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This wasn’t really the opening night I hoped for out of the OVC.

It wasn’t just that no road team won, or that Murray blew a double-digit first-half lead at home. It was how so many of these losses happened. Belmont, Murray, Morehead, Eastern Illinois, and even to a lesser extent UT Martin: they all had first half leads — most into the second half, but they couldn’t close out.

The Bruins’ final minute was a meltdown. The Racers, Eagles, and Panthers couldn’t hit seemingly any kind of shot. All four had opportunities to win, but none could close out their games. In the end, I’m hard pressed to say any team had a truly quality win on the season’s opening night.

In the end, these losses might not mean much — if anything. If there’s a positive to be had here: it’s that all these teams have had their first learning moment. The question: what will they take from these games? And what impact will it have going forward


Jacksonville State
0-1 (0-0 OVC)
1-0 (0-0 CUSA)


55 points isn’t going to win you a lot of college basketball games. Neither will 37% shooting from the floor, or a minus seven turnover ratio. The bright spot of the night: Avery Moore, who shot 6-9 from three point range. I honestly can’t remember the last great three-point shooter from Jacksonville State. If he can get threes — and the rest of the offense can put together some production, it gives the Gamecocks a nice dimension on offense.

0-1 (0-0 OVC)
Wright State
1-0 (0-0 Horizon)


It’s not that the Bruins didn’t win that puzzles me. It’s how. 21 turnovers? Poor end-game execution? That’s got to be frustrating Rick Byrd this morning. And where was the help off the bench? Four players combined for 63 of the Bruins 70 points. This was a weird game in the end: Belmont only shot 15 three’s, and out-rebounded the Raiders in a game that was played heavily in the paint. Reece Chamberlain has 12 rebounds to go along with his 18 points, and Evan Brads was 8-9 against the soft Wright State interior. It just didn’t add up to a victory in the end.

Savannah State
0-1 (0-0 MEAC)
Eastern Kentucky
1-0 (0-0 OVC)


It’s just one game — but EKU’s offense didn’t exactly get off to a rousing start. The Colonels win thanks in large part to forcing an obscene 33 turnovers from Savannah State, but the Tigers stayed in the game by hitting the few shots they got, and holding EKU under 40% from the field, and 20% from three-point range. Corey Walden did his part, scoring a game-high 20 points, but the question still remains: who else steps up to help?

Piedmont International
Tennessee Tech
1-0 (0-0 OVC)


Just looking at this score makes me mad — especially since we all but knew it was going to happen. Want to play a lower-division opponent? Go to Division II, or NAIA. This is simply unfair to everyone involved. If I have to put a silver lining on it — it’s that the entire TTU bench got quality minutes. But can we please stop scheduling teams from the NCCAA?

1-0 (0-0 CUSA)
Murray State
0-1 (0-0 OVC)


I’m betting Murray State will be working on zone offense in practice this week. The Racers were great early, but just couldn’t ever pull away once they got a double-digit lead. Make no mistake: Houston had more video on Murray, a team that returned virtually everyone, than Murray had on Houston, who returned next to no one. You can blame cold shooting — but don’t ignore the Racers shot selection. 35 three-point attempts on 64 shots is far too high — especially when you only hit six of them.

1-0 (0-0 OVC)


Not sure we learned a lot from this one. SIUE gets off to a slow start, which is fairly standard in these type games given it’s the Cougars first game, Harris-Stowe’s third or fourth. Nothing jumped out as particularly noteworthy, other than a reminder that SIUE is still a good three-point shooting team.

Tennessee State
1-0 (0-0 OVC)


You obviously like what Tennessee State was able to do in the second half against Reinhardt, but how worried should you be about the first? Not much, in my view. It’s not like we didn’t know this was a rebuilding effort, and it’s the first real game for a bunch of kids who have never played together. The fact they seemed to fix some of their own wrinkles after just 20 minutes is a bit encouraging, to be honest. TSU’s 18 turnovers is a bit noteworthy — but again, not all unsurprising.

Eastern Illinois
0-1 (0-0 OVC)
Missouri State
1-0 (0-0 MVC)


In an eight minute span — this went from the shocker of the night, to just another road OVC loss on opening night. That’s how long EIU’s second half scoring drought lasted, as the Panthers spoiled an amazing defensive start against Missouri State. They had zero answer for Marcus Marshall, who finished with 38 points. One thing that would make the offense better? Getting to the free-throw line. The Panthers had just five free-throw attempts on the night, to Missouri State’s 25.

Southeast Missouri
0-1 (0-0 OVC)
1-0 (0-0 WCC)


You may have noticed I didn’t lump this game in Murray’s, Belmont’s and Morehead State’s, despite it being on a similar trajectory. SEMO was down two starters — one to injury, another to suspension, and still gave LMU a strong challenge on the road. Clearly the firepower wasn’t there, as the Redhawks shoot just 4-20 from three-point range. This may be the first time in history, though, a team lost with just three turnovers. (It’s probably not, but that’s still an impressively low turnover total)

UT Martin
0-1 (0-0 OVC)
1-0 (0-0 Big East)


This game wasn’t ever really close after the first 10 or so minutes, but I wouldn’t say it wasn’t competitive. If you’re a UT Martin fan, you’re highly encouraged by the Skyhawks winning the battle on the boards, and getting to the free-throw line. You’re less happy that Myles Taylor couldn’t stay out of foul trouble, or that your team was just 15-26 (57.7%) at the charity stripe. Overall, though, this is encouraging — I don’t think last year’s team would have competed this strongly.

Morehead State
0-1 (0-0 OVC)
1-0 (0-0 MWC)


Let’s start with the good news: the Eagles rebounding was better, just six offensive turnovers is amazing, and you had a chance to win it in the final seconds. The bad news: you can’t win if your offense hits just 30% from the field, and for the third consecutive season, it’s already looking like defending without fouling could be a bit of an issue. Let’s not forget, through, Morehead was down three players as well — and they had UNLV on the ropes in a very tough place to say. Still, a disappointing “what could have been” moment for the Eagles as they return home.

  1. Matt Metsker:
    Correction: Reece Chamberlain had 12 REBOUNDS in the Bruins game against Wright State. Belmont as a team only had five assists.
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


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


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