The Other 26: Week 7

Posted by KDoyle on January 4th, 2011

Kevin Doyle is an RTC contributor.


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the college basketball season is nearly half over. It is not all bad though, with conference play beginning we are just another step closer to Championship Week, Selection Sunday, and, of course, the NCAA Tournament. During this time of the year, the Other 26 and BCS largely go their separate ways, only to be reunited just two months later on the biggest stage of them all. As it is every year, the non-conference is nothing more than a tease of what is to come later. What are five major things that we learned during the first half of the year?

  • The top three teams in the Mountain West (SDSU, UNLV, BYU) will all be a force in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Gonzaga and Butler are not as dominant as they have been in past years, but both seem poised to perform well in their conference play as they drastically improved in the latter half of the non-conference schedule.
  • Temple and Richmond can go toe-to-toe with the big boys. In one week, the Owls defeated Maryland and then Georgetown, and then just weeks later they were points away from beating Villanova. As for the Spiders, they have beaten four of five BCS teams they played against.
  • Don’t sleep on Conference USA. Although the league probably will receive only two bids—maybe three—Central Florida, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UAB and UTEP are pretty darn good.
  • The Mountain West and Atlantic 10 will combine to have more teams in the NCAA Tournament than the ACC and SEC. Okay that is a bit of a reach, but don’t be surprised if this is close to happening. Right now, the only lock in the ACC is Duke, obviously. As for the SEC, it is only Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The MWC will almost certainly have SDSU, BYU, and UNLV, and the Atlantic 10 is a bit of a crapshoot at the top. Over the last three years, however, the A10 has sent three years to the Dance in each year—food for thought.

The Other 26 Rankings

Tidbits from the Rankings

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RTC 2010-11 Impact Players – Mid-South Region

Posted by rtmsf on October 18th, 2010

For the second October in a row, we’re bringing you our RTC Impact Players series.  The braintrust has gone back and forth on this and we’ve finally settled on a group of sixty players throughout ten geographic regions of the country (five starters plus a sixth man) to represent the who and where of players you should be watching this season.  Seriously, if you haven’t seen every one of these players ball at least once by the end of February, then you need to figure out a way to get a better television package.  As always in a subjective analysis such as this, some of our decisions were difficult; many others were quite easy.  What we can say without reservation is that there is great talent in every corner of this nation of ours, and we’ll do our best to excavate it over the next five weeks in this series that will publish on Mondays and Thursdays.  Each time, we’ll also provide a list of some of the near-misses as well as the players we considered in each region, but as always, we welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments.

You can find all previous RTC 2010-11 Impact Players posts here.

Mid-South Region (KY, TN, MO, AR)

  • Brandon Knight – Fr, G – Kentucky. What on earth could Brandon Knight do to live up to what has preceded him? It’s not just that he’s been stood for membership along the Caliparian Derrick Rose-Tyreke Evans-John Wall axis, or that he’ll immediately be expected to live up to the ridiculous standard entailed by that little club. Yeah, that’s hard enough, but there’s something more. Last year’s Kentucky team wasn’t just about five first-round draft picks and an Elite Eight run. It wasn’t about the actual on-court achievements of Messrs. Wall, Cousins, Patterson, Bledsoe, and Calipari. It was what the season symbolized, a pronouncement that, after two years of weirdness under Billy Gillispie, Kentucky had returned to prominence in a major way, wasn’t likely to go anywhere for a very long time, and that deep tournament runs with big bad recruits were to be the norm once again. That’s quite a show to follow. Brandon Knight says he’s up for the challenge, and he might be right. Don’t let the 32.5 PPG average as a prep senior in Ft. Lauderdale fool you. Even though Calipari cautions people against comparing last year’s Wildcats to this year’s, since Knight has yet to play a single second of college basketball, something has to be used as a reference point right now. That said, Knight shares Wall’s second-most important attribute as a collegian, which is the ability to provide whatever’s needed. Scoring? Not a problem. Less emphasis on points and more on distribution? Consider it done. Help on the glass? Let’s do it. Defensive leadership? Fine. Another similar aspect is that while Wall was a genius at getting to the rim, taking contact, and finishing, Knight has this gift as well and will gladly take whatever’s waiting on him in terms of body blows, but he’s also likely to pull up at the edge of the lane to shoot his mid-range jumper or slip a pass to an open teammate before defenders know what happened. Finally, as for the most important thing Knight has in common with Wall? That’d be the commitment in the classroom. You might as well just go ahead and fill in the bubbles on Knight’s APR sheets. He arrives from high school riding a 4.3 GPA, which we’ll assume is based on an accelerated/AP scoring system. Unless that 4.3 is based on some screwy 9.0 scale from Florida that we don’t know about, anybody looking for an offseason scandal here is wasting their time.

