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I’m not sure any team in the league has shares the personality of their coach more than Morehead State and Sean Woods. They play with the same intensity and fire Woods shows on the bench — and it’s often divisive among opposing fans.

That’s probably putting it kindly.

Whether you like the fiery Woods and his Eagles or not, there’s no debating his teams success during his tenure so far. Last year’s Morehead State team held a ton of promise, but simply ran out of steam down the stretch.

When you play at that level — that’s going to happen if you don’t have the depth. This year — that’s not expected to be as much of a problem. Three Division I transfers become eligible, in addition to new players expected to make an immediate impact, adding solid depth to the roster.

That depth does take a bit of a knock tonight. LSU transfer Jalen Courtney will not play with a knee injury, and Corban Collins could miss the game with a concussion.

That doesn’t mean the Eagles don’t have options. Returning starters Kareem Story and Angelo Warner will anchor the backcourt, along with Brent Arrington, and 6’3 freshman Miguel Dicent could see significant minutes. Dicent hit double-digit scoring in 18 minutes in the Eagles exhibition tilt against St. Catherine, Arrington was 9-13 from the field. Inside, there are new names, but a lot of promise. Karam Mashour pulled down 19 rebounds in 29 minutes in that exhibition.

That being said, Morehead just edged St. Catherine on the boards. Rebounding has long been a strength of Morehead State team, and Woods says rebounding is a concern — but expects it to get better.

It better, quickly. UNLV pulled down a ridiculous 64 rebounds in the exhibition win over Florida National.

Last year’s Morehead State team held a ton of promise, but simply ran out of steam down the stretch.

There are a lot of question surrounding the Rebels after another summer filled with players leaving the program — and only one by graduation. This isn’t new: three OVC programs, including Morehead State, (Mashour) have a transfer from UNLV on their current roster. As a result, nearly 80% of the team’s scoring from last season is gone.

That’s not to say there’s not talent. Head coach Dave Rice brought in a recruiting class rated among the top five in the country.

UNLV picked up a notable transfer as well: former San Francisco guard Cody Doolin. Doolin graduated from San Francisco in May, and started in 104 games for the Dons. He was granted a competition waiver, and can play immediately for the Rebels.

The Rebels top returning scorer, Jelan Kendrick, was just an occasional starter last year, and averaged 6.3 points in 20 minutes a game. He knows a bit about transferring himself, coming to UNLV by way of Memphis and Ole Miss.

Regardless of the personnel, we know what to expect out of a Dave Rice-coached team: they want to run. Fast. Faster than Morehead fast.

If you like points — the OVC nightcap is the game for you.

Morehead is a trendy pick to upend Belmont in the East, and maybe even tackle Murray State for the conference title. This is a team widely expected to be good. Tonight — we’ll get our first look at just how good they could be.


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OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVCOverall

EAST

Belmont8-014-4
Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14

WEST

UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
SEMO5-310-13
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12
SIUE0-85-17
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