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So as you’ll see below, I’m previewing most of today’s games.

Except for that NAIA opponent Tennessee Tech plays.

Yep, I’m making a stand that the OVC needs to stop playing so many NAIA and D II squads that inflate your record, and can only do more harm than good. (Imagine what happens if you LOSE to one of them)

Here’s today’s First Word:

[UT Martin (1-5) at UAB (1-3) 3 p.m] Before head coach Jason James left for this road swing, I asked what he hoped to see out of his team. His answer? He wanted them to “compete.” They will face their second road challenge today taking on a Blazers team that has struggled to score, averaging just 58 points a game on 38% field goal shooting, and 23% 3-point shooting. That could be good news for a Skyhawks squad that has been defensively challenged at times this season. The one UAB player that has played well: Cameron Moore, a 50% shooter who has scored one fourth of the Blazers points on the season.
[Eastern Kentucky (3-3) at Norfolk State (3-2) 3 p.m.] It’s been a week since we’ve seen the Colonels, but they return to face a challenging Spartan team whose only losses both came to ranked Marquette. Eastern Kentucky must contain 6’10” center Kyle O’Quinn, who is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds through 5 games, and guard Chris McEachin who leads the team with over 15 points a game. But Norfolk State can be scored on, and have been weak defending the perimeter, which just happens to be a place the Colonels love to shoot from.
[Morehead State (3-3) at Bucknell (4-2) 3:30 p.m.] I will be the first to admit that the Eagles have somewhat impressed me with 2 wins at the Legends classic, but the 3rd will be tougher to get. The Bisons are better shooters, better rebounders, don’t turn the ball over, and have 4 players averaging double digit scoring. Forward Mike Muscala averages 14 points, 8 rebounds a game, and given how poorly the Eagles have played defensively in the paint, expect the Bisons to feed him the ball often.
[Wilberforce at Tennessee Tech (2-3) 4:00 p.m.] I’m not even going to preview this one. Tech should win comfortably. That is all you need to know.
[Jacksonville State (2-3) vs Weber State (3-0)] This is the start of what could (and probably will be) a long trip out west for the Gamecocks. Weber State plays up-tempo, and have a duo of guards in Damain Lillard and Scott Bamforth who average 20+ points a game, and a forward, Kyle Bullinger, who has over 11 rebounds a game. Tough to imagine Jacksonville State pulling off this upset.

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OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11


2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall

EAST

Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19

WEST

UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24


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