Need more proof just how uneven the conference is? Just look at this past weekend. SEMO leads most of the game on the road in Richmond before just falling apart in the final four minutes; Murray State leads by 17 in the first half, only to see that lead erased with 10 minutes to go; SIUE blows a lead on the road at Eastern Illinois; Tennessee Tech goes from losing to the worst team in the conference to beating the division leaders.
This is happening week in and week out now. Wednesday, it was Morehead State leading all but the final 13 seconds against the Bruins. The Saturday before, SEMO trails by 15 in the second half, only to lose by 3 to EIU; Morehead State needs overtime to top Tennessee State; Eastern Kentucky battles from 25 down, losing to Belmont by 3 in Nashville. The chaos has become the norm in the Ohio Valley Conference.
While it makes for great theater, when you see that most of the conference has an RPI over 300, it doesn’t say great things about it’s overall strength. Basketball has always been about runs, but this is very severe. So why is it happening?
It’s the defense. No team in the OVC this season has a solid, consistent defensive presence this year. Really think about the games from this weekend I mentioned above.
- Murray State and Austin Peay combine to score 184 points, shoot 55% and 50% respectively
- EKU shoots 6-7 from three-point range down the stretch, including the game winner
- Tennessee Tech scores 80 points for the first time since January 9th, takes 47 free-throw attempts
- Eastern Illinois scores 46 points in the second half, shooting 56% from the floor in the final 20 minutes
Any of that sound like good defense to you?
The new rules probably deserve part of the blame. But I wouldn’t place it solely on that, especially given how streaky these team’s defenses are. Murray State locked down Austin Peay in the first 10 minutes, but didn’t for most of the rest of the game. SEMO held EKU to 3-16 shooting from behind the arc until that final barrage. EIU shot just 40% in the first half. Teams are playing good defense in waves. Just not for 40 minutes.
If I’m selecting one big winner for the weekend, it’s Eastern Kentucky. The race is back on in the East Division, and with the Bruins hosting Murray State on Thursday, it’s possible the Colonels could be tied with the Bruins before the week is over. This year, more than ever, the double-bye looks hugely important, as every team’s ability to win three or four straight seems questionable.
The big loser of the weekend: SEMO. That loss hurts, and could have major implications. But that being said, I’m not writing off the Redhawks.
To get to 7-9, which is what we’re expecting to be needed to make the OVC tournament, SEMO needs to go 4-3 down the stretch. Sounds easy enough, except for that the Redhawks haven’t won four games in conference yet. They do have four at home, hosting UT Martin, Jacksonville State, Austin Peay, and Murray State. If they can take three of those, do you feel confident they can beat either SIUE, Eastern Illinois, or UTM on the road?
The schedule is set up well for them down the stretch. Even at this point, if they don’t make the tournament, they really only have themselves to blame.
I’m not sure which was worse last night: the Super Bowl, or the commercials? The game was a rout, and the commercials were not memorable.
(Yep, this isn’t going to be OVC related in the least. It’s only the most watched sporting event. You’ll get over it.)
Editors Note: Most watched in the US. I forget soccer exists.
In the past few years, we’ve seen some “inspirational” ads really get a lot of press. It’s every company saw that, and went ‘hey, we should make something inspirational too.’ And when you have nothing but inspirational ads, it’s…well it’s boring.
I miss funny Budweiser ads. (And Bud Light’s were awful last night) Geico, normally quite funny, ran an old ad. Radio Shack at least was able to make fun of itself, and relive my childhood a bit. (I remember the California Raisins) There was the Seinfeld ad at halftime for…something. (A website, I think. I really don’t remember) And…was that it? Was that all for the funny ads?
I have to imagine there are a lot of advertising departments today wondering how much money they really wasted last night. I figured we’d all talk about the commercials we liked today. But I have a feeling that’s going to be a really short conversation…