By: Jacob Seus, KCOU Sports
Wednesday morning starts the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament from Nashville, Tennessee. If you haven’t been paying attention to this conference throughout the season, no one is going to blame you, but if you learn anything from this article know that Murray State is a legitimate threat come NCAA tournament play. The OVC tournament is the fourth-oldest Division I basketball championship tournament.
The Murray State Racers are the tournaments number one seed and just completed a 16-0 perfect conference slate, they are only the fifth team to ever have a perfect season in the OVC, the first to do it since the 2003-2004 season. The 2nd seed Eastern Kentucky along with Murray State received double byes and are already on to the semifinals. The 3rd seed, defending number one seed Belmont and the 4th seed UT Martin received first round buys and move into Thursday’s quarterfinals.
When the tournament kicks off Wednesday it will be the 5 seed Morehead State vs. the 8 seed Southeast Missouri. Both teams finished there seasons with records under .500. In an earlier matchup this season Morehead State knocked off SEMO by 13 and they’ll do the same Wednesday, I’m taking the Eagles for the second time this year. In game two of the first round it will be 6 seed Eastern Illinois vs. 7 seed SIU-Edwardsville. There wont be an upset this time around. Eastern Illinois is a team that puts up a lot of points. The SIUE defense wont be able to stop the Panthers as they’ll cruise to a second round birth.
If everything goes according to plan the second round will be UT Martin vs. Morehead State and Belmont vs. Eastern Illinois. Morehead state traveled to UT Martin earlier in the year and suffered a rough OT lose a game that they should have won. Morehead state will be looking to take revenge and they’ll grab this one in an upset. It will be double upsets in the second round as the Belmont defense wont be able to stop Eastern Illinois.
When the Semifinals take place we will finally see the top seeds in action when Murray State takes on Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky battles Eastern Illinois. These games will go accordingly when Murray State and Eastern Kentucky move on to the finals ending the competitive runs of the high seeds. When the finals come on Saturday it will be Murray States game to lose. The Racers will remain perfect entering the tournament led by Cameron Payne and will take the OVC title and begin their title quest riding the momentum from being a perfect 18-0 and the Ohio Valley Conference Champions.