Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ohio Valley Conference Preview


The Ohio Valley Conference had a wide-open regular season and conference tournament last season. Tennessee-Martin won the title by one game over Murray State and Austin Peay, with Morehead State finishing in fourth at 12-6 and Eastern Kentucky also having an above .500 record in conference play. Morehead State had the lead, but lost its final four games overall. Morehead State ended up winning the conference tournament, and then beat Alabama State in the NCAA Tournament play-in game before falling to Louisville after a solid first half. The Eagles are the favorites to repeat, but don't hand them the title just yet.

1. Morehead State: Behind dominant big man Kenneth Faried, the Eagles are poised for their second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
2. Murray State: The Racers could get back to the top of the conference, led by the trio of Isacc Miles, Danero Thomas and Ivan Aska.

3. Eastern Illinois: The Panthers are a sleeper in the OVC this season; scorer Romain Martin leads a very solid group of returnees.
4. Austin Peay: Can the Governors get to the OVC title game for the fourth straight season? Wes Channels will have to be the leader.

5. Jacksonville State: The Gamecocks struggled mightily down the stretch last year, but Jeremy Bynum and Nick Murphy form a nice backcourt.
6. Eastern Kentucky: Mike Rose will be a major loss, but the Colonels' tough defense and the presence of Josh Taylor will help the healing process.
7. Tennessee-Martin: Without Lester Hudson, the Skyhawks will take a major step back. Marquis Weddle needs to step up his production.
8. Tennessee Tech: The backcourt of Frank Davis and Will Barnes will help the Golden Eagles be competitive this season.
9. Tennessee State: Gerald Robinson Jr. transferred to Georgia, leaving double-double threat Darius Cox to pick up the pieces.
10. Southeast Missouri State: The Redhawks went 0-18 in conference play last seaosn, and things don't look like they will get much better.

Player of the Year: Kenneth Faried, F/C, Morehead State

All-Conference Team:
G- Romain Martin, Eastern Illinois
G- Wes Channels, Austin Peay
G- Marquis Weddle, Tennessee-Martin
G/F- Danero Thomas, Murray State
F/C- Kenneth Faried, Morehead State 

Second Team:

G- Maze Stallworth, Morehead State
G- Jeremy Bynum, Jacksonville State
G- Isacc Miles, Murray State
F- Ivan Aska, Murray State
F- Darius Cox, Tennessee State

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