Brandon Knight Will Take the Reins From Wall at UK

  • Will Barton – Fr, G – Memphis. Considered by many to be the top shooting guard in this year’s freshman class, Will Barton has already taken a rather interesting path on his way to Midnight Madness. First there was concern over whether he would be academically eligible for the coming season, which he ultimately overcame. Then there was his Twitter guarantee that the Tigers were going to win the national title, which upon questioning he defended by simply saying, “What was I suppose [sic] 2 [sic] say?” Now that Memphis appears to have gotten past all of the headaches (hopefully) it is time for Josh Pastner and Tiger fans to enjoy Barton’s many gifts. If they’re expecting another Derrick Rose they are going to be disappointed because Barton’s game is quite different from the one-and-done Tiger star — who technically never played at Memphis according to the NCAA — as Rose was more of a distributor whose athleticism and physical skills made him a legitimate scoring threat, whereas Barton is primarily a scorer who also distributes because of his athleticism and physical skills. Barton also lacks many of the complementary pieces that Rose had around him so don’t expect a repeat of the 2007-08 season for the Tigers, but Barton could lead them further than you would otherwise expect for a team that was weaker than recent Memphis teams even before the departure of Elliot Williams. Although Barton does not have range of some of the premier scorers of recent vintage like J.J. Redick or Stephen Curry, he does possess a solid outside shot, which he combines with a mid-range game that very few players at any level have, and an ability to get to the basket. What could potentially set him apart from  the likes of Redick and Curry is Barton’s ability to rebound and play defense. With that combination of skills and his potential for improvement (he is rail-thin right now, listed at 6’6” and 170 pounds coming out of high school) Barton could be the best player at Memphis since Rose and if he sticks around for a few years his name could be mentioned alongside Keith Lee, Elliot Perry  and Anfernee Hardaway as one of the all-time greats there.

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Morning Five: Labor Day Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 6th, 2010

A few items  to catch up on from over the weekend.  Labor Day represents the end of summer, and with football on the tube and a slight crisp in the air, hoops is really not too far away.  Have a great day off, everyone.

  1. WVU head coach Bob Huggins was roasted by several of his colleagues in the profession on Friday night, and while coaches are notoriously rather unfunny people, there were quite a few chuckles on this particular night.  Andy Kennedy, John Calipari, Ron Everhart and several others took turns at the dais, and even Huggs himself got in on the action.  WV Metro News put together a highlights package of the event here.
  2. Duke’s Kyle Singler had his left knee scoped late last week in a routine procedure to alleviate some mild discomfort he was experiencing after a busy summer.  The NPOY and All-American candidate is expected to be back at 100% prior to the beginning of practice in six weeks.
  3. Speaking of which…  Austin Rivers, the Rivals #1 rated recruit in the Class of 2011, announced via Twitter that he’ll be attending Duke’s Midnight Madness on October 15.   Duke is considered the favorite for Rivers’ services, so this is fairly strong evidence of where his heart may lie.
  4. Michigan State’s Korie Lucious pleaded guilty last Thursday to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless driving after he was pulled over for drunk driving earlier in the week.  Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson on this one.
  5. Fanhouse is churning out some interesting stuff lately, and this post by Ray Holloman is no exception.  He puts together the 2010-11 Two-Star or Less team, consisting solely of players who were pretty much overlooked by all the recruiting gurus when they were in high school.  The starting lineup:  Jimmer Fredette (BYU), Shelvin Mack (Butler), Tim Abromaitis (Notre Dame), Kenneth Faried (Morehead State), Mike Davis (Illinois).  That’s a top five lineup.
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2010-11 RTC Class Schedule: Florida Gators

Posted by rtmsf on August 31st, 2010

Zach Hayes is a editor, contributor and bracketologist at Rush the Court.  To see the entire group of 2010-11 Class Schedules, click here.

