11-14 (5-6 OVC)
18-9 (9-3 OVC)
|7 p.m. EST|
It seems appropriate at this point of the season these previews start off with what’s at stake. A win by Austin Peay would move the Governors to 6-7, into third in the West and for now a half game above Eastern Illinois. Perhaps more importantly, given their schedule the final two weeks, it puts Austin Peay one and a half games above Southeast Missouri.
For Morehead, a win moves them one step closer to sealing the three-seed in the OVC tournament, and avoiding a potential rematch with the Bruins until the final. They would move two and a half games up on Eastern Kentucky, with just three to go.
The battle inside is one to watch for Austin Peay. They score a higher proportion of their points inside than any team in the OVC, but face against a Morehead State defense that leads the league in 2-point defense. Somewhat interestingly, it hasn’t translated to the other side of the ball for the Governors. Sure, they’re 2nd in the OVC in blocked shots thanks in part to Chris Horton‘s 3+ a game, but Austin Peay has allowed teams to shoots better than 53% inside the arc, ranking just 8th in league play.
Free throws will be another major concern for the Governors. Austin Peay is the worst free-throw shooting team in the league, against a rather foul-happy Morehead State team. The good news here is that Austin Peay is one of the best at not fouling, and going up against a team that hits better than 76% from the line in OVC play, that’s very good news indeed. The not as good news: no team is better at getting to the line than the Eagles.
Morehead’s offense is predicated off their pressure defense, but there’s a theme from the offensive side of the ball in all three of their losses: turnovers. 17 and 16 in two losses to Belmont and 20 in their loss to Eastern Kentucky. It’s been a concern all year: Morehead State ranks in the bottom ten nationally in turnover percentage. Their pressure defense hasn’t been as effective at forcing turnovers in conference play, either, putting the Eagles on the wrong side of the equation more often than not.
The Governors are in an interesting situation: double-digit road underdogs in need of wins. You could argue that Morehead State nearly got caught sleeping last week at Jacksonville State, and with not a lot to play for (they’re not catching Belmont without a lot of help) it could mark a better than average chance for Austin Peay to steal a needed win on the road.