Over the next few days, we’ll look at some issues surrounding this week’s Ohio Valley Conference tournament. We start today with a look into the OVC Tournament’s history, and what it can tell us about predicting a champion.
Momentum. It’s defined as the impetus gained by a moving object, and it’s a buzz word used often this time of year. Who has it, who doesn’t. But does it really matter?
According to OVC Tournament history, it very well might.
To try and determine the effect on momentum, I looked back at the past twelve years, dating back to 2000. Teams, and the tournament format have changed, but a lot has remained remarkably consistent.
- No team since 2000 has won back-to-back OVC Tournament Titles
- The one-seed has won seven of the 12 titles. No seed lower than a 3-seed has won any.
And then I took it a step further. How did those 12 tournament champions fare in the last part of the season. I looked specifically at two things: Their record over the last six-regular season games (3-weeks, give or take) and their win streak heading into the tournament. And again, very consistent:
- No OVC Tournament champion since 2000 lost their regular season finale.
- And none were worse than 4-2 in the final six games.
So, how does this field stack up? Let’s go seed by seed, looking just at last six games, and win streak.
- Belmont (5-1) W4
- Murray State (2-4) L2
- Eastern Kentucky (4-2) L1
- Tennessee State (3-3) W1
- Morehead State (3-3) L1
- Southeast Missouri (4-2) W2
- Eastern Illinois (4-2) W3
- UT Martin (3-3) L1
Only one top-3 seed is over .500 in their last six, and won their season finale, and that’s the top overall seed, Belmont. Outside the top three, only Southeast Missouri and Eastern Illinois also met the last two criteria.
History is far from an accurate predictor of the future games, and we’ve seen quite a few historical streaks end throughout the year.
But does momentum matter? It appears it might. And right now, only Belmont appears to have the momentum, and seed to be a tournament champion. We’ll see if history repeats itself starting on Wednesday.