hands of Belmont, who the Governors face twice before the season is over.
[Murray State (6-0) vs Southern Miss. (4-1) 11:00 p.m CST? (Not sure on the time)] So far, the Great Alaska Shootout has pretty well gone as scripted. Both teams have shown great ball control over the season, but the difference is that where both teams have held onto the ball, Murray is forcing teams to give it up: the Racers are still 2nd in the nation at turnovers forced a game, where as Southern Miss. forces as few turnovers as they commit. Two guards, LeShay Page and Maurice Bolden, make up the bulk of the Golden Eagles scoring. The Golden Eagles only loss came on the road versus a good Denver team from the Sun Belt.