Wild Race for the OVC Title
(St. Louis, MO) – Belmont has reclaimed the top spot in the Ohio Valley Conference race, but several teams are nipping at the heels or the perennial champs.
Thursday’s showdown win over Murray State lifted the Bruins (14-6, 6-1) into first place and dropped the Racers (13-5, 5-2) into a FOUR-WAY TIE FOR SECOND PLACE! So five OVC teams are 5-2 or better in conference play and the other seven teams are all under .500.
Saturday’s biggest match up is right back in Nashville, where Belmont hosts Austin Peay (10-9, 5-2). First year coach Matt Figger has elevated the Governors into contention behind a host of newcomers, but his team is just 1-7 on the road this season and must head to the Curb Center where the Bruins are 9-2.
None of the other contenders face one another Saturday, but all three play on the road… Advantage Belmont.
The surprising Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (13-7, 5-2) travel to last place Morehead State (5-13, 1-6). The Eagles are winless in three OVC home games. Jacksonville State (14-6, 5-2) gave Morehead one of those home losses this past Thursday and they visit Eastern Kentucky who ironically is also winless in three home contests.
Murray State looks for a bounce back win at Tennessee State (8-10, 3-4) who are looking to knock off their second straight first division team. They bested Austin Peay on Thursday.
Only the top eight OVC teams get to participate in the conference tournament. With Southeast Missouri ineligible for post season play due to NCAA Academic Progress Rate penalties, the other 11 teams are competing for one of those positions. Today, five of them are held by Belmont or those four that are tied for second place.
Every game is critical.
SEMO (9-11, 3-4) was a road winner at Southern Illinois Edwardsville Thursday and they visit Eastern Illinois (7-11, 3-4) who protected their home court against UT Martin.
The above five games can be viewed on the OVC Digital Network.
UT Martin (6-14, 1-6) visits SIUE (7-11, 3-4) in a crucial game for both teams as they fight for potential postseason action. That game (1:00 pm Central) can be seen on both the OVC DN and Fox Sports Midwest.