Teams have now settled in now, so I believe that I can make power rankings. Now since its still very very early, this won’t be a weekly thing. Those posts won’t really begin until conference play begins. Rankings reflect based on what I have seen in each team and how they have handled their opponents along with who they have played. Random note, its amazing how many of these teams play Lipscomb who is pretty much a member that isn’t in the conference. Alright its time, so let’s rank’em.
Led by the 3rd leading scorer in the conference in Ian Clark and Kerron Johnson the Bruins are off to an excellent start having knocked off Stanford in their own building. They held their own against a very talented VCU team that had played both Duke, Wichita State and Missouri early in the year. Still room for improvement but I’ve been impressed by this team very early in the season.
Coming into this season the pressure was on the team and on who would step up for the Racers, it was been Ed Daniel who is average a double double here early on. Depth has been a problem for this team and I mean on the scoring end. Isaiah Canaan is showing early why he is an All-American leading the conference in scoring with over 22 a night. Key win this season has been the comeback win against St. John’s but I want to see how this team does when Canaan struggles, we saw a glimpse once and that was their only loss so far.
The paint has become a dangerous thing for the Redhawks who are led by big men Tyler Stone and Nino Johnson who both average just over 9 boards a game. In the OVC, that is a big thing. As for Johnson, he is 5th in field goal percentage here early on. No key wins up to now and yes they have struggled but I like what they have going right now. Play Missouri this week and I look forward as to who will step up for the team.
The Gamecocks have taken advantage of their easy non conference schedule which ranked according to us as the easiest in the conference. Looking at the numbers you have to go down to 22 before you get to a leading scorer, Tarvin Gaines at 11.6 a night. They do have Nick Cook who is currently 4th in the conference with 1.8 blocks a night. Schedule stays very easy until their final nonconference game at Nebraska then conference play begins.
The lone undefeated team in the conference hasn’t even left its own gym yet, but that all changes as they don’t come back home until they host Eastern Illinois for their conference opener. Have a convincing win over Norfolk State, but this isn’t the same Norfolk at all compared to last year. The Colonels are led by Glenn Cosey who is tied with Ian Clark for 3rd leading scorer at 17.9 a night.
Sean Woods will probably tell you he isn’t happy with his team’s record, and that’s true. They could have upset Kentucky if this team had composure and didn’t foul. This team likes to foul and it turns into a free throw practice for any opposing team. They need to fix this or they will let teams hang around instead of pulling away. They are becoming an up tempo team and it is still a work in progress. They have had some nice performances by Milton Chavis but just like other teams they need more to step up.
This is when it gets difficult to decide who is better the following teams 7-10 are pretty much on equal footing. Have to nit pick on who these.
Opened up on a 3 game winning streak, and are currently on a 3 game losing streak including a loss to Lipscomb, who seems to be auditioning with the league. We know that Jud Dillard is really really good, but he needs help and right now no one is really stepping up to alleviate the load beside Jeremiah Samarrippas who is trying and is the only other Golden Eagle in double figures for scoring. Head coach Steve Payne said before the season it would take awhile, he was right.
The Cougars are a very interesting team, they are led by Jerome Jones but without him they have struggled. Doesn’t help that Mark Yelovich is hurt at the moment and guard Kris Davis hasn’t hit the same amount of 3’s as expected. Take away the suspension game and this team is ok. Have time to build up as they face Saint Louis just before conference play starts and that will tell us more how far this team can go and if they are a playoff team.
I had the Governors up at 7, then I clicked on their schedule. Boy they don’t lose nicely, and that is a cause for alarm. Seems like if they are down early they will give in. It has been great for Austin Peay with Anthony Campbell back from injury as he is just under 13pts a game. Chris Horton does lead the league with almost 3 blocks a game but I’m sure Dave Loos will turn things around as there schedule doesn’t get much easier with Memphis, Arkansas State and Lipscomb ahead.
The conference runnerup last season has really had a tough early season thus far. They have Patrick Miller who leads the league in both assists and steals and has been one of the trio that was expected to lead this team. Outside of Miller, Robert Covington and Kellen Thornton, they have struggled especially when Covington has gotten in foul trouble. Now they can turn things around and I’m sure that this brutal non conference will pay dividends come conference time.
Led by Myles Taylor who has continued on from his success as a freshmen last season he averages 16.6 which is 6th best in the league, add in Mike Liabo and they have 2 of the top 15. That is where the compliments seem to stop as they only have 1 victory against a D1 opponent, and a not a good one at all. Road to the conference doesn’t get any easier for the Skyhawks as they still have Central Arkansas, Lipscomb and Saint Louis.
A loss to an NAIA school just looks bad, really bad. Add in that fact that this team struggles to find a scorer and you sometimes wonder watching them how they score in the 50’s. They have found their guy in Josh Piper at 12.1 a night but he is pretty much it. Going to be another long season for this young team that has many many new parts.