Greg Waddell of Murray State News is the RTC correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference.
Standings (as of 2/18)
Team of the Week – Murray State captures the honor this week at the Racers continue a run of dominance through the OVC. Sitting at 16-0, Billy Kennedy’s team secured the regular season crown on Tuesday in a 80-68 win over Southeast Missouri State. Joe Lunardi of ESPN currently has Murray as a No. 13 seed in the NCAA tournament, playing Temple in Spokane. It will be interesting to see how the brackets unfold if Murray falls in the conference tournament as the OVC has typically been a one-bid conference. As Doug Gottlieb noted, it may be hard to turn down a Racer team with only four losses.
Player of the Week- In an unorthodox move, this week’s edition will nominate two players for the top honor. Seeing as how coverage is divided into a bi-weekly segment it would only seem fair to have two winners. Week one winner, Nick Murphy of Jacksonville State averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds and three assists per game as the Gamecocks split a pair of games from Feb. 8 through Feb 15 while week two winner Mark Yelovich from SIU – Edwardsville earned the award after dropping 34 points on the University of North Dakota.
Play of the Week – Instead of the typical game of the week, this edition will instead focus on a single play. This week’s honor goes to Isaiah Canaan, a freshman on the Murray State basketball team, after a half court shot from his knees earned the guard the top spot on the Sportscenter Top 10 and an interview with Jay Crawford on ESPN2 First Take. The heave has been mentioned as a possible nominee for an ESPY as Play of the Year.
- According to OVCSports.com the OVC has a conference RPI of 19th nationally entering this week, a 10-spot improvement over two seasons ago.
- Also as of now seven OVC teams have clinched a spot in the eight-team tournament as Tennessee State, UT Martin and SEMO fight for the final spot.
- Murray State. The Racers wrapped up a conference championship and no. 1 seed in the OVC tournament Tuesday, coasting past the Redhawks of SEMO 80-68. Senior Danero Thomas recorded 18 points in the win and Isaiah Canaan hit a circus shot from half court to earn a date with ESPN. This season has been All-Racers thus far. Can it continue? We’ll see.
- Morehead State. The Eagles played one of the toughest conference games this week, taking on Eastern Kentucky in a battle of the OVC’s No. 2 and 3 teams. Kenneth Faried was, well, Kenneth Faried, notching 15 points and 16 rebounds for the his 20th double-double on the year. Maze Stallworth added 20 points and four three-pointers and State rolled, clinching second place in the conference in the process.
- Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels played admirably but fell just short against Morehead, stumbling 77-64. Josh Taylor played well for EKU, notching 21 points in the loss, but it just wasn’t enough. Eastern will get a shot at Murray State on Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.
- Austin Peay. The Govs had an exciting week as they opened play against Jacksonville State, drubbing the Gamecocks 83-63, before edging the Golden Eagles on Tennessee Tech in overtime. Austin Peay got a little help from two players this week, as Anthony Campbell and Wes Channels team to lead the team in scoring both games. The highlight of the week came in the second contest as Channels dropped 24 with Campbell adding 23.
- Tennessee Tech. Overtime is just not good to the Golden Eagles as both games this week went to extra periods and both ended with losses. Tech is now 1-4 in extended play this season with Elijah Muhammed remaining one of the few bright spots after notching 26 points and 8 assists against Tennessee State and 15 against Austin Peay. Frank Davis added 15 in the loss to Peay.
- Jacksonville State. Jacksonville State had another bad week, stumbling in back to back games at Austin Peay and Tennessee State. Dominique Shellman and John Barnes recorded 13 points apiece in the loss to the Govs.
- Eastern Illinois. Eastern Illinois only played one game this week but that one game was a win, knocking off UT-Martin 83-68. Zavier Sanders, notched 16 points on eight of 10 shooting, to lead the Panthers.
- Southeast Missouri State. SEMO played an integral role in Murray State’s conference championship Tuesday. Mainly in that they lost, but it’s a role they played nonetheless. There really isn’t anything to positive to say about the Redhawks at this point other than Marland Smith (19 points) and Derek Thompson (17 points) played well in the loss.
- Tennessee State. The Tigers managed a two game winning streak this week, knocking off the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State in succession. Jeremiah Crutcher and Robert Covington teamed up for 48 points (24 apiece) in the win against Tech and Jacquan Noble dropped 18 points in the win over State.
- UT Martin. Marquis Weddle was the only thing to write home about again as the Skyhawks lost their only game of the week. Weddle scored 18 points but it just wasn’t enough. Maybe next week.
- SIU Edwardsville. Playing a JV team this week, the Cougars picked up their fourth win of the season as Mark Yelovich exploded for 34 points against North Dakota. That was pretty much the only bright spot for SIU-E