OVC standings are messy, but fun


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern guard Marvin Johnson drives to the basket against Morehead State on Feb. 8 in Lantz Arena. Johnson had seven points, two rebounds and two assists in the game, which the Panthers won 71-65.

Dillan Schorfheide, Sports Editor

Murray State and Austin Peay were reminded that they are just as human as the other OVC teams, and Belmont is reminding everyone that it is still an OVC men’s basketball powerhouse.

Eastern Kentucky is not a team that anyone would want to see in the OVC tournament, and yet, with the top four teams in the conference clearly ahead of everyone else, Eastern nearly knocked off three of them.

What a time to watch OVC basketball.

Belmont made the biggest noise over the weekend, defeating both Murray State and Austin Peay at home. The Bruins are 9-3 in conference play and are tied for third place in the conference with Eastern Kentucky.

Speaking of the Colonels, in their 91-84 victory over Eastern Feb. 6, they looked like a team that could contend for the conference championship.

Even though Eastern held Jomaru Brown, the Colonels’ leading scorer and the OVC’s third-leading scorer (19 points per game), to just 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting, the Colonels’ role players picked up the scoring.

On top of that, Eastern Kentucky’s pressure half-court defense gave Eastern fits at times, so should the Colonels get going in the tournament, they would be a scary matchup.

The Colonels could have ended the weekend tied for second place in the conference with Austin Peay, but they lost to Southern Illinois Edwardsville Feb. 8.

Murray State ended the weekend as the top team in the OVC (11-1), so despite the loss to Belmont, the Racers are still showing that they are the top team.

Austin Peay took a tumble, losing to Tennessee State and Belmont back-to-back, but the Governors are still a loaded team in second place.

Tennessee State (7-5) is proving itself to be a tough team to beat, handing Austin Peay its first loss of the season Feb. 6.

Morehead State is right in the middle of the conference at 6-6, followed by Eastern and Jacksonville State (both 5-7).

And despite the amount of competition in the conference this season, and despite the fact that the top four teams have carved themselves a spot away from the rest of the pack, Eastern remains even more relevant than its 5-7 record shows.

The Panthers lost by five or fewer points to Eastern Kentucky, Austin Peay, Murray State, Tennessee State and Morehead State (all five of those games on the road), so what that exactly means is up to interpretation.

But, if you are the Panthers, that is a somewhat good sign that they can play well, against good teams, on the road. On top of that, three of those games included Eastern turnovers within the last 10-20 seconds of the game, so closing those games out would have made Eastern’s position in the conference a lot more interesting.


Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].