Two NIT berths and one questionable NCAA bid following the first back-to-back title run since the Laettner and Hurley-led Dukies of the early 1990’s, Billy Donovan can finally approach a season without the sour taste of an early NBA/overseas defection, instead focusing on the welcomed expectation of an SEC title. Just as we did with conference rival Kentucky last week, here’s a breakdown of the Florida Gators schedule in their quest to return to the pinnacle of college basketball.

Team Outlook: The moment 6’8 junior forward Alex Tyus opted to complete his four years in Gainesville rather than enter the NBA Draft early, Billy Donovan knew he had a team that could compete for an SEC crown on his hands. Blindsided by the sudden departures of Marreese Speights and Nick Calathes in recent years, Donovan’s only loss would be that of role player Dan Werner. Adding a talented recruiting class led by rugged forward Patric Young and versatile wing Casey Prather to a core returning all five starters meant Donovan finally had some continuity with his program. The group returning isn’t exactly that of Duke, Purdue or Michigan State, though. After all, the Gators finished a mediocre 9-7 in SEC play and lost four of five down the stretch, putting their eventual NCAA Tournament bid in serious jeopardy. Donovan hopes that another year of development for blue chip recruit Kenny Boynton will pay dividends, Tyus and Vernon Macklin can hold down the middle, Erving Walker continues to dish out assists at a high rate and Chandler Parsons pulls some more late-game heroics out of his hat. A successful season followed by Mike Rosario and Bradley Beal entering the fray in 2011 could vault the Gators back to the hoops elite after a three year hiatus.

Donovan Returns All Five Starters From an NCAA Team

Non-Conference Schedule Rank (ranked 1 thru 10, 10 being the most difficult): 8. Coach Donovan struck an appropriate balance of challenging non-conference games and SEC warm-ups for his Gators. Florida will participate in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon with a primetime battle at home against Ohio State. They might be drawing the Buckeyes at the right time with their point guard situation in flux and the Buckeyes looking to form an identity post-Evan Turner. The Florida-Florida State series continues in late November with the Gators traveling to Tallahassee to take on a talented Seminoles team with, once again, NCAA Tournament expectations. Chris Singleton should be a difficult matchup for the Florida frontline. Similar to their December contest with Syracuse in Tampa last year, Donovan scheduled a top-five preseason team in Kansas State in what should be one of the most anticipated non-conference games around the country. A New Year’s Eve trip to the Queen City to face a Xavier team that returns three starters from a Sweet 16 qualifier should prove another stiff test.

Cupcake City: The Gators did apply some frosting to their schedule, but they didn’t go overboard. A few of the games should be relative cakewalks — UNC-Wilmington, North Carolina A&T, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville and Radford have the makings of easy Gator victories (don’t tell Donovan that after Florida’s stunning home loss to South Alabama last season). There are some sneaky challenges thrown in, too. Morehead State and double-double machine Kenneth Faried will be Murray State’s biggest challenger in the OVC again; they visit Gainesville on November 21. Kent State recoups three of their top four scorers from a team that won the MAC regular season title. With Siena losing talented seniors and their coach, it is Fairfield expected to take the crown in the MAAC. Rhode Island returns enough of a core to contend in the competitive Atlantic 10. The Gators also have tricky road trips to nearby Orlando to take on UCF and Washington, D.C., to face American.

Toughest Early Season Test: The neutral site meeting with Kansas State on December 18 has all the makings to be Florida’s toughest non-conference test and a meeting of two top-ten teams. The Wildcats enter the season with some questions, notably how Jacob Pullen will handle pulling double duty with Denis Clemente no longer around to run the offense and how much the loss of Dominique Sutton to transfer will affect their interior presence and physicality. Even so, most prognosticators would peg K-State to take the Big 12 title with Pullen returning and a breakout expected from forward Curtis Kelly. Frank Martin also trots out a deep frontline that will test Parsons, Tyus, Macklin and the freshman Young inside early in his college career. How Erving Walker defends Pullen on the perimeter could also determine the outcome in front of what should be a primarily pro-Gator crowd.

