Top 3 teams in OVC match preseason poll

Blake Faith, Men's Basketball Reporter

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The OVC men’s basketball standings are as expected at this point of the season with Murray State, Austin Peay and Belmont in the top three spots of the conference.

Though Murray State sits in first place in the standings because of its overall record, it is Austin Peay who on paper seems more impressive and has the leading scorer and rebounder in the OVC in junior Terry Taylor.

Austin Peay is undefeated in conference play (4-0), undefeated at home (7-0) and holds an overall record of 10-7. Predicted to finish third in the OVC preseason poll, the Governors are currently in second place in the OVC standings.

Taylor averages 23.2 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game. Taylor scored a season-high 39 points in an 80-61 win against McKendree.

Murray State lost the best player in the OVC last year in Ja Morant. Morant went into the NBA Draft, was drafted second overall to the Memphis Grizzlies and is their starting point guard.

So far, Murray State is undefeated in conference play (4-0), undefeated at home (8-0) and holds an overall record of 11-5. Murray State is on a five-game winning streak including wins against Tennessee-Martin and Southeast Missouri. Murray State’s leading scorer is sophomore Tevin Brown with an average of 16.9 points per game while leading the OVC in minutes per game with 36.6.

Belmont is currently third in the OVC standings with a 3-1 conference record and an overall record of 12-5. Its lone conference loss was against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Belmont’s wins include victories against Eastern, Tennessee-Martin, Southeast Missouri and Boston College.

Belmont’s 100-85 win against Boston College came in just the third game of the season. Boston College is currently sixth in the ACC.

Belmont sophomore Grayson Murphy leads the OVC in assists per game (6.2), assists to turnover ratio (3.3) and defensive rebounds per game (6.8).

Murray State and Belmont finished the OVC last year in first and second place. Each team earned a spot in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Murray State made it past the first round, but lost in the round of 32 against Florida State. Belmont lost in the first round against Maryland.

Murray State, Austin Peay and Belmont were predicted at the beginning of the season to finish in the top three spots of the OVC. The only difference between the preseason poll and the present is Austin Peay is ahead of Belmont in second-place instead of vice versa.

Eastern’s conference record is 0-4 with an overall record of 7-9. The Panthers are currently 10th in the OVC standings and have only played Belmont of the top-three teams in an 87-55 road loss. In the preseason poll Eastern was predicted to finish in sixth place.

 

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]