Well, yesterday was fun. All five games go down to the wire, and based on Twitter many of you weren’t expecting many of those games to be that close. But I’d contend there was really one upset yesterday, and that was in Edwardsville as EKU fell to SIUE. In fact, Vegas agrees with me, as TSU and Austin Peay were slight favorites. So how does the chaos rank? Let’s count ’em down.
5. Eastern Illinois controls the game, but falls at home to Morehead State.
I wrote after the game that Morehead State didn’t look like a championship contender. After last night, none of the “contenders” did. But I’m not taking back what I said. The Eagles haven’t looked overly impressive in either of their road conference games, and they’ve got six more to go during conference season, against competition that’s considered much tougher. That being said, they have a chance to put EKU in a bind next Saturday, and luckily for them, round 1 is in Morehead.
4. Austin Peay uses a huge second half run to beat Southeast Missouri
I said it earlier, I’ll say it again: this wasn’t really an upset. Sure, SEMO was picked to win the West, but they haven’t played well for weeks now. They’re now 2-6 on the road, and have zero top RPI-200 wins. And you’re not going to win many games if you commit double the number of turnovers as your opponents. Southeast Missouri is going to win quite a few OVC games, but this wasn’t exactly shocking.
3. Belmont survives after TTU misses a last second shot, tip-in
There was a theme for the contenders who struggled yesterday: they couldn’t shoot the three. Need proof?
- Morehead State: 1-12 (8%)
- Belmont: 5-21 (24%)
- Eastern Kentucky: 5-17 (29%)
- Southeast Missouri: 7-22 (32%)
Belmont, which relies so much on the three, missed open look, after open look, after open look. You’re not going to have many chances to win against the Bruins with a sub 1.00 OPPP (TTU’s was 0.95) and the Bruins were lucky to survive on a very cold shooting night.
2. Tennessee State earns first Division I win over Jacksonville State
Vegas says this wasn’t an upset at all, but being it was the third time this year the previously winless against Division I Tigers were favored at home, and given their penchant for losing close games in OVC play, I was mildly shocked to see the Tigers pull this off. Of course, Patrick Miller led the charge. That much is expected.
1. Eastern Kentucky falls at SIUE
This was the true shocker of the night, and I’m sure most SIUE fans agree. Much like the Morehead State / Eastern Illinois game, the Colonels over-aggressive defense really hurt them as much as helped. When your not forcing turnovers, you generally give up easy buckets due to bad spacing, and that was the case all night. When the Colonels set their defense, they kept giving drivers the baseline, instead of forcing them inside where there’s help. Once again, EKU was hapless on rebounds, especially when Eric Stutz picked up his fourth foul early in the second half. They didn’t shoot the three particularly well, but it was their defense that really let them down.