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Morning Five: 08.26.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 26th, 2010

  1. Yes, USC is expensive (almost $50k per year).  Ex-Dookie, ex-Wildcat Taylor King found that out the hard way when he realized just how much his family would need to pay out-of-pocket to transfer to Southern Cal for one more year of eligibility in 2011-12.   Instead, he’ll play at NAIA Concordia in nearby Irvine, perhaps a much nicer locale but not exactly on the standard tour of most NBA scouts.  We wish him well, nevertheless.
  2. “All indications are that the [BYU] Cougars will remain in the MWC,” according to the Denver Post.  There has been no formal word yet, and BYU officially has until next week (Sept. 1) to decide whether it’s coming or going in the league, but with the WAC blowing up after the Cougs’ initial inquiry, the decision comes down ultimately to whether the LDS elders think that BYU football can sustain itself as an independent.  It would be a bold move, but not one without some credibility; still, it says here that BYU (for now) sticks with the Mountain West.
  3. Matt Snyder has an interesting piece at Fanhouse ripping the John Beilein hire at Michigan after a dismal performance in Belgium (they play basketball there?) that he thinks portends a miserable hoops season in Ann Arbor.  He’s probably right about the dismal upcoming season, but we’re not ready to give up on Beilein as a head coach.  His WVU teams in the later years in Morgantown played a style of basketball that was very difficult to prepare for, but it took him several years to develop such hidden jewels as Kevin Pittsnogle and Mike Gansey in order to get to that point.  Given that Michigan had gone over a decade (!!!) between NCAA Tournaments prior to Beilein’s 2009 second round appearance, we’re willing to let him have more time to build his program.  As for UM fans — we’re not as sure.
  4. Morehead State was placed on a two-year probation by the NCAA yesterday, but the sanctions will affect scholarships and not impact postseason play for the school.  This is a good thing, as the Eagles return one of the better mid-major players in America in senior Kenneth Faried, a 6’8 forward who won the Ohio Valley Conference POY and DPOY awards last year while dropping 17/13 per night en route to 25 double-doubles.  If Murray State drops the ball in the OVC, Morehead will likely be there in 2010-11 to pick up the slack, and we hate to see when great players are punished for something they had no involvement in.
  5. Yes, even 7 am isn’t too early for the west coasters to roll out of bed on Saturday mornings to check in with College Gameday this coming season.  As our very own Zach Hayes broke down the 2010-11 Gameday slate, it’s good to know that the weekly festivities will begin an hour earlier on ESPNU at 10 am ET before heading over to the big daddy channel (ESPN) at 11 am.  Then, as ZH said, fourteen straight hours of the manna known as winter hoops.  Prepare yourselves: it’s coming sooner than you think.
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Checking in on… the OVC

Posted by rtmsf on February 21st, 2010

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.

League Notes

  • According to 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
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Checking in on… the OVC

Posted by rtmsf on February 8th, 2010

Greg Waddell of Murray State News is the RTC correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference.

Standings: (as of 2/7)

Team of the Week –  Rivals Murray State and Morehead State share the honor this week as both teams played admirably in their games.  Murray continued its reign of dominance over the OVC, squeaking past hated rival Austin Peay 65-63 in the Regional Special Events Center while Morehead roared to a 84-75 win over Tennessee Tech to sweep the season series and capture 13 of their last 14 games. The two teams will square off on Feb. 25 in Morehead, Ky., in a game that could determine conference supremecy.

Player of the Week – In a closely contested battle, Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried edges Tennessee-Martin guard Marquis Weddle for the title of Player of the Week in this edition. Although Weddles’ play (24 ppg and 6 rpg) over the week was superb, Faried claimed the award by showcasing an all-around game more suited for the NBA than the OVC, notching a dominant performance over the weekend against Tennessee Tech to raise his averages for the week to 19 points and 14 boards. During the stretch Faried recorded his 17th and 18th double-doubles of the season including his ninth straight.

