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My 9* Tourney Takedown (OVC) is on Morehead St at 10:30 ET.
Belmont is the overwhelming favorite to win the OVC tourney but the Eastern Kentucky Colonels and Morehead St Eagles meet tonight from the Ford Center (Evansville, In) and the winner will get its shot against Belmont in the championship game (I'm assuming Belmont gets past Jacksonville in tonight's other OVC semifinal game). The game will feature Eastern Kentucky's offense (82.9 PPG ranks 8th in the nation) up against Morehead State's defense (63.4 PPG allowed ranks 33rd). The two schools have met twice this season but those contests came back in December. Eastern Ky won 71-68 at home (Dec 7) and then lost 75-62 at Morehead St on Dec 14 (I'll get back to these games shortly).
The Colonels are led freshman PG Green (15.3-3.4-5.1) and 6-9 junior King (15.2 & 6.3). Guard Guard Lewis (11.1 & 5.2) plus the 6-7 Moreno (10.1 & 4.8) also add double digits in points. Green scored 23 points, including clinching free throws with 12 seconds left, as Eastern Kentucky survived a last-gasp try from Austin Peay to edge the Governors 70-67 last night. Austin Peay was just 3 of 17 on three-pointers, allowing Eastern Ky to win despite scoring about 13 points under its season average.
The Eagles have SIX players averaging 25-plus minutes, while chipping in between 7.3 and 13.3 PPG. 6-10 freshman Broome leads in scoring (13.3) and rebounding (8.7) plus juniors guards Devon Cooper (11.7 & 5.1) and Potter (11.4 & 5.7) compromise a VERY good backcourt duo. Ta'lon Cooper (8.3 PPG) came off the bench to score 17 points to carry No. 2 seed Morehead State to a 61-54 win over Southeast Missouri on Wednesday night. Broome had 14 & 11 plus Devon Cooper added 12 points. Morehead St came up big defensively, allowing only 54 points on 35.7% shooting.
Looking back to those two regular season meetings, Eastern Ky averaged just 66.5 PPG against Morehead St, 16 points less than the team's season average. This has been a "breakout season" for Morehead St head coach Preston Spradlin, who went just 46-69 in his first four seasons at the school. He leads his team into this contest having won 17 of its last 18 games, losing only 73-58 at Belmont (note: The Eagles avenged that loss with an 89-82 home win over Belmont). I had a HUGE play on Eastern Ky last night (eked out a win) but will go against the Colonels in this one against the 'hottest' team in the OVC, which also owns an advantage of having played Wednesday, NOT last night like EKU.