The race to be one of the eight teams took an interesting turn last night. With Southeast Missouri’s and SIU Edwardsville losing, the field of teams that could reasonably miss the tournament is expanding. The entire West division, with the notable exception of Murray State, is now vulnerable.
And as if we needed a reminder, everyone is still looking up to Belmont.
The officiating also took a sour turn. From a errant buzzer at the end of Murray State at Jacksonville State (that ended up having no impact, as Murray scored on the second inbound attempt) to a timeout granted that shouldn’t have been at the end of UT Martin at SIU Edwardsville, (that cost the Cougars a possession late in a tight game) it wasn’t the best day for the OVC stripes.
Last Night’s Scores
Three Point Shot
- Jeff Neubauer, did you not notice all the reporters in the room when you proclaimed that you have the only team that can knock off Belmont in the OVC Tournament? Why would you say that? You’ve lost to them twice, and were just solidly beaten at home minutes before. I don’t understand why you make that statement. I’m not even sure why you think that. You really think you’re that far above the rest of the OVC? I agree you’re the team best positioned to knock off the Bruins, but the only? No. Just no. Maybe you’re just trying to give your team confidence. Saying it in the locker room: Great. In front of all the people with cameras and recorders and computers? Not great. But, I’ve got to say, that takes something. Hopefully your team plays with the same confidence you exude during pressers.
- So, remember how I asked Dave Loos if he had thought about retirement at last year’s OVC Tournament. Wondering if he’s rethinking his decision not to. Another brutal, brutal loss.
- I forgot, who wrote off UT Martin after Thursday? Oh right. That was me. You would think I would have learned better by now.
Player of the Night: Sherman Blandford, Eastern Illinois. In the preview, I called Blandford one of the most improved players since OVC play began. He proved me right, putting up his second double-double in three games.
Player of the Night in a loss: Corey Walden, Eastern Kentucky. Walden put his his third straight 20+ point game, scoring 22 on just 10 shots from the field.
Unsung Hero: Mike Liabo, UT Martin. Welcome back. 6-11 from the field, and 16 points in the Skyhawks win over SIUE. Nights like that give the Skyhawks a chance to get a few wins.
Team Trending Upwards: Eastern Illinois. Are they the 2nd best team in the West now? There’s reason to believe so. The Panthers have won three straight, and are in the mix for second in the division.
Teams Trending Downwards: Southeast Missouri and Austin Peay. The Governors are in serious trouble of missing the tournament, and if the Redhawks don’t turn things around soon, they could be in trouble as well. If you had these two teams possibly missing the OVC tournament this summer, you’re much better at this than I am.