Game of the Week – Murray State 65, Austin Peay 63. When rivals collide, crazy things tend to happen. This edition’s game of the week was just another example as it took every ounce of magic the Racers had to keep the team’s conference mark unblemished for one more game, edging the Govs on a last second shot by junior guard Isacc Miles. Although Miles provided the heroics, Danero Thomas provided the steady hand as the senior forward from Louisiana paced the Racers with 23 points and 11 rebounds. On the other side, Anthony Campbell played well for Austin Peay, nearly recording a double-double with 20 points and eight boards. 

League Notes

ESPN released its schedule of games for its Bracketbuster series on Feb 1.  All 11 OVC schools will participate in for the fifth straight season with games taking place on Feb. 19 and 20. OVC schools are 16-29 all-time in the event, including a 3-7 record last season.

  • Oral Roberts at Austin Peay
  • Northern Illinois at Eastern Illinois
  • Winthrop at Eastern Kentucky
  • Presbyterian at Jacksonville State
  • Morehead State at Illinois State
  • Morgan State at Murray State (TV – ESPNU)
  • Southeast Missouri at Miami (Ohio)
  • SIU Edwardsville at Cal State Fullerton
  • Tennessee State at Central Michigan
  • Tennessee Tech at Appalachian State
  • UT Martin at Ball State

Team Roundups

  • Murray State.  The Racers continued their unbeaten streak through conference play, knocking off Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay in dramatic fashion.  Against Tech, MSU started off slow but a second half surge allowed them to pull away easily behind B.J. Jenkins’ 17 point outburst. Jenkins also added five rebounds in the rout.  The Austin Peay game was a different story altogether though as the Racers struggled to put together any rhythm and fell behind early.  Isacc Miles, who struggled to score the entire game, put the team on his back in the final two minutes, scoring seven points including a dagger at the buzzer to knock off the Govs.  Danero Thomas was a workhorse throughout the game for Murray State, recording 23 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Morehead State.  This past week was a good one for the Eagles as they swept the season series against Tennessee Tech while also extending their win streak to 13 of their last 14 games.  Kenneth Faried was a monster down low for Morehead State as the forward from New Jersey did everything but get the team water.  Against the Golden Eagles he was especially dangerous, cleaning the glass for 17 rebounds while adding 26 points, but the game before was a relataively pedestrian one for the big man as he recorded only 12 points and 11 boards. Teammate Maze Stallworth picked up the slack though, dropping 26 points and 11 rebounds.  Farried’s two double-doubles push his season total to 18 and nine straight.
  • Eastern Kentucky.  The past week was also good for the Colonels and Papa Oppong as they jumped out to two wins behind the guard’s stellar play.  In the games Oppong put on a shooting clinic for the opposition dropping two games of double-digit scoring in which he recorded 20 and 19 points respectively.  The highlight of the week as the Colonels knocked off Jacksonville State on a Justin Stommes layup with 21 seconds remaining.  EKU escaped to play another, notching their seventh straight home win against the Gamecocks.
  • Austin Peay.  Despite dropping the heartbreaker to Murray, the week wasn’t all that bad to the Governors.  Forward Anthony Campbell lit up the nets for 20 points on six of 10 shooting against the Racers while adding eight rebounds.  He was equally impressive from the floor in Austin Peay’s win over Tennessee Martin and he notched 13 points and 10 boards.  Center John Fraley had his way with the Skyhawk defense in the win as he cleaned the boards for 14 rebounds and added 13 points as well.
  • Tennessee Tech.  And now to the bad…  Very few things went right for the Golden Eagles this week as they dropped tow straight games.  Kevin Murphy was one of the lone bright spots in the 76-58 shellacking at the hands of Eastern Kentucky as the guard netted 16 points.  There are no moral victories in conference play so although the margin against Morehead State was a little smaller, a loss is still a loss in the books. Jud Dillard did everything he could to help Tech in the Morehead game, but sometimes that not enough as his 25 points and 12 rebounds just couldn’t get them over the jump. Maybe next week.
  • Jacksonville State.  Another 0-2 week for the Gamecocks was made a little bit worse by a close loss at the hands of EKU on Saturday.  Nick Murphy was a monster in the first game, a 94-75 loss to Morehead State but the problem is he was the only one to show up, his 22 points and 12 rebounds just not enough to offset the point differential.  Jacksonville State rebounded nicely against EKU but ran out of gas in the end as a crucial play by Eastern’s Justin Stommes put them down one and a timely charge call on the next possession ended their chances at a W. Trenton Marshall scored 19 points and added five boards in the loss.
  • Eastern Illinois.  They fall in the bottom part of this list because they only played one game this week.  That one game was a win, but coming against one of the weaker teams (SEMO) in the league doesn’t help.  Jeremy Granger roughed up the Redhawks for 19 points on nine of 15 shooting and James Hollowell added 10 points and 5 rebounds for the victors.
  • Southeast Missouri State.  Things got worse for the Redhawks as their only win this week came against a team technically not even in their league…literally.  After a loss to the Panthers, SEMO took on lowly SIU-Edwardsville, currently 3-20 overall, to claim an ugly win. Sam Pearson scored 11 points and added four rebounds in the loss while Marland Smith netted 17 points and five rebounds in the win.
  • Tennessee State.  Tennessee State doesn’t fall this low because of a lack off effort, just a lack of production.  Despite Robert Covington’s outburst of 19 points and eight rebounds the Tigers failed to match up with Murray State, and squandered an early lead before falling by 22 (76-54).  Jacquan Nobles and Will Peters did everything they could against Tennessee- Martin and their combined 39 points (Nobles-20, and Peters-19) helped TSU squeak past Martin 74-68.
  • UT Martin.  Marquis Weddle is an animal; his team…not so much.  Despite two 20-point games (23,25) against quality opponents in Austin Peay and Tennessee State the Skyhawks just couldn’t pull off a win in the end. The loss of a player like Lester Hudson would hurt any team but Martin must find a way to help out Weddle if they expect do anything come tournament time.  
  • SIU Edwardsville.  SIU- Edwardsville is doing a valiant job despite the odds stacked against them.  The talent on their team will get better and better in future seasons but they aren’t there yet and it’s no ones fault.  Nikola Bundalo did his best against SEMO, notching nine points and 13 rebounds, but Edwardsville found itself overmatched in every facet of the game and went home with a tough 68-49 loss.
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Checking in on… the OVC

