Eastern Kentucky and Southeast Missouri State came into the season as overwhelming favorites to win their respective divisions. Half way through conference play they have a combined eight losses and neither teamis even in second place.
EKU has had the tougher schedule, 2 of their 3 losses came to Belmont and Murray State both of which are tied for first place. They’ve looked really good against Belmont and they have looked awful against SIUe and Murray State.
Yet, even with 3 losses through their first eight OVC games, EKU has an outside shot at winning the East and an even better shot at getting a bye in the OVC tournament, which they could conceivably still win.
The Colonel’s have a favorable schedule the rest of the way and with having their toughest opponent (Morehead State) at home, there is no reason to think they can’t win out.
SEMO, on the other hand, need a strong second half of the OVC slate just to get a bye and their schedule isn’t as easy. The Redhawks still have to play EKU, make the Illinois road trip, play Murray State and go to Austin Peay.
All of those games are potential losses and if they do drop all five, they won’t be making a trip to the Music City.
Last night was more the norm than an anomaly for the Redhawks. They fell behind to EIU by 12 at the Show Me Center and rallied to make it look respectable.
Those picking the Redhawks in the preseason could not have thought SEMO’s defense would have been this poor. They currently rank 319th out of 320th in points allowed which is completely negating the fact they are ranked 18th in points scored at 82.5 points per game.
In my opinion, Southeast Missouri State is still a dangerous team. If they could figure out this whole defensive debacle, it’s not crazy to think they could finish conference play 11-5 and winners of their last nine.
However, the bottom line is this. Last season these two schools met in the Quarterfinals of the OVC Tournament, they would both be fortunate to see that round again in 2014.