There may still be a few weeks left in the regular season, but time is quickly running out on the Governors. In fact, if Austin Peay drops both games this week, their chances of making the OVC Tournament drop from slim to almost none. If there is a desperation mode, this is the time to get into it.
Tennessee State is on the much different end of things. The Tigers are hoping to hold on to the three seed, and avoid a potential matchup with Belmont until the OVC Tournament finals. A slip up tonight would make things much harder on Tennessee State, who already have a loss to their likely rivals for that seed, Eastern Kentucky.
Both teams do have the danger of looking ahead. While Austin Peay needs a win now, beating Belmont would be at worst a moral victory for a team that hasn’t had many victories of any sort as of late. Tennessee State travels to Murray State in two days, in a rematch of last year’s OVC title game.
Not a moment too soon for a late season push, Robert Covington has returned to the TSU lineup. And it didn’t seem the senior forward needs too much time to shake off the rust, putting up 17 points in his return against Tennessee Tech. The question now is how do the Tigers, who played great while he was out, adjust to him being back in the lineup. Patrick Miller and Kellen Thorton were asked to score more, and delivered. Are they still go to guys on offense, or do they defer to Covington?
There are also still question swirling after the Tigers recent loss against Morehead State. Tennessee State was outrebounded, turned the ball over, and allowed the Eagles to shoot 48% from the field. TSU has lived more by their offense than their defense, but if there’s one thing the Governors can do, it’s score.
I said this after Saturday’s game against Murray State, but I feel it bears repeating: If Austin Peay played every game with the intensity they played in both of their games against the Racers, there’s no question in my mind the Governors wouldn’t be at the bottom of the conference.
But they haven’t. And they are at the bottom.
All season, I’ve been waiting for the Governors to click, and make their move. And now, it just doesn’t seem likely. Either that or they’ll only start to do so only in time to play spoiler.
Three-point shooting, on the Governors high points all season, has really struggled of late. Travis Betran, a 43% 3-point shooter this season, is 9-33 (27%) from behind the arc in his last five games. Anthony Campbell is still shooting 40%, but the teams shooting from long range has dropped off somewhat from earlier in the season. With their defense hiding in the shadows on virtually every play, Austin Peay has to find ways to score to win games.