Posted by rtmsf on January 2nd, 2010

James Horne of the Clarksville (TN) Leaf-Chronicle is the RTC correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference.

Current OVC Standings (as of Jan. 2, 2010)

  1. Murray State 2-0 10-3
  2. Austin Peay 2-0 8-6
  3. Jacksonville State 1-0 5-6
  4. Eastern Kentucky 1-1 8-5
  5. Eastern Illinois 1-1 7-5
  6. Morehead State 1-1 6-6
  7. Southeast Missouri State 1-1 4-8
  8. Tennessee Tech 0-1 6-6
  9. Tennessee State 0-2 3-10
  10. UT Martin 0-2 2-9
  11. SIU Edwardsville% 0-0 2-12

% – SIU Edwardsville joined the OVC in July 2008. The program is reclassifying to Division I and not playing a full OVC schedule until 2011-12. They are not eligible for the OVC Championship or postseason play until 2012-13.


PRIME-TIME BATTLE. The New Year begins with a top-notched showdown in the OVC and it will all be televised on ESPNU when defending tournament champion Morehead State (6-6, 1-1 OVC) welcomes in Austin Peay (8-6, 2-0 OVC) for a game at 8 p.m. (CST) Saturday night.  It’s not lost on anyone involved that the Eagles upset the Govs 67-65 in two overtimes to win the 2009 OVC crown last March.  And it helps that Morehead State and Austin Peay were picked to finish first and third (by the conference and RTC) in the preseason.  Morehead State junior center Kenneth Faried, the Preseason Player of the Year, continues to dominate the league by averaging 16.5 points (third in the OVC) and 12.2 rebounds a game (tops in the OVC).  He will be challenged by the Govs senior guard Wes Channels, whose 15 points a game is sixth in the league.

