By: Joshua Chodor
One of this season’s most intriguing tournaments begins this Wednesday in Nashville as the Ohio Valley Conference Basketball tourney will get underway. The Tournament will be held at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium for the sixth consecutive year.
First ranked Belmont comes in as a heavy favorite, claiming their third regular season title in the last four years. The Bruins come in at 12-4 in Conference play. Watch for junior Evan Bradds, who at one point this season successfully recorded an OVC record twenty-two straight field goals.
By virtue of a tiebreaker, UT-Martin comes into the tournament as the two seed and receives a double bye into the semifinals. The Skyhawks beat out Murray State by way of in-conference victories and look to advance to the OVC Championship game for the first time.
Meanwhile the Murray State Racers, the four-time defending Western division champs, have fallen to the six seed. Number three Morehead State and number four Tennessee State each received byes for the first round of the tournament based on their records.
Number five Tennessee Tech will take on eighth seeded Austin Peay to tip off the tournament, and Murray State will battle seventh seeded Eastern Illinois to finish out the first round. It is important to note that the OVC tournament only showcases the top eight teams from within the conference, leaving four squads out. However, number eight Austin Peay should not be ignored, as the Governors’ Chris Horton became one of only thirteen Division I players in history 1,600 points, 1,100 rebounds and 300 blocks in a career. Look out for the underdogs in this year’s tournament: I’m predicting sixth-seeded Murray State to make a deep run once again, and for third ranked Morehead State to also turn some heads.