There’s just one game on the schedule tonight, an on-face it might not mean much. Belmont is heavily favored despite SIUE’s gaudy home record, and neither team is at risk of missing the OVC Tournament.
But both teams do have something to play for. SIUE is looking to gain the five-seed, or potentially even the four, but that task grows much taller, if not impossible, with a loss tonight. There may not seem to be much of a difference between the one and two-seed for the Bruins, but with the one-seed comes a backup plan: an automatic NIT birth.
SIUE’s home dominance is something of an anomaly this year; Not that they’re much better at home, but the dichotomy between their home and road record. Five other OVC teams have nine or more wins at home: Belmont, Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, and Murray State. They’re a combined 45-11 at home, and 33-35 on the road.
Then there’s the Cougars: 9-3 at home, 2-12 on the road.
They’re obviously not the team with a great home only team to be sub .500 on the road: Tennessee Tech is 5-8, Murray State 4-8. But in conference play, Murray State is 4-2 away from the CFSB Center, Tennessee Tech 3-3 outside Cookeville. SIUE? 2-6.
It’s hard to really hone in on a cause. Home court advantage exists, but how it actually helps is obviously untestable. When these kind of splits generally happen, pundits rush to say it shows a teams inexperience, and while the Cougars aren’t exactly a “young” team, they haven’t won on a Division I level like this previously. SIUE fans are far from the conference’s attendance leaders, but they have a smaller gym, that’s much more conducive to noise than other larger, empty arenas.
There is the travel. SIUE is essentially a “corner” of the conference, requiring almost every other team to make a longer than usual road trip.
It’s an interesting case, one that will only get more so if the conference favorites leave Edwardsville with a loss.
In discussions about the OVC tournament over the past few weeks, one topic keeps arising: Does the OVC Tournament have to be in Nashville?
And more specifically, does it have to be in Municipal Auditorium?
The answer is mostly no, but it does make sense. It wasn’t always hosted in Nashville, after all.
It does makes sense to be in Nashville, though, because that’s where the OVC offices are. These tournaments aren’t ready-made, what you don’t see is the countless hours of work behind the scenes by OVC staff working to make sure everything is in order, and it’s not an easy task. If things are forgotten, or things go wrong, it’s much easier to be in the city where your offices are.
It’s also better for costs, as you don’t have to transport your entire conference staff. It’s also fairly central, at least about as central as you can get for a very spread out conference.
But “Why not Bridgestone?” some ask, where the OVC has hosted the tournament in the past. Assuming it wasn’t already booked by a larger conference, (i.e. SEC women) Here’s my question: Why would the OVC pay more money for a bigger arena when they’re not close to filling the one they’re in?
If you’re thinking they’d get more fans in a nicer arena, you’re fooling yourself. The attendance in Bridgestone wasn’t remarkably higher than years in Municipal.
Really think about it for a minute before you rush to the comment section to complain about the arena. (If you haven’t already…) Where else could they go? Going back to OVC schools really makes the conference look small time, and is a nightmare for television when they don’ t know where they’re going until the top seed is locked. They can’t go to another college campuses, because they’re mostly being used by other schools whose tournaments are later.
It may not be the best option in the world. It’s sure not my favorite arena. But the arguments about it making the conference “look bad?” It really doesn’t.
On TV, it doesn’t look notably worse than many small-conference tournaments.
And empty seats look bad no matter how nice the arena is.
ESPN polled 128 college football coaches on the new proposed “10-second” rule in college football, and the results were far from surprising.
(As a reminder, the proposal would require the offense to allow 10 seconds to run off the play clock between plays, except near the end of each half)
73% of the coaches said they were opposed to the change. Just 20% were in favor, with the remaining 7% undecided.
It’s hard not to get the feeling that this rule has little to do with safety, and more to do with powerful coaches who despise up-tempo football to tilt the game back in their favor. In the FCS, especially, where high-tempo and high-scoring offenses are such a great weapon, (see: Eastern Illinois) the rule would assuredly hinder more than it would help.
And I’m not 100% sold this will help defenses. The idea is to give defenses a chance to change players on every play. But how often do you think defensive players can fully sub and be set in less than 10 seconds.
The exception is first downs, which would be longer than 10-seconds. (The 10 seconds, much like the play clock, wouldn’t start until the ball was set) While the rule changes for the final few minutes of the fourth, how often do we see a team down two-touchdowns or more try to go up-tempo with seven or eight minutes left?
It’s a bad rule. The vast majority of coaches know it’s a bad rule. Now we just need the NCAA rules committee to listen.