ONLY ONE? By the time Tuesday rolls around Murray State (10-3, 2-0 OVC) could be the last unbeaten left.  The Racers don’t play Saturday and, while not an easy task, face OVC-winless UT Martin at 7 p.m. (CST) Monday.


Monday, December 28

  • Morehead State 66, @South Dakota 64
  • UMKC 63, @SIU Edwardsville 54

Tuesday, December 29

  • Eastern Kentucky 76, Morgan State 62 (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
  • @#16 Ole Miss 90, Jacksonville State 75
  • @Saint Louis 60, Eastern Illinois 42

Wednesday, December 30

  • @UT Martin 71, Westminster 59
  • Chattanooga 68, Eastern Kentucky 54
  • Murray State 82, @SIU Edwardsville 51
  • @Tennessee Tech 95, Union College 46
  • @Alabama 77, Tennessee State 65


Saturday, January 2

  • Jacksonville State at Eastern Illinois, 6:00 p.m.
  • Tennessee State at Eastern Kentucky, 6:00 p.m.
  • Tennessee Tech at Southeast Missouri, 7:45 p.m.
  • Austin Peay at Morehead State, 8:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Monday, January 4

  • Austin Peay at Eastern Kentucky, 6:30 p.m.
  • Tennessee State at Morehead State, 6:30 p.m.
  • UT Martin at Murray State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Tennessee Tech at Eastern Illinois, 7:30 p.m.
  • Jacksonville State at Southeast Missouri, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, January 5

  • Milwaukee at SIU Edwardsville, 7:00 p.m.


  • Austin Peay at Morehead State: Rematch of 2009 OVC Tournament Championship Game won b y Morehead 67-65 in two overtimes.
  • UT Martin at Murray State: Racers could end up as lone OVC undefeated so early in New Year.


OVC. APSU’s Wes Channels and UT Martin’s Marquis Weddle were named Co-OVC Players of the Week.

  • AUSTIN PEAY GOVS (8-6, 2-0 OVC). Govs went 5-2 in December with losses at No. 3 Kentucky and Missouri. Govs lead series with Morehead State 48-47.
  • EASTERN ILLINOIS PANTHERS (7-5, 1-1 OVC). Panthers 5-2 on road in non-conference.
  • EASTERN KENTUCKY COLONELS (8-5, 1-1 OVC). Leads OVC in 3-point field-goal percentage at 41.4 percent (137-of-331 in 13 games)
  • JACKSONVILLE STATE GAMECOCKS (2-4, 0-1 OVC). First-place Gamecocks went 0-3 on road in non-conference
  • MOREHEAD STATE EAGLES (6-6, 1-1 OVC). Looking to beat APSU fourth straight time.
  • MURRAY STATE RACERS (6-1, 1-0 OVC). Could be lone league undefeated by Tuesday.
  • SOUTHEAST MISSOURI REDHAWKS (4-8, 1-1 OVC). The Redhawks broke a 27-straight conference game losing streak, then longest active streak in the nation, with a 74-66 win over Tennessee State on Dec. 5, 2009. Still only one home win.
  • TENNESSEE STATE TIGERS (3-10, 0-2 OVC). Only OVC team with one win at home, on road and at neutral site.
  • TENNESSEE TECH GOLDEN EAGLES (6-6, 1-0 OVC). Only team to win at least three at home and on road in non-conference (Murray State five at home, three on the road is the other)
  • UT MARTIN SKYHAWKS (2-9, 0-2 OVC). Skyhawks 0-6 on road in non-conference.
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Checking in on… the OVC

Posted by rtmsf on December 5th, 2009


James Horne of the Clarksville (TN) Leaf Chronicle is the RTC correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference.

