It’s often says that in college basketball, November doesn’t matter, which is mostly true. While November can’t get you in to the NCAA tournament, it can keep you out of it, especially in conference like the OVC. Take two, maybe even one loss in November, and your odds drop drastically of earning an at-large bid. (Not that they’re all that high to begin with)
But November could have an effect on the seed: moreover avoiding a 16-seed, and a virtually impossible 2nd round game against one of the top-4 teams in nation that season. And it’s not just how your team does, but the conference as a whole. As Murray State learned last year, just playing teams in the 300+ RPI range will hurt your own, which has a resonating effect.
While the OVC Tournament in March is obviously important to making the NCAA tournament, any chance of getting a win for the 4th straight year comes down to how the OVC plays now, in November. The OVC needs wins like today at Maryland to help their profile.
And as much as everyone talks about wanting to get multiple Ohio Valley Conference teams into the NCAA tournament, close losses just don’t matter anymore. Here’s today’s First Word:
Morehead State (1-0) at Maryland (0-1)
8:00 p.m. EST – ESPN3
Morehead State got a good win against Long Island to start the Sean Woods era, but the difficulty ratchets up tonight with the Eagles traveling to College Park, Maryland to take on the Terps. Both teams should have gotten a good look at each other; Both opened their season Friday night in the Barclays Center.
First and foremost, the Eagles will need to find an answer for 7’1″ Alex Len, who put up 23 points and 12 rebounds in their opener against No. 3 Kentucky. In fact, Maryland outrebounded, and for much of the second half outplayed the Wildcats in their opener, but simply did not make enough shots to pull off the upset.
Morehead State had good performances from Milton Chavis shooting and Khalil Owens on the boards in the opener, and Maurice Lewis-Briggs hit some big shots to give the Eagles a lead and momentum heading into the half against the Blackbirds. To have a good chance, they’ll need to find a way to get Drew Kelly and Angelo Warner going as well.
The Eagles could struggle to get turnovers to feed their up tempo offense: Maryland only had 11 in their loss at Kentucky. Morehead also needs to hold onto the ball better, after committing 19 against Long Island.
Lyon College (2-2) at Southeast Missouri (0-1)
7:00 p.m. CST
The latest chapter in early season cakewalk games takes place in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, as the Redhawks face off against the Scots of Lyon College.
Obviously, the Redhawks shouldn’t have as much trouble scoring as their opener against No. 7 Kansas. While we should see plenty of players off the bench, Southeast Missouri could also use a strong night from preseason all-OVC pick Marland Smith, for his confidence if nothing else.
As a note, UT Martin hosts Lyon College in just over a week.