So a few notes from me, before I turn this thing over. First off, huge thanks to @tomviathoughts for getting this done. You should follow him and give him a shout. If you see words in blue throughout, it’s my additions to his thoughts. Without further adieu:
Hello folks, it’s a honor to finally be posting this rankings on the site. I have been doing this for awhile to amuse myself on twitter, just ask @OVCBall about it and he gave me the honor to take over. Now I base these on how the team is playing at the moment along with possible foreshadowing to the future. For more info just follow me on twitter @tomviathoughts
1. Murray State 24-1 (12-1) – All Season: 1
Well folks the Racers lost a game, but it was to a team that came in very hot, winning 7 of their last 8. They did rebound however and it seemed like the Racers went right back to what made them a great team. They got on their roll with their defense and they did by holding the Govs to 63. Plus this team has already clinched at least a share of the title and could lock up the 1-seed with just one more win in conference play.
I understand that you could make the argument for TSU. They did beat the Racers and have won 7 straight. But 7 is still far less than 23, and now the pressure is off the Racers. They lose this week, the Racers can be considered for dropping from the top spot, but I agree, you can’t drop a team with 9 fewer losses on the season based on one game, no matter where it was played.
2. Tennessee St 17-10 (10-4) – Week 12 Ranking: 6 (Boy, was I wrong)
There is no doubt as to who the number 2 team is in this conference. Sure there has been a lot of parity this season, but they came into a hostile environment at the bank and played like a top team. The defense disrupted the drive and kick outs the Racers love to do, plus the tandem of Covington and Moore seemed to withstand every shot the Racers game them. This game really showed the athleticism that TSU brings and with wins over SEMO and Murray, with Murray being the only one left but the Tigers get them at home, on senior night.
And they swept TTU, plus have beaten SEMO on the road. About 6 games into the conference season, I thought that maybe TSU was still one year away. Apparently not.
3. Southeast Missouri 14-11 (9-4) – Week 12 Ranking: 2
When you have lost to the teams above you, then you have to be slotted accordingly. SEMO had a tough week last week, losing to Murray and Tenn St, but did bounce back this week with wins against Martin and at SIUE (tougher than it seems at SIUE) The Redhawks do still have a chance at that double bye but they need to win against Murray to have a legit chance plus they need Jax. St or Murray to beat TSU.
Still don’t have a great read on this team. They might be a threat come March, they might be a one-and-done.
4. Morehead 14-13 (7-6) – Week 12 Ranking: 4
This team has so much potential and the loss to Jax St can be seen as a blip, but lets be honest Jax. St is really good this year. Morehead currently tied with Tech will be fighting for that 4seed with the team below and by the look of the schedule they should have 3 wins left on the conference schedule (@AP, vs EIU, vs SIUe)
Morehead has looked a little shaky of late, especially on the road. They barely won at EIU, but they did win. I might have put them behind Tennessee Tech, just because I don’t think the talent level is as good. But with their schedule, compared to TTU’s down the stretch, you have to like Morehead’s chances of being the 4-seed come tournament time.
5. Tennessee Tech 16-11 (8-6) – Week 12 Ranking: 5
How can a team with so much talent be down this low in the standings??? When you have a great scorer in Kevin Murphy and have Zac Swansey and Jud Dillard you have to win, especially against EIU. Inconsistency could have this team having to play 4 games in 4 days.
I don’t know if I would want to play this team, or not come OVC tournament time. This season has been a disappointment, given the talent.
6. Jacksonville State 11-16 (6-7 ) – Week 12 Ranking: 7
Only played one game this week but it was on the road at Morehead and they got the victory 69-55. This team has the potential to be a sleeper come conference time, but then again when the conference is top heavy isn’t everyone a sleeper?
Remember when these guys were the perpetual “10th” ranked team? They’ve gone from a defensive powerhouse to more of an offensive one, and it seems to be for the better.
7. Eastern Kentucky 14-13 (6-7) – Week 12 Ranking: 5
I’m sorry but playing a non-conference game this late in the season and then losing to Morehead has cause for alarm. EKU is a small team and have to hit their jumpers in order to win. If they catch fire watch out, then again when they control tempo watch out and get your pillow ready.
So, before the season even started, I said that Neubauer would find himself on the hot seat after another rough season. And EKU fans called me out, and told me just how wrong I was. Then EKU got off to a good start in conference play, and even I started doubting myself. Look who was right after all. Neubauer’s seat isn’t as hot as say, Mike Miller’s, but it’s getting a little uncomfortable I’d bet.
8. Austin Peay 9-18 (6-7) – Week 12 Ranking: 4
What a week Dave Loos has had this week. 58 is the number to keep in mind, that’s how much they lost by this past week. Loos seems lost, remember seeing him multiple times sitting down with his head in between his hands going when will this end. He seems to have taken control by shaking up the lineup last night against Murray, adding sophomore Alton Williams to the starting lineup and he gave some life, scoring 15pts.
Thanks to winning the only game against Eastern Illinois this season, Austin Peay only needs one win to earn a tournament birth. Thankfully, they still have a game against UT Martin on their schedule, or I’d say (assuming Eastern Illinois can win out) they might be in trouble. I’m pretty sure Williams came off the bench, but still 5-5 from deep was impressive.
9. SIU-Edwardsville 7-15 (5-8) – Week 12 Ranking: 9
I have given them the nickname spoiler and they have lived up to it this year at home, except to Murray and then last night to SEMO. It does make you wonder that if they were eligible for the OVC tourney, how interesting the race for seeds 6-8 would be. But that’s for next year.
Personally, I would have put this team above Austin Peay this week. But that’s more about how bad the are, and not as much about how good SIU Edwardsville is.
10. Eastern Illinois 11-14 (4-9) – Week 12 Ranking: 10
Apparently their players have twitter (#FIREMIKEMILLER), because they seemed to pull together and get the wins to stay alive, even though its very small. But upsetting Tech, on the road is very noteworthy.
Hey, the #BringDickieVToMurray hashtag worked for the Racers. Who’s to say this won’t work also! I might even have put the Panthers above Austin Peay. Seriously, they’ve played more competitive basketball than the Governors have over the past week. Okay, so I probably wouldn’t have, but I really would have thought about it for awhile.
11. UT Martin 3-24 (0-14) – Forever and Ever: 11
I really thought that if they were going to win, it would have been last night at home against EIU but once again it didn’t happen. On that note only 1,400 people were at the game and they lost by 3. If they had the crowd they had against Murray St I’m confident that Martin would have some conference wins under their belts, imagine what the conference would look like them.
On the flipside, hard to convince fans to come when you’re 0-14 in the conference. They haven’t quit though, and let’s be honest, next season can only be better, right?