Current OVC Standings (as of Dec. 4, 2009)

  1. Murray State  (1-0, 6-1)
  2. Eastern Illinois  (1-0, 4-2)
  3. Austin Peay  (1-0, 4-4)
  4. Morehead State  (1-0, 2-3)
  5. Tennessee Tech  (0-0, 3-5)
  6. Jacksonville State  (0-0, 2-4)
  7. Eastern Kentucky  (0-1, 5-2)
  8. Southeast Missouri State  (0-1, 2-6)
  9. UT Martin  (0-1, 1-4)
  10. Tennessee State  (0-1, 1-7)
  11. SIU Edwardsville  (0-0, 0-6)


LOOS ASCENDS: Undoubtedly the biggest story in the OVC this week is about a coach.  Austin Peay’s Dave Loos just won the 400th game of his 24-year career in the Govs’ 76-71 overtime win over Southeast Missouri on Dec. 3. That made him 400-318 all-time.  With a victory over EIU on Dec. 5, Loos would tie would tie Cal Luther – former coach at Murray State and UT Martin – for the most victories in OVC history with 319. Loos has been with Austin Peay for 20 seasons and owns a 318-265 record. Loos is already Austin Peay’s all-time winningest coach.

EAGLES VS. RACERS: The two teams picked to win the OVC this year meet for the first time in Murray, Ky., on Dec. 5.  Both defending champion Morehead State and Murray State were the preseason choice to win the league as both gained 10 first-place votes and 154 points.  The Racers have actually won six in a row since a season-opening loss five-point loss to No. 12 California. Murray State has won those five games by an average of 32.2 points.  Morehead State junior Kenneth Faried had his third double-double in four games this season, scoring 12 points and pulling down 15 rebounds in 34 minutes of play in a loss to Kent State on Nov 29. Faried has had a double-double in every game except the team’s season-opening loss at No. 4 Kentucky.

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2009-10 Conference Primers: #24 – Ohio Valley

Posted by rtmsf on October 13th, 2009


James D. Horne is the RTC correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference.  He covers Austin Peay for The Leaf-Chronicle and co-hosts The Afternoon Blitz from 4-6 p.m. on AM 540 in Clarksville, TN.  Click here for all of our 2009-10 Season Preview materials.

Predicted Order of Finish:

  1. Morehead State (13-5)
  2. Murray State (13-5)
  3. Austin Peay (12-6)
  4. Eastern Kentucky (10-8)
  5. Eastern Illinois (9-9)
  6. Jacksonville State (9-9)
  7. Tennessee Tech (8-10)
  8. UT Martin (6-12)
  9. Tennessee State (4-14)
  10. Southeast Missouri State (2-16)

All-Conference Team:

  • Wes Channels (G), Austin Peay, 6’3, 210, Sr, 16.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.2 apg, 71 3-pts
  • Romain Martin (G), Eastern Illinois, 6’3, 185, Sr, 15.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 74 3-pointers
  • Maze Stallworth (F), Morehead State, 6’4, 215, Sr, 12.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 38.0 3-pt%
  • Danero Thomas (F), Murray State, 6’4, 190, Sr, 12.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.6 spg, 41.8 FG%
  • Kenneth Faried (C), Morehead State, 6’8 215 Jr, 13.5 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 56.0 FG%

6th Man. Anthony Campbell (F), Austin Peay, 6’6, 185, So, 7.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 50.0 FG%

Breakout Player.  Ivan Aska (F), Murray State, 6’7, 230, So, 10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 51.6 FG%

Coach of the Year. Donnie Tyndall, Morehead State

Player of the Year. Kenneth Faried, Morehead State

ovc logo

What You Need to Know:

  • The OVC loves its basketball as much as the ACC, Big 12 and Big East do; they just play on a much smaller scale.
  • The OVC is the eighth-oldest NCAA Division I conference and expanded in 2008 with the addition of SIU-Edwardsville.
  • This year the most dominant player in the league will be Morehead State junior center Kenneth Faried, a big man who could play in any league, and whose coach, Donnie Tyndall, is building a power on the footsteps of the Appalachian Mountains.
  • Murray State and Austin Peay just may have the fiercest rivalry in all of college basketball, at least those not in a power conference, and have been at the top of the league for over a decade.  Senior guard Wes Channels will lead the Govs and senior forward Danero Thomas leads the Racers.

Predicted ChampionMurray State (NCAA Seed: #16).  The Racers have been on the verge of returning to their perch in the OVC and this should be the year they get back. But if they don’t in Billy Kennedy’s fourth season a change could be made.

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