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Last night felt good.

Belmont returned to form, UT Martin pulls one absolutely out of the fire, no one struggled against a non-Division I opponent. It wasn’t perfect, (Looking at you, SIUE) but it wasn’t the relative disaster that last Friday night was.

Except for you, Jacksonville State — we’re just going to act like that didn’t happen, because that would happen to a lot of the OVC. 

But the lacks a quality win, at least on paper. There’s little reason to believe Lipscomb is much better than a .500 team, Arkansas State lost to NAIA team in exhibition, and even if Tennessee Tech did win at USC, there’s not a lot of evidence that USC is a top-8 team in the Pac 12. There are only so many opportunities to get those kind of wins every season — and so far, the OVC is still seeking one to hang their hat one.

At least, we’re showing we’re going to compete against just about anyone.

Except Louisville. Please stay far, far away from us in March.


Jacksonville State
0-2 (0-0 OVC)
39
#8 Louisville
2-0 (0-0 ACC)
88Final

Recap

Well, it’s over. It wasn’t just Montrezl Harrel, it was the entire Louisville starting five putting it to the Gamecocks during a 30-4 first half run that turned a close game for the first 10 minutes into a blowout. Jacksonville State got nothing done on offense, couldn’t keep Louisville off the boards on defense, (Louisville pulled down two-thirds of all available offensive rebounds) and struggled to even get to the free-throw line. Things get better from here, certainly.


 

Cincinnati Christian
NAIA
79
Morehead State
1-1 (0-0 OVC)
87Final

Recap

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a college team “rest” their star player in the second game of the year. Ever. It makes sense — Morehead State has four more games this week, and the rest of the team should have handled Cincinnati Christian with ease. They handled them. The “with ease” part is debatable. Corban Collins did have a solid game — he missed the game at UNLV, so it was good to see him in the lineup, and score a team-high 15 points.


 

Belmont
1-1 (0-0 OVC)
87
Lipscomb
1-1 (0-0 ASun)
62Final

Recap

Any fears this was going to be a long year for Belmont were put to rest. The Bruins hit 16 three’s, had 23 assists on 33 baskets, and got much more production out of the bench as they breezed past Lipscomb. The Bruins are still looking for a fifth starter, it seems: Tyler Hadden got the start, but played just 13 minutes, not offering much in the way of production. Belmont still struggled with turnovers a bit — 20 last night, after 21 at Wright State. But, a few of those were after the game was well out of hand. Most impressive: Belmont was +9 in rebounding — they’ve won the battle of the boards in both games thus far.


 

IPFW
2-0 (0-0 Summit)
74
SIUE
1-1 (0-0 OVC)
71Final

Recap

Oh, SIUE. You had a chance to put up a quality win on the board, and it all goes away, courtesy a 16-0 IPFW run. The Cougars struggled with threes in the first-half, finishing 5-18 from behind the arc.  They were fairly dominant on the offensive glass, turning 15 offensive rebounds into 26 second-chance points, they only turned over the ball nine times — but they couldn’t get to the free-throw line, and couldn’t force many more turnovers than they committed. This was a missed opportunity for SIUE — but IPFW is a good mid-major, and I still think the Cougars are improving.


 

Eureka College
NCAA Division III
51
Eastern Illinois
1-1 (0-0 OVC)
81Final

Recap

Eastern Illinois didn’t struggle — which is the most encouraging thing about this game. It’s early, and it’s far too easy to overreact, but I do think this is head coach Jay Spoonhour‘s best team since he took over the program, because it finally has some balance.


UT Martin
1-1 (0-0 OVC)
75
Arkansas State
0-1 (0-0 Sun Belt)
83Final

Recap

Last year’s team doesn’t get this win. I’m not sure last year’s team would get this win in 10 attempts. The Skyhawks were down 18 in the second half, and charged back, thanks largely to new additions. But I don’t think it’s just a talent issue — I think this team believes more than last year’s squad did. Obviously, things weren’t perfect for the Skyhawks, since they fell behind by nearly 20: they couldn’t stop Anthony Livingston, and the offense was not sharp the first 20 minutes. But this is a good, tough win, and early proof UTM isn’t going to be the division doormat this year.


Tennessee Tech
1-1 (0-0 OVC)
58
USC
1-1 (0-0 Pac 12)
70Final

Recap

This was one of those games were Tennessee Tech was always within reach, you really never felt like they were just about to take control. Dwan Caldwell was good, and as I’ve said previously, I think he has to be for the Golden Eagles to be successful this year. The three-point shooting is quickly moving from “noteworthy” to “concerning.” They haven’t shot the three well at all, in either game that counted, or the exhibition that didn’t. Their offense just seems a bit stagnant, which leads to just 8 assists on 23 baskets.


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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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