After a break for the Christmas holiday, OVC teams will return to action next weekend with games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday…The games will include the last set of non-conference games for most every team; after this week with the exception of the BracketBusters event in February, only two other non-conference games remain on the schedule…Besides the nine non-conference games on tap this week are the first three OVC contests of the year; the first OVC games of the year are on Saturday when UT Martin plays at Southeast Missouri, Tennessee Tech is at Jacksonville State and Eastern Illinois is at Tennessee State…This year marks the first the OVC has played in divisions (East/West); the league will play a 16-game schedule of Conference games…As of Sunday (Dec. 23) the OVC ranked 17th as a Conference in the RPI at RPIRatings.com; Belmont was the OVC’s highest ranked team (17th) while Murray State was second (20th) and Jacksonville State was third (86th)…Murray State saw the nation’s longest road winning streak (16 games) come to an end on Saturday at Dayton; the loss was the first on the road for the Racers since the end of the 2010-11 season (a NIT game at Missouri State).
Murray State Receiving Votes in Top 25: As of last week’s poll Murray State continues to receive votes in both national Top 25 polls. The Racers picked up three (3) points in the USA Today Coaches Poll and four (4) points in the Associated Press Top 25. Belmont received votes in the coaches poll on Nov. 19 following its win at Stanford but is no longer receiving votes in that poll. A new poll will be released on Monday.
Murray State, Belmont, Eastern Kentucky Ranked in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll: In last week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll (Dec. 17, the new poll has not been released yet), Murray State was No. 4, Belmont was No. 10 and Eastern Kentucky was No. 19 while Jacksonville State was among the other schools receiving votes. Murray State was ranked fourth for the fifth-straight week, Belmont fell two spots following a loss to Kansas while EKU dropped one spot following its loss to Illinois. Jacksonville State doubled its point total (from 12 to 24) and is unofficially 31st in the poll. Creighton was ranked first and received 23 first-place votes while Gonzaga second and picked up seven first-place votes while Murray State picked up the final first-place vote. Murray State finished the 2011-12 season ranked No. 1 in the poll, holding that spot for the final 12 weeks of the season; MSU was the first OVC team to ever be ranked No. 1 in the poll. Now in its 14th season, the Mid-Major poll is made up of team’s from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, WAC and West Coast. It is voted upon by coaches from those conferences, with one coach per conference casting a vote (Eastern Kentucky’s Jeff Neubauer is the OVC representative).
NCAA Statistical Leaders: In the latest set of NCAA statistical leaders released on Dec. 17 (the next set of leaders will not be released until Wednesday, Jan. 2), Eastern Kentucky ranks second nationally in turnover margin (+7.9/game) while Belmont ranks sixth nationally in 3-pointers made/game (9.0). Austin Peay is 11th in fewest personal fouls/game (13.5) and 13th in 3-point percentage (40.3%) while Morehead State is 10th in steals (10.5/game). Murray State is 25th in scoring offense (79.2 points/game) and 21st in field goal percentage (48.2%). Southeast Missouri State ranks 15th in field goal percentage defense (36.2%) and 19th in 3-point percentage defense (25.2%). Jacksonville State ranks 15th in 3-point percentage defense (25.2%). Individually Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan ranks seventh nationally in scoring (21.3 points/game) and 10th in 3-pointers made/game (3.4). Belmont’s Ian Clark is fourth nationally in both 3-point percentage (52.0%) and fifth in 3-pointers made/game (3.9). Murray State’s Ed Daniel is fifth in rebounding (11.7/game) and fifth in double-doubles (6). Austin Peay’s Chris Horton is 11th in blocks (3.0/game) while Southeast Missouri’s Nino Johnson is 14th (2.9/game). APSU’s Travis Betran is eighth in 3-point percentage (50.9%) while Tennessee State’s Patrick Miller is 14th in assists (6.5/game).
Former OVC Players in the NBA: Entering the 2012-13 season there are two former OVC players on NBA rosters. Former Morehead State All-American Kenneth Faried was the No. 22 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and is in his second season with the Denver Nuggets. Faried was a two-time OVC Player of the Year, three-time OVC Defensive Player of the Year and set the NCAA Modern Era (since 1973) Rebounding record during his career. Faried was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 2012 after averaging 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds/game in 46 contests. Former Tennessee Tech star Kevin Murphy, who scored 50 points in a game last season, was picked by the Utah Jazz with the 47th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and begins his rookie season with the team. Murphy is currently playing with the Jazz’s NBDL affiliate, the Reno BigHorns. Several other former NBA players are in the NBDL including Morehead State’s Demonte Harper (Erie BayHawks), Tennessee Tech’s Liam McMorrow (Iowa Energy), Jacksonville State’s Nick Murphy (Iowa Energy) and Jacksonville State’s Walker Russell (Fort Wayne Mad Ants).
The 2012-13 Season: The 2012-13 season marks the 65th of competition in the OVC. Over the previous 64 years, 12 different teams have claimed an OVC regular season championship.
Murray State’s Canaan Tabbed as Preseason Player of the Year: The 2012-13 All-OVC Preseason Men’s Basketball team was headlined by Murray State senior Isaiah Canaan who is the defending OVC Player of the Year and a preseason All-American selection. Overall six different schools were represented on the team with Belmont, Murray State, Southeast Missouri and Tennessee State having two selections apiece while SIUE and Tennessee Tech each had one selection to round out the team. The squad features three players who were All-OVC first-team selections last season, two players who were second-team selections and one player who was selected to the All-Newcomer squad. The team is comprised of eight seniors and two juniors. Last season Canaan was named the 2012 OVC Player of the Year and 2011-12 OVC Male Athlete of the Year after ranking 24th nationally in scoring (19.0), sixth in 3-point percentage (45.6%) and 13th in 3-pointers made/game (2.97). In addition to Canaan, Tennessee State senior forward Robert Covington and Tennessee Tech senior guard Jud Dillard were each first-team selections last year and are on the preseason team this year. The second-team selections from last year appearing on the preseason team this year are Southeast Missouri junior forward Tyler Stone and SIUE senior forward Mark Yelovich. The Preseason All-OVC team was rounded out by the Belmont senior backcourt duo of Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark, Murray State senior forward Ed Daniel, Tennessee State junior guard Patrick Miller and Southeast Missouri senior guard Marland Smith.
Murray State, Belmont Picked as OVC Preseason Favorites: In a vote of Ohio Valley Conference head men’s basketball coaches and sports information directors defending champion Murray State was picked the favorite in the West Division while newcomer Belmont was picked as the East Division favorite in the OVC for 2012-13. This year marks the first for divisional play in the OVC, which now includes 12 teams for the first time in Conference history. Murray State led the West Division voting, picking up 22 of a possible 24 first-place votes (schools were not allowed to vote for themselves) and 132 total points. Southeast Missouri State was tabbed second and picked up the remaining two first-place votes and 108 points. The West was rounded out by Austin Peay (92), SIUE (73), Eastern Illinois (49) and UT Martin (38). Belmont picked up 21 of the 24 first-place votes and 131 points to be picked the East Division favorites. Tennessee State was tabbed second and received the other three first-place votes and 109 points. The East was rounded out by Tennessee Tech (87), Morehead State (77) and Eastern Kentucky (56). Due to a NCAA APR penalty, Jacksonville State is ineligible for the OVC and NCAA Tournaments this season and was not included in the preseason voting.
This Week’s Schedule
Friday, December 28
Austin Peay vs. Utah Valley, 3:30 p.m. (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Southern Miss at Morehead State, 6:30 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
SIUE at Saint Louis, 7:00 p.m. (FOX Sports Midwest)
Belmont vs. Boston University, 8:30 p.m. (Orlando, Fla.)
Saturday, December 29
*UT Martin at Southeast Missouri, 12:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Valparaiso at Murray State, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
Austin Peay vs. Chattanooga/High Point, 3:30/6 p.m. (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Belmont vs. UCF/Howard, 4:00/6:30 p.m. (Orlando, Fla.)
*Tennessee Tech at Jacksonville State, 4:30 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
*Eastern Illinois at Tennessee State, 7:30 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Sunday, December 30
Union (Ky.) at Morehead State, 1:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia, 3:00 p.m. (Root Sports/ESPN3)
adidas® OVC Players of the Week
Mike DiNunno, G • Sr., 5-11, 196 • Chicago, Ill. • Eastern Kentucky
In a pair of road games last week, DiNunno averaged 22.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds/game and hit 44 percent (11-of-25) from the field, 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from 3-point range and 92.9 percent (13-of-14) at the free throw line. The senior scored 22 points in each game, establishing a new season-high for points scored. He started the week hitting 5-of-8 3-pointers in a loss at North Carolina A&T; he also had three assists, a rebound and a steal in the contest. In the week’s finale, a win over High Point, DiNunno scored his 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting (4-of-9 3-pointers) while also adding five rebounds and five assists while committing just one turnover in 38 minutes of action. DiNunno was a perfect 6-of-6 at the free throw line against High Point, including 4-of-4 in the final 30 seconds as EKU pulled out the 73-70 victory. DiNunno ranks first in the OVC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), fourth in assists (4.6/game), seventh in steals (1.8/game) and 12th in scoring (14.4 points/game).
Others Nominated: Anthony Campbell, Austin Peay; Trevor Noack, Belmont; Darion Rackley, Jacksonville State; Ed Daniel, Murray State; Tyler Stone, Southeast Missouri; Jerome Jones, SIUE; Patrick Miller, Tennessee State; Jud Dillard, Tennessee Tech; Mike Liabo, UT Martin.
Tim Johnson, G • Jr., 6-4, 200 • Harvey, Ill. • SIUE
Johnson, the transfer from George Washington, averaged 16.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 assists/game while hitting 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the field in a pair of SIUE victories last week. Johnson came off the bench in victories over Eureka College and Robert Morris-Springfield as SIUE improved to 4-5 on the season. Against Eureka the junior had his best game in a Cougar uniform, scoring a season-high 17 points and grabbing a season-high five rebounds in 29 minutes of action. He hit 8-of-12 (66.7%) shots, blocked a pair of shots and had two steals. Johnson closed the week with five points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal against Robert Morris.
Others Nominated: Sherman Blanford, Eastern Illinois; Glenn Cosey, Eastern Kentucky.
Alex Austin, G • Fr., 6-4, 190 • Chicago, Ill. • Eastern Illinois
Austin earned his second OVC Freshman of the Week honors of the season after averaging 10.5 points, 1.5 steals, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists/game in a pair of road games. Austin hit double figures for the second-straight game to begin the week, tallying 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting at Saint Louis. The freshman was perfect (3-of-3) from 3-point range and added two free throws in 27 minutes of action. In a road game at Drake on Saturday, Austin had four points, three steals, two assists and a rebound in 23 minutes of action. For the week he hit 40 percent (6-of-15) from the field, 42.9 percent (3-of-7) from 3-point range and 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from the free throw line.
Others Nominated: none
SectionsBasketball (Men), Featured Story, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, Schools, Sports
TopicsAPSU, Austin Peay, Austin Peay State University, Basketball, Clarksville, Clarksville Sports Network, Dave Loos, Govs, Lady govs, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Tennessee
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