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When: Saturday, December 28th 2 PM CT
Where: Lantz Arena, Charleston Illinois
TV: OVC Digital Network
Spread: Eastern Illinois -1

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Ohio Valley Conference play is finally here! That’s about all the reasons we have to make this match-up the OVCBall Game of the Week as these two teams have a combined record of 4-20 heading into tomorrows game. Matter of fact both teams were winless until EIU got a win on the 17th of November. But, around 4 PM central time tomorrow, one of these teams will be first in the OVC. With the return of conference play these schools can now start over with a clean slate and look to make a run that they hope will have them playing at Municipal Auditorium on a Saturday.

(For more on these two teams check out the OVC Outlooks Tennessee State Eastern Illinois )

Likely Matchups

     Eastern Illinois Basketball Headline            Tennessee State Basketball Headline

Chris Olivier    vs     M.J. Rhett 

Olvier just joined the team on December 19th and in his first two games, has scored 18 points on 8 of 16 shooting from the field. Rhett comes in averaging over 10 points and nearly 10 boards a game. We’ve yet to see a whole lot of Olivier this season but from what we know, he’s a a guy with decent size and ability. However, M.J. Rhett has been one of the few bright spots for the Tigers this season and the 6’9″ Junior has the upperhand in this match-up.

ADVANTAGE: Tennessee State

Sherman Blanford vs Kennedy Eubanks

Blanford has been on fire the last three games. Averaging 15 points and 8.7 rebounds in the games versus Indiana State, Wright State and IPFW. The 6-6 junior also leads the Panthers in rebounds and Blanford will continue to clean the glass this week if he’s matched up with Eubanks. Blanford has 3o pounds on the Tigers’ forward.

ADVANTAGE: Eastern Illinois

Dennis Green vs Jamonte Graham

In a battle of two freshmen, Dennis Green has looked more impressive so far. Although Jamonte Graham is coming off a career high game where he scored 12 points, 9 of which came from threes. Still, Dennis Green is who we thought he was. 

ADVANTAGE: Eastern Illinois

Reggie Smith vs Patrick Miller

Neither of these guards are what you would call three point shooters. Miller takes almost twice as many attempts from long range but both players are shooting under 30% from deep. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t put points on the board. Patrick Miller has scored in double figures every game this season, including a 30 point performance against New Mexico State. Smith averages 12 points per game but is not nearly as aggressive as his counter part.

ADVANTAGE: Tennessee State

Alex Austin vs Jaleel Queary

Alex Austin has scored in double figures 17 times since playing his first game in a Panther uniform and the sophomore had one of his most memorable games of last season against TSU. Austin scored 16 points in that contest. Another thing on Austin’s side is the fact that this game is at home where Austin is averaging almost 14 points per game and shoots 50% from three.

ADVANTAGE: Eastern Illinois

Bench

Neither teams bench has been all that impressive this season. In their last contest EIU got 11 points from their bench while TSU got just 8 from theirs. Eastern Illinois does have more depth, giving them the advantage.

ADVANTAGE: Eastern Illinois

Game Analysis

Tennessee State hasn’t beat a D-1 opponent yet this season and Eastern Illinois has only beat one. Against Division One opponents TSU has scored more than 70 points twice and EIU has done it once. So I guess it’s fair to say that this game is going to be in the 60’s but will be close. EIU has to continue to not turn the ball over as they had only 6 turnovers against IPFW after coughing it up 21 times against Wright State. If they can do that and with the game being at home, they should be able to start off 1-0 in the OVC.

Prediction

 Eastern Illinois 67    Tennessee State 63

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Next time you’re in Murray check out Mary’s Kitchen Open 24 hours serving breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees all day. See if you can handle the hottest sandwich in town the “Danero Habanero”.


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OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVCOverall

EAST

Belmont8-014-4
Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14

WEST

UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
SEMO5-310-13
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12
SIUE0-85-17
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