UPDATE: The scheduling of Warren Wilson at Eastern Kentucky wasn’t actually made by Eastern Kentucky. The game was actually part of the Kennesaw State Tournament. By NCAA rules, if a non Division I opponent is used as part of a MTE (Multi-team event) then every team must play that team.
For those of you that are new to OVC Ball, one thing I can’t stand are these lopsided matchups against non-Division I teams. I see nothing but a chance to get your top players injured, because I can’t imagine you learn much of anything from those games.
They’re bad enough on their own. When they end with a 114-45 final? That just make me irate.
Warren Wilson 45, Eastern Kentucky 114
Eric Stutz got the start for the Colonels and played 15 minutes, so I think it’s safe to take him off injury watch. EKU forces 32 turnovers, and shoot 61% from the floor in the game that should have never been scheduled.
Olivet Nazarene 60, Eastern Illinois 67
The Panthers didn’t lose to an NAIA team! But as mentioned above, the worst thing that can happen in these games is injuries. Sherman Blandford appears to have sprained an ankle early in the game, and didn’t return. Hopefully that’s not a serious injury. Another reason the score might have been closer than expected: Reggie Smith was sick and didn’t play.
St. Louis 82, SIU Edwardsville 58
Speaking of injuries, there’s serious cause for concern for Kris Davis. He left early in the game and returned later in a walking boot. Despite the sold out crowd, SIU Edwardsville wasn’t able to make it much of a game, thanks in part to poor shooting, and poorer defense.
UT Martin 62, Arkansas State 72
So the Skyhawks lost again. Why am I still encouraged? Defending the Skyhawks right now requires one step: play zone, because without Myles Taylor on the inside, UTM can’t do much about it. The Skyhawks shoot a tepid 36% from the field, and 2-17 from three-point range. They win the battle of the board (although all the misses helped…) and Marshun Newell has another great night. I told you to keep an eye on him…
Three Point Shot
- Kudos to SIUE for shaking up their starting lineup this early in the season, although it didn’t seem to have the payoff they would have wanted. It’s hard to get too much of a read on this team, as they’ve faced stiff competition. It appears they’re deep, but don’t have that one or two go-to players. Not saying beware the Cougars, but I’m not sure they’re as bad as their scores indicate.
- Eastern Illinois, how do you get outrebounded by you NAIA opponent? Even without Blandford, you have two guys 6’11 or taller. Forget the poor shooting, or that if it weren’t for free throws you probably would have lost. You have be more physical than an NAIA team. Period. End of story.
- Fans, let me know: Am I wrong on the whole lesser division opponents thing? I’m not saying that shouldn’t be played ever, but Warren Wilson plays in a Division I’ve never heard of (the USCAA?) and was outscored 61-18 in the first half. You knew that was going to be a slaughter. At what point does that stop being fun?
Player of the Night: Marshun Newell, UT Martin. Skyhawks head coach Jason James would probably like me to stop talking up his JUCO transfer, but I can’t. He, along with Terence Smith, give the Skyhawks one of their best backcourts under James. 16 points, hits the only two UTM three’s on the night, and adds a team-high seven rebounds. He did take, and miss, a lot of shots (5-19 from the field) but still, I really like what he’s doing for this team, and when they’re healthy I think they’re going to challenge the OVC
Player of the Night in a loss (also): Donivine Stewart, SIUE. 14 points on 5-11 shooting in the loss to the Billikens, Stewart also played a game-high 32 minutes. He’s off to an okay start against good competition, averaging 11 points and 3 assists a game
Unsung Hero: Dennis Green, Eastern Illinois. He played 22 minutes off the bench, but finished with 17 points. He got to the free-throw line, hitting 9-11. The rest of the Panthers: 8-12.
Did you just refuse to name an EKU player because they played Warren Wilson?: Yes.
Team Trending Upward: No one. I want to put UT Martin here, but I need to see them at full strength, which will hopefully happen soon.
Teams Trending Downward: SIUE and Eastern Illinois. It doesn’t have to do with their play, simply their injuries. Hopefully Davis and Blandford can return soon for their respective teams.