Top 10 OVC Non-Conference Wins
The Ohio Valley Conference is ready to tip-off in earnest, with conference play commencing New Year’s Eve.
Before the grind of the OVC campaign take a look back at some of the more meaningful non-conference wins.
(1) SIUE 76-74 @ Southern Illinois-Carbondale The biggest win of the pre-conference campaign was accomplished by SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris. Coach Harris is re-inventing the culture in southern Illinois, attempting to a build a program that recently arrived in D1 into a regional power. For decades there was only one SIU, and for Edwardsville to win at Carbondale suggests a paradigm shift is on the horizon.
(2) Belmont 83-80 @ Marquette The Golden Eagles of Marquette are 8-2, trying to rebuild their program. Belmont’s early season jab annoyed a lot of polite Wisconsin fans. If only the Bruins had kept this momentum through December.
(3) UT-Martin 78-75 @ James Madison This is a sneaky good win for UT-Martin. JMU is 9-3, ranked #116 on KenPom.com. By winning this on the road, Head Coach Heath Shroyer nudged the Martin men into the Mid-major discussion nationally.
(4) Murray State 76-65 vs. Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee (6-2 vs. D1) defeated Belmont, Auburn, Toledo, and Tennessee State. They are a very physical team and Murray State just raced by them in the second half.
(5) Belmont 90-85 vs. Western Kentucky WKU traditionally owns their region at the mid-major level. With an assortment of NBA players to sweep through town, WKU recruits well and rarely trips up against OVC teams. Belmont out-shot the visiting Toppers, but afterwards Taylor Barnette mentioned that the poor Belmont defense must improve.
(6) Austin Peay 80-71 @ Troy Austin Peay was floundering in November. They really found their feet with this road win. Troy is similarly respected, proud to be recruiting top second-tier players in the south. Austin Peay needed this win and it remains their biggest win to date.
(7) Tennessee State 64-52 vs. Grambling in Chicago Grambling is not a difficult team, but Head Coach Dana Ford is quietly laying the foundation for his Chicago recruiting. Armani Chaney will not be the only Chicagoan dressed in blue and white, as long as Coach Ford is leading the way.
(8) Austin Peay 74-73 vs. Samford Samford is an ascending program that Austin Peay will struggle to suppress going forward. Still Coach Loos proved his undersized Govs are not a pushover despite their terrible November start.
(9) Tennessee Tech 63-61 vs. East Tennessee State TTU rallied back from a 12-point second half deficit to win. This was the early stages of Torrance Rowe’s bid for OVC Player of the Year.
(10) Tennessee State 93-90 (OT) @ Stetson For the first time in years Tennessee State believes they can win basketball games. This stubborn mindset helped escape a bizarre road loss in Florida. A banked three-pointer brought Stetson back, but TSU trailed most of regulation prior.
The OVC East is a combined 41-30, while the lowly OVC West is 20-44. At least one team will make the NCAA Tournament. Considering how remarkable the omitted Murray State Racers were a year ago, it is abundantly clear that just one OVC team will make the NCAA Tournament.