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There are only two OVC games against Division I opponents today, but both have an opportunity to state an early case for their respective goals. Murray State is coming off a incredibly tough loss at home against Houston — but goes to play an MTSU team that’s been among the top mid-majors over the past few years. Tennessee State gets to host the first of five games Southern Illinois will play against the OVC.

The Racers want to show they’re still the team to beat in the West Division — and not give the rest of the division the feeling there’s an opening to finally knock Murray State from the top of the ladder. Tennessee State wants to show they belong — that they’re not just cannon fodder for the second straight year. (Sometimes, even fodder gets four conference wins)

Perception matters — especially when we’re talking about 19 and 20-year olds. Two teams have some say over theirs tonight.


 

Kentucky Christian
NAIA
Eastern Kentucky
1-0 (0-0 OVC)
6:00 p.m. CST

By The Numbers

This shouldn’t be much of a contest — but I’m curious to see how EKU’s offense is against lower division competition. The Colonels struggled in their season opener against a Savannah State team coming off a 12-win year, shooting just 40% from the floor and hitting an uncharacteristic 5-26 from three-point range. If they force another 33 turnovers, (it’s not out of the question) this could be over quickly.


 

Southern Illinois
0-1 (0-0 MVC)
Tennessee State
1-0 (0-0 OVC)
7:00 p.m. CST

By The Numbers

SIU is nearly a double-digit favorite on the road at Tennessee State, who have to get off to a better start than they did against Reinhardt. They also have to hit free-throws: TSU shot better from three-point range than it did from the charity stripe. There’s a reason SIU is 9.5 point favorites — they nearly took down SLU in St. Louis. The Tigers will have to contend with forward Sean O’Brien, coming off a double-double, and TSU doesn’t have a lot of size, and Anthony Beane can be a threat for the Saluki backcourt.  TSU’s offense found it’s rhythm early against Reinhardt, but the defense needed a spark. They need both to show up early tonight.


 

Murray State
0-1 (0-0 OVC)
Middle Tennessee State
1-0 (0-0 CUSA)
7:00 p.m. CST

By The Numbers

If Murray State’s first six or seven shots aren’t from inside 15-feet, I’ll be shocked. The Racers went away from the inside game against Houston zone, settling for 25 three-point attempts in their loss to the Colonels. They have an outstanding frontcourt in Jarvis Williams and Jonathan Fairell, and they need them to be involved. The guards need to be more aggressive as well, and not afraid to drive against the opposing defense, even if it’s a zone. The Blue Raiders didn’t blow away either lower division team they played, (One exhibition, one an exhibition that counts) but we know Reggie Upshaw can be dangerous, and MTSU likes the three-ball as well.


 

Hannibal-LaGrange
NAIA
Southeast Missouri
0-2 (0-0 OVC)
7:00 p.m. CST

By the Numbers

I’ve made my feelings about non-Division opponents quite clear over the years — but SEMO needs this kind of game. They’re already banged up, and coming off a tough road swing where they couldn’t really play Redhawk basketball. They should fill up the stat sheet tonight — and that’s alright. Josh Langford will be back for SEMO, but it doesn’t appear Jarekious Bradley will play — he’s not listed as a likely starter in the team’s game notes.


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OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11


2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall

EAST

Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19

WEST

UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24


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