I do want to start off with a quick apology — we got the season off to a hot start, and really struggled mid-week with updates. If you missed my post on twitter, I was dealing with a few personal issues that had to be taken care of, and that cost me a lot of time. I want to thank everyone who has been tweeting me updates throughout the week, and reached out with their kind thoughts. Those issues have been taken care of, and we’re ready to start ramping up coverage again, including the resumption of the Daily 3.
Today marks the beginning of Week 2 of the college basketball season. The OVC is 4-17 against Division I teams.
Of course, the first week is filled with money games, the games you’re not expected to win. But those games aren’t what’s concerning — it’s that the OVC continues to lose close games — often after holding a late league. Examples:
- Houston 77, Murray State 74. Racers led by as much as 11 in the first half, six in the second.
- Morehead State 61, Cincinnati 69. The chance was there.
- UC Davis 63, Eastern Illinois 61. Panthers stormed back from early deficits in both halves.
- Austin Peay 70, WKU 77. Governors within three in final minute.
- Belmont 70, Wright State 73. Belmont imploded in final 24 seconds.
- Eastern Illinois 53, Missouri State 64. Panthers jumped out early, led into the second half, had 8 minute scoring drought.
- Austin Peay 67, Samford 68. Missed free-throw gives Samford shot for the win, instead of overtime.
- IPFW 74, SIUE 71. Another second-half scoring drought dropped an OVC team.
So, what about close wins? There’s one, UT Martin charging back from an 18-point deficit to top Arkansas State on the road.
If half of those went the OVC’s way, we’re feeling a bit better about the first week. It’s almost amazing, in a completely negative way, how every OVC team has struggled to close out games.
To compare. Last year, the league was 60-98 (.380) against Division I. And that was a down year.
Former Eastern Illinois head football coach Dino Babers is at Bowling Green now. Bowling Green’s men basketball team will be playing Eastern Illinois in the near future.
Coincidence? Nope, not even close.
USA Today is that Bowling Green received its football coach for a discount in trade for a basketball game. Essentially, EIU had a buyout clause if Babers left early, which he did. Instead of making Bowling Green pay the full $170,000 buyout, they discounted it by $85,000 in return for a basketball game.
That game is expected to be played in the next two seasons.
The 80-point wins need to stop.
Tennessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky and UT Martin all have an embarassing win this season — and while this is collegiate athletics, and we’re not really concerned that much with self-esteem and all that, there’s absolutely no reason to schedule teams from the NCCAA. None. Period.
What are you learning from those game? You get repetition, you get minutes for the 10th and 11th men on the bench — but you get the same against and NAIA or an NCAA Division II team. Only in those games, you go up against competitive teams that might actually present a bit of a challenge, so your team can actually improve, and might provide the fans with a reason to show up.
Over my four seasons covering the OVC, I’ve made my feelings on playing two non-DI’s a year pretty clear: I get why they’re necessary, but I don’t like them. These kind of games, playing Piedmont International or Champion Baptist, are in no way necessary, no way helpful, and don’t make your team look amazing, they make your team, and the league, look foolish — because everyone knows why you scheduled them.
You scheduled them so you could win by 80.
Good job. Mission Accomplished.