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The top four have survived, and after a rather sedate start to the OVC Tournament, this is where the fun could very well begin. A three-seed with a better conference record than the two, and a one-seed that’s already fell once this year to the four-seed. Let the games, and maybe even the upsets, begin.

 

[4] Tennessee State 18-13 (11-5) vs [1] Belmont 24-6 (12-2)
6:00 p.m. CST
Teams Split Season Series 1-1

The battle for Nashville, round three should be the biggest yet, as the Bruins and Tigers play with a spot in the tournament finals on the line. Both teams won their home matchup, (all of five miles away from one another) with TSU getting the latest win about three weeks ago.

If both the first two matchups, the Tigers outrebounded the Bruins, and held the Bruins at or under 45% shooting, both things they’ll look to do tonight. Kellen Thorton had double-doubles in both of those games, and forward Robert Covington played only in the Tigers win over the Bruins. Tennessee State has struggled with turnovers in both previous matchups, as they really have for most of the year, and they’ll need to improve in that department tonight.

Belmont hasn’t shot especially well against Tennessee State this year, especially in their loss when they hit just 5-26 from 3-point range. But they also don’t get to the free throw line. They don’t have the size to challenge the Tigers bigs, and so they’re left looking for jump shots and not getting aggressive, and driving the basketball.They had just 10 free throw attempts in their last meeting, a number that’s going to put the Bruins in some trouble if it’s repeated today.

 

[3] Eastern Kentucky 24-8 (12-4) vs [2] Murray State 20-9 (10-6)
8:00 p.m. CST
EKU Won Season Series 1-0

The first matchup didn’t go Murray State’s way in the least. Eastern Kentucky jumped out to a huge first half lead, and held on as the Racers tried to make a second-half rally. To add insult to injury, that game was played in Murray.

Murray State has been sliding as of late, but it’s also worth pointing out the Racers haven’t had much to play for. The Racers wrapped up the West Division seemingly in December, and it didn’t really feel like they were in the race for the season championship even when they were mathematically still in the running. We’ve seen the Racers “turn it on” so to speak this season, and we’ve seen how they play when they don’t. The question is, can they, and will they turn it on in Nashville. It’s now or never, right?

The first matchup was also one of Ed Daniel worst of the season, scoring just 4 points and pulling down 6 rebounds. EKU’s frontcourt has been a relative weakness all season, and Murray State must get more from Daniel and Brandon Garrett. Murray State was also missing LaTreze Mushatt during that matchup as well, giving Murray State another capable rebounder for this matchup.

Eastern Kentucky has a lot of confidence, and earned a solid win last night despite not having the most solid shooting night. It was their defense that was especially impressive, and if they can get that same effort tonight, they could succeed against a offensively struggling Racers squad. If they get shots to fall, it could be a very long night for Murray State. Mike DiNunno and Glenn Cosey both had good nights in the first round, and the Colonels could use their guards hitting shots tonight.


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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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