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Normally, we put out the call online for your Power Ranking votes. That will start next week. Until then — here’s my ballot for our “no actual games have been played” Power Rankings.

1

Eastern-Illinois-Power-Rankings
Murray State

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
I can hear you now. Murray State bias, you're screaming -- that's all this site is about. So, here are some unarguable facts about the Racers:

  • No team in the OVC return more scoring, or rebounding production from last year

  • That team last year, from which so much production returns, won the CIT

  • Murray State has the OVC Preseason Player of the Year (both the one picked by coaches / SID's and the media) in Cameron Payne
In the absence of any games in which to base our Power Rankings on, (especially since I refuse to count exhibition games) the facts above seem like a good enough reason to put the Racers at one in our Preseason Power Rankings. Will they end the season there? Possibly. But right now, given the things we know, they have the best case on paper.

2

Belmont-Bruins-Power-Rankings
Belmont

Record:0-0 (0-0)
Morehead State is a trendy pick to win the East this year, but I'm hard pressed to put the Eagles above the Bruins, who have won six of their last seven conference regular season titles across the OVC and Atlantic Sun. They lose J.J. Mann, but they always seem to find a way to reload.

3

Eastern-Illinois-Power-Rankings
Morehead State

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
At OVC Media Day, head coach Sean Woods says his team ran out of steam at the end of the year -- that they didn't have the depth to run their high-tempo game for an entire season. Angelo Warner and Kareem Storey return in the backcourt, and the Eagles get the services of three Division-I transfers. The Eagles look poised to make a run in Woods' third year.

4

Eastern-Illinois-Power-Rankings
Eastern Kentucky

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
Fourth, for the defending conference tournament champs? There's just too many questions swirling right now to go higher. Of the contenders last year, EKU easily lost the most production, returning just two starters. They didn't figure things out last year until March. It may some time this year as well.

5

Eastern-Illinois-Power-Rankings
Southeast Missouri

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
Okay, okay, I know SEMO fans. You think your team is the best in the West, and maybe the conference. But here's the thing -- we think this a lot. Each of the past few years, we asked, is this SEMO's year? And every year, we've gotten the same answer.

Nope.

Again, we know there's talent in Cape Girardeau. Is there defense? That's what's been missing.

6

SIU-Edwardsville-Power-Rankings
SIUE

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
When trying to do preseason rankings such as this -- the easiest thing to look at is returning talent. While they're not names that put up big numbers night-in and night-out, SIUE returns most of their quality players from a year ago. We've thought SIUE was ready for a breakout year before -- and were proved wrong, so we're cautiously bullish on the on the Cougars prospects this season.

7

Tennessee-Tech-Power-Rankings
Tennessee Tech

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
Tennessee Tech is always an interesting case. They're not known for flash -- but they're solid defensively, and are capable of big wins. The problem, at least last year, is they followed big wins, like at home against Belmont, with terrible losses, like at Tennessee State. We don't see any superstars on the roster, but there weren't last year either. Consistency is the key to rising to challenge the East's best.

8

UT-Martin-Power-Rankings
UT Martin

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
Myles Taylor looks to be in the best shape of his rather fruitful career. A new coach has brought in a lot of new talent to surround Taylor this year, giving us a lot of reason to expect a big year out of the Skyhawks. Just don't overreact at November -- when you have a lot of new cogs, it takes time for them to come together.

9

Eastern-Illinois-Power-Rankings
Eastern Illinois

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
I feel I'm making the same mistake I've made the past few years. Every year, we rank them low, they tend to get off to slow starts which leads us to boast about our predictions, and then Eastern Illinois just seems to find a way to make the OVC Tournament. But the Panthers lost their top scorer, on a team that ranked 270th in offensive efficiency last year. Yes, I know, I've harped on the Panthers offense for the entirety of Jay Spoonhour's tenure in Charleston. But the history of poor offenses for EIU actually goes back well before Spoonhour arrived: The last time EIU finished in the top-200 nationally in offensive efficiency? 2005. I blame the cold.

10

Eastern-Illinois-Power-Rankings
Austin Peay

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
I grew up in an era where is was Austin Peay and Murray battling it out every year for the conference crown. What led to the Governors' recent fall is unclear, but it's unprecedented in Loos' lengthy career at the helm of the program. This year's team will undoubtedly be more balanced than the team's the last two years. Does that lead to more success?

11

Eastern-Illinois-Power-Rankings
Jacksonville State

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
It's been a great year for JSU football, hasn't it? Hopes aren't quite as high for the hoops team this year. JSU will need a strong year out of senior Darion Rackley, and have to improve their shooting to compete this year.

12

Eastern-Illinois-Power-Rankings
Tennessee State

Record: 0-0 (0-0)
I feel for TSU fans. Last year was awful -- and by the time Tennessee State actually was competitive, most people had written off the season. The thing is: there's not a lot of reason to think things get better quickly. Dana Ford had the unenviable task of replacing 11 players, and now has to get a entirely new team ready to compete. Keep the faith, Tiger fans. I'm convinced Ford is the right pick. He's just going to need some time.

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  1. Allan Lewis:
    SEMO isn't just the best team in the West, or the conference, they are the best team in the WORLD! (Yes, that's happening again this year.)
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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