The final week of the regular season is here, and the race for the OVC tournament is down to three-teams for two spots. We’ve posted our full list of tiebreaker scenarios, but here’s what it boils down to:
All three-teams control their own destiny.
That may sound impossible, but thanks to Austin Peay playing SEMO on Thursday, it’s not.
If SEMO beats Austin Peay, they’re in, regardless of Saturday’s game at Murray State. If Austin Peay wins out, they’re in. If Eastern Illinois beats SIUE, they’re in. Every team is still in control. The only reason a team has to scoreboard watch is if they lose.
That being said, there is some reason to watch Wednesday’s game between Belmont and SIUE. A Cougars win keeps SIUE alive to finish ahead of Tennessee Tech in the standings, which could affect tiebreakers. It would benefit Eastern Illinois for an upset win in Edwardsville. SEMO and Austin Peay will be pushing for the Bruins.
Of course, if Tennessee Tech wins one of their final two, it doesn’t really matter.
It’s week three of my Most Outstanding Player power rankings, and I’m not making a change at the top. I am, though, moving a freshman back onto the list, and high up there.
After Murray State’s dismantling of Morehead State Saturday, the theme from at least one sportswriter was clear: Payne should be in the conversation for most outstanding player. Without a doubt, Payne was the most dominant guard on the floor on Saturday. I still don’t think the freshman will win the award, though. But I do feel a bit silly for dropping him out of last week’s rankings.
This week’s top 5:
- J.J. Mann (last week: 1)
- Cameron Payne (last week: NR)
- Glenn Cosey (last week: 2)
- Jarekious Bradley (last week: 4)
- Angelo Warner (last week: 3)
I think more so than in the past weeks, we can really start narrowing the potential candidates to the top four, maybe even the top two. Again, being a great player on a great team gives a player an edge, and with Morehead’s loss on Saturday, the top two teams in the conference seem pretty clear.
I do think Mann being a senior could be a factor, also. Payne has three more years to win the award. Mann? It’s his last shot. While I don’t it’s the determining factor, I wouldn’t be surprised if one coach or AD had that very thought while writing his ballot.
It should be noted: a freshman has never won the OVC’s most outstanding player.
We will do a final MOP Power Rankings after Saturday’s action.
Eastern Illinois rolled over Chicago State last night on senior night, in a game that had to be scheduled so the Panthers could honor their seniors in the month of February.
Alright, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But not by much.
If it weren’t for this meaningless game, EIU’s senior night, their final home game of the year would have been…February 8th. The season ends March 1st.
This is embarrassing. It really is. I know I’ve ranted on EIU’s schedule before, with no scheduled home games in the final three-weeks of the season, but I hadn’t even thought about senior night until yesterday. Eastern Illinois athletic director has to demand this summer the schedules be adjusted, so this doesn’t happen again.
BTW: The win moved the OVC to a 4-6 record against the WAC this year. Given the OVC lost the first four (after I joked about the WAC neither being western or really all that athletic) that’s not a bad record.
Oh, and setting up the Panthers / Cougars season finale? SIUE lost to Chicago State 17. EIU beat them by 22. Just a note.