Panthers slotted in ninth place in preseason OVC poll

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The Panthers picked to finish in ninth place by the Ohio Valley Conference head coaches and communications directors 2022-23 preseason poll. (Rob Le Cates)

The 2022-23 preseason poll for OVC men’s basketball was released Tuesday, putting Morehead State in first place. 

The poll is selected by OVC head basketball coaches and communication directors for each school within the OVC. 

Morehead State 

The Eagles had 7 first-place votes in the preseason poll. Last season, the Eagles finished third in the conference with a 13-5 record.  

The Eagles won their first game in the OVC Tournament last year in the quarterfinals against Tennessee Tech. They would later go on to knock off second-seeded Belmont in the semifinals to take on Murray State in the championship game, losing 71-67. 

Tennessee State 

The Tigers are predicted to finish second this season after finishing fifth in the conference last season with an 8-10 record.  

The Tigers won their first-round game in the OVC Tournament against SIUE but later lost to Southeast Missouri in the quarterfinals. 

UT Martin 

The Skyhawks were chosen to finish third this season. That is a huge jump as they finished ninth last season with a 4-14 record. 

Southeast Missouri 

The Redhawks finished fourth in the conference last season, and they are predicted to finish in the same exact spot this season. They had an 8-9 conference record last season and were knocked off by Murray State in the quarterfinals of the OVC Tournament. 


The Cougars finished eighth in the conference last season with a 5-13 record but this season, they are predicted to finish fifth. They lost in the first round of the OVC Tournament to Tennessee State last season. 

Little Rock 

The Trojans are new to the OVC this season as they are coming over from the Sun Belt Conference. Last season, the Trojans were last in the SBC with a 3-11 record. This season, the Trojans are predicted to finish sixth. 

In the SBC Championship, the Trojans knocked off five-seeded South Alabama but went on to lose in game six to Troy. 

Southern Indiana 

The Eagles, another OVC newcomer, were picked to finish seventh. The Eagles come to the OVC from the Great Lakes Valley Conference East where they finished second with a 12-6 record. 

The Eagles lost to GLVC Champions Missouri-St. Louis in the quarterfinals of the GLVC Tournament last season. 

Tennessee Tech 

The Golden Eagles were seventh in the OVC last season with a 7-10 record. This season, the Golden Eagles are predicted to finish eighth. 

In the OVC Tournament last season, the Golden Eagles were knocked off in quarterfinals by Morehead State. 

Eastern Illinois 

The Panthers finished last in the conference last season with a 3-15 record. 


The last OVC newcomer, the Lions, are picked to finish last. The Lions, like the Eagles, come to the OVC from the GLVC. The Lions finished fourth in the Central with an 8-12 record.  

The Lions were knocked off in the first round of the GLVC Tournament last season by William Jewell. 

The Panthers do not have any representation in the 2022-23 Preseason All-OVC Team list. 

The Skyhawks’ KJ Simon was picked to win OVC Player of the Year.  

Simon, last season, won All-OVC first team and OVC All-Newcomer honors. Simon was the only NCAA Division I player in the nation to average 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. 

The full preseason All-OVC team is as follows: 

Mark Freeman – Morehead State 

Chris Harris – Southeast Missouri 

Philip Russell – Southeast Missouri 

Ray’Sean Taylor – SIUE 

DeeJuan Pruitt – SIUE 

Jelani Simmons – Southern Indiana 

Jr. Clay – Tennessee State 

Marcus Fitzgerald – Tennessee State 

Zion Griffin – Tennessee State 

Dedric Boyd – Tennessee State 

Ty Perry – Tennessee Tech 

KJ Simon – UT Martin 

Parker Stewart – UT Martin 

 Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]