Ohio Valley Preview 2015-16

1.      Belmont
2.      Murray St.
3.      Eastern Kentucky
4.      Eastern Illinois
5.      UT-Martin
6.      SEMO
7.      Morehead St.
8.      Tennessee St.
9.      Tennessee Tech
10.   Austin Peay
11.   SIU-Edwardsville.
12.   Jacksonville St. 

Probably the best conference we weren’t able to get all the way through, the Ohio Valley boasts two elite mid-major programs in Belmont and Murray State. Murray just continues to churn out great coaches, as Steve Prohm follows Billy Kennedy (Texas A&M) and Mick Cronin (Cincy) onto bigger and better things. New coach Matt McMahon loses a plethora of talent, most notably lottery pick Cameron Payne, but junior college transfer Bryce Jones is a first-team all-conference candidate right away, and the talent is far from gone in Murray, Kentucky.

On the other hand, Belmont brings back basically all of its squad that upset the Racers in the conference tourney, and Coach Rick Byrd’s incredibly pleasing style will continue to terrorize the conference. The Bruins always take a ton of threes (and usually shoot them at a high level), and this year will be no different. The Bruins experience and skill should be enough for another run at a tourney berth.

Among the other squads, I have a personal affection for Eastern Illinois, having played against tiny point guard Cornell Johnston and freshman wing Casey Teson in various pickup games in Saint Louