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Assuming the magic number remains six to make the OVC Tournament in a few weeks, two more teams punched their tickets last week: Morehead State and SEMO. But, it’s not a lock, as a few scenarios remain that could have a six win team out of the tournament.

Two wins by Austin Peay have put the Governors in the race, although their room for error is zero, same for Tennessee Tech.

Three-way ties makes things messy, but an easy way to look at things it who each opponent’s best win, by OVC Tournament seed. Essentially, that will determine who wins the tiebreaker (unless the teams are in opposite divisions. I’ll explain more when we get to Tennessee Tech)

With three spots remaining, here’s a look at the six teams fighting to earn a trip to Nashville.

 

Southeast Missouri (6-7)

Tiebreakers:

Win: UT Martin, TTU
Lose: None
Go To 2nd TB: EIU, SIUE
TBD: Austin Peay (SEMO leads 1-0)

Remaining Schedule:

at Jacksonville State (7-7)
at Austin Peay (3-10)
at Murray State (9-4)

A single SEMO win, and they’re 100% in. The problem is what happens if they lose out, a possibility given all three of their final games are on the road. Oddly enough, the team they should be most worried about in that scenario would be Austin Peay. Only the Governors would have the tiebreaker over the Redhawks, and SIUE and EIU don’t have friendly schedules to get to seven-wins.

But a three-way tie could be just as bad.The problem is that SEMO doesn’t have a win over a top-5 team in the conference right now, which both SIUE, EIU and UTM have. If all four teams get to six-wins, or three get to six and another to seven, SEMO would be left out.

Again, this is all a non-starter if the Redhawks get a single win. But it just worth pointing out they’re not a lock for Nashville yet.

 

SIU Edwardsville (5-8)

Tiebreakers:

Win: Tennessee Tech
Lose: UT Martin
Goes to 2nd Tiebreaker: Austin Peay, SEMO
TBD: Eastern Illinois (SIUE leads 1-0)

Remaining Schedule:

vs Tennessee State (9-4)
at Belmont (11-2)
at Eastern Illinois (5-9)

Right now, SIU Edwardsville biggest concern is UT Martin. The Skyhawks are one game behind the Cougars, but hold the tiebreaker outright. If SIUE can pull an upset over Tennessee State or Belmont, things are looking good. If not, they will likely be in a must-win situation, needing the W to stay ahead of UT Martin, or the tiebreaker over EIU to stay ahead of the Panthers.

In a scenario where SIUE wins over TSU / Belmont but loses to EIU, the Cougars should still be okay. It would go to the second tiebreaker, which the Cougars should win by beating either TSU / Belmont, both better than the second best win for the Panthers. (Both teams have a win over Murray St., which cancels out) That is, unless EIU beats Belmont…

 

Eastern Illinois (5-9)

Tiebreakers:

Win: UT Martin
Lose: Tennessee Tech
Goes To 2nd TB: Austin Peay, SEMO
TBD: SIUE (EIU trails 1-0)

Remaining Schedule:

vs Belmont (11-2)
vs SIU Edwardsville (5-9)

Good news for the Panthers is they close the season at home. The bad news? Just two games remain, and one is against Belmont.

A loss to SIUE complicates things for the Panthers, but their tiebreaker over UT Martin means the Skyhawks would need two wins down the stretch. Same for TTU, who holds the tiebreaker over the Panthers. That puts them in a slightly better position than SIUE, and also means they could make the tournament at just 5 wins.

 

UT Martin (4-9)

Tiebreakers:

Win: SIUE
Lose: EIU, SEMO
TBD: TTU (yet to play), Austin Peay (UTM trails 1-0)

Remaining Schedule:

at Tennessee Tech (3-10)
at Murray State (9-4)
at Austin Peay (3-10)

It’s a case of good news, bad news for the Skyhawks. The good news is they have the friendliest schedule remaining. The bad news is it’s all on the road, and against two teams in must win situations, and a third they’ve never beaten in their gym.

The game at Tennessee Tech is a virtual elimination game for the Golden Eagles. If the Skyhawks lose, they’ll need SIUE to likely lose out, and need to beat Austin Peay themselves in the season finale.

Scoreboard watchers needs to pay attention to the Cougars. Having lost both games to EIU and SEMO puts the Skyhawks in a tough spot, and need the Cougars to stumble.

 

Austin Peay (3-10)

Tiebreakers:

Win: None
Lose: TTU
Goes to 2nd TB: EIU, SIUE
TBD: SEMO (AP trails 1-0), UTM (AP trails 1-0)

Remaining Schedule:

at Eastern Kentucky (10-3)
vs Southeast Missouri (6-7)
vs UT Martin (4-9)

Given their current tiebreaker situation, winning out is the only viable option. If they win out, and SEMO loses out, the Governors could leapfrop the Redhawks (and the Skyhawks, and if TTU doesn’t get to six wins) putting the Governors in the tournament, and the six-win Redhawks out. Even a three-way tie, assuming AP beats EKU and wins out, would give Austin Peay the advantage over SEMO.

Anything short of that makes it virtually impossible. A 5-win Austin Peay team can’t win a second-tiebreaker over EIU or SIUE, who have both beaten Murray (the 2-seed) and there’s no way for Austin Peay to beat a team higher than the 3-seed.

 

Tennessee Tech (3-10)

Tiebreakers:

Win: EIU, Austin Peay
Lose: SIUE, SEMO,
TBD: UTM (yet to play)

Remaining Schedule:

vs UT Martin (4-9)
vs Eastern Kentucky (10-3)
vs Morehead State (7-6)

Scenarios that get Tennessee Tech into the tournament are small. But there is one. Obviously, TTU has to win out. They need UTM and AP to fall short of six wins, and EIU to either fall short or get just  to six.

A three-way tiebreaker is not good news for TTU. Because TTU played Belmont twice, they’re 0-2 against Belmont, which is worse than the 0-1 record the teams on the bubble from the West Division. This basically means TTU loses every three-way tiebreaker, or any tiebreaker that can’t be broken head-to-head.

But first things first, Tennessee Tech needs three wins. Given their remaining opponents, that’s no easy task.


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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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