Skip to content

OVC Conference Tournament Preview

Mar 6, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

BelmontBruins.com BelmontBruins.com

The OVC heads to Nashville as the Belmont Bruins look to defend their city and win the conference tournament championship in just their first season as conference members. But in order to do so they will have to stave off several talented and feisty teams looking to make a name for themselves at the Bruins expense.

This hasn’t been the banner year that many expected. The conference’s previous powerhouse, Murray State, has struggled to maintain their lofty status following a breakout season. Morehead State, a postseason legend of years’ past, is in the first year of a coaching change and Tennessee State played without their star player for much of the regular season.

Anything less than a Belmont victory in the championship game over Murray State would have to be considered both a disappointment and a shocking upset.

But if we’ve learned anything from this season thus far, it’s to expect the unexpected.

(CLICK HERE to browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

The Bracket

Where: Municipal Auditorium (Nashville, TN)

When: March 6-9

Final: March 9, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)

Favorite: Belmont

Belmont enters their first OVC Tournament as the prohibitive favorites following their inaugural OVC campaign in which they finished 14-2 in league play. Ian Clark and Kerron Johnson anchor one of the top backcourts in the country. The senior duo combines to average 31.6ppg and stopping them will be the number one priority for all opponents who run in to them. But the Bruins have other weapons too. Forwards Trevor Noack and J.J. Mann both average double figures and are high-percentage shooters.

And if they lose?

Murray State, the darlings of 2012 have been pushed to the conference backburner with the arrival of Belmont into the OVC. But the Racers still have Isaiah Canaan and his 21.6ppg. The Racers also have Ed Daniel, the league’s top rebounder. If the Racers want to make the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years, they will need to ride the coattails of their team leaders.

Sleeper:

The Colonels of Eastern Kentucky will have a tough task in front of them if they want to steal the league’s automatic bid away from Belmont. But EKU does have the benefit of being 3-0 against teams they will have to face before potentially playing Belmont in the finals. But the x-factor will be team rebounding. The Colonels are ranked a dreadful 345th in total rebounding. But they can help the cause by making a high percentage of their field goals.

Studs:

- Ian Clark & Kerron Johnson, Belmont: They make up arguably the most dynamic and prolific backcourt in in both Atlantic Sun and Ohio Valley history. Only twice this season have both players failed to reach double figures in the same game.

- Isaiah Canaan, Murray State: Everybody knows his name and everybody knows his game. But that hasn’t helped teams stifle the league’s top scorer. Canaan has failed to score less than 15 points just twice this season and has scored at least 20 points in each of the past four games.

- Robert Covington, Tennessee State: Despite missing the first nine games of league play due to knee injury, Covington is capable of scoring in volume on any given night. He also has developed a knack for being a big game player, and tends to save his best performances for high stakes situations.

- Nino Johnson, Southeast Missouri State: The sophomore big-man has been playing his best basketball of the season as of late, registering a double-double in three of the past four games and has been a match-up nightmare for many of the top teams in the league.

CBT Prediction: The Murray State racers boune back from a two-game losing streak to make a run to the OVC championship where they will face No. 1-seed Belmont. Isaiah Canaan will lead the Racers to the brink of victory, only to have the Bruins close the door on them, winning the OVC championship in their first year as members.

You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

Latest Posts
  1. Summer mixtape of 2015 four-star guard Eric Davis (VIDEO)

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:30 PM EDT

    (USA Basketball) (USA Basketball)

    2015 guard Eric Davis had a strong summer and is one of the better guards in the country.

  2. Louisville is getting a new floor (PHOTO)

    Aug 22, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Five Getty Images

    Louisville is updating its floor with the move to the ACC.

  3. Auburn strikes in 2015 with a four-star wing

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Bruce Pearl AP

    Auburn made a recruiting move on Friday night with the addition of Danjel Purifoy.

  4. Missouri has a tough non-conference slate in Kim Anderson’s first year

    Aug 22, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Missouri has a fair amount of quality teams on its non-conference schedule.

  5. Oregon State guard improving in hospital after collapsing in practice

    Aug 22, 2014, 6:10 PM EDT

    Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times

    An Oregon State incoming guard is improving in the hospital after collapsing earlier in the week.

  6. College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

    Aug 22, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

    (Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    College Basketball Talk’s recruiting column explores the week’s topics.

  7. Former Memphis center officially enrolls at Tennessee

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Dominic Woodson is now officially a Tennessee Volunteer.

  8. Report: Boston College lands Southern Miss graduate transfer

    Aug 22, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT

    Johnathan Williams III, Aaron Brown AP

    Aaron Brown averaged 9.9 points per game and shot 39 percent from three last season, and he’ll be eligible to play immediately.

  9. NCAA takes next step in appeal of Ed O’Bannon lawsuit ruling

    Aug 22, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    NCAA_Logo AP

    Having stated their intention of appealing the ruling in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, the NCAA filed a notice of appeal on Thursday.

  10. Texas A&M lands important 2015 front court commitment

    Aug 22, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT

    D1Circuit.com D1Circuit.com

    Five-star center Tyler Davis becomes Texas A&M’s first commitment, and he’s an important addition for Billy Kennedy.

  11. Michigan freshman discusses his return to the basketball court (VIDEO)

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Austin Hatch checking into the game for the first time (Michigan Athletics) Austin Hatch checking into the game for the first time (Michigan Athletics)

    Austin Hatch, who saw his first action in a Michigan uniform on Saturday, discussed his return to the court on The Today Show.

  12. Makeover of Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse nearing completion

    Aug 22, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    Brandon Miller Brandon Miller

    Upon completion, Hinkle Fieldhouse will have a brand new look while preserving the building’s storied past.

  13. Big Ten releases conference schedule: Michigan, Wisconsin meet January 24

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

    John Beilein AP

    The conference tournament will now span five days, with there being a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 11 (11 seed vs. 14 seed, 12 seed vs. 13 seed).

  14. Four-star combo forward decommits from Ohio State

    Aug 21, 2014, 11:06 PM EDT

    mitchell

    More than two months after his older brother left the football program, Mickey Mitchell has decided to decommit from Ohio State.

  15. Power forward becomes Missouri’s first 2015 commitment

    Aug 21, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

    Kim Anderson AP

    6-foot-7 forward Kevin Puryear was a point forward for his high school team last season.

  16. Creighton’s logos draw ire of Major League Baseball franchise

    Aug 21, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT

    Creighton University Creighton University

    The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t thrilled with Creighton filing an application to trademark its logo, which was unveiled last September.

  17. Bounceback season lands formerly maligned Big 12 coach an extension

    Aug 21, 2014, 7:21 PM EDT

    Baylor Bears v Texas Longhorns Getty Images

    Rick Barnes entered last season on nearly every pundit’s “hot seat” rankings, only to turn things around and win 24 games.

  18. Little League phenom has dreams of playing for Geno Auriemma

    Aug 21, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT

    Mo'ne Davis Mo'ne Davis

    Mo’ne Davis is currently focused on winning a LLWS title, but down the line she really wants to run the point at UConn.

  19. Former Temple great returns to join Fran Dunphy’s coaching staff

    Aug 21, 2014, 4:37 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Aaron McKie ranks sixth on Temple’s all-time scoring list, and he played 13 seasons in the NBA.

  20. Kevin Ollie wisely adds series with Ohio State, Arizona

    Aug 21, 2014, 3:57 PM EDT

    Kevin Ollie AP

    UConn’s league schedule is only getting weaker. They need to beef up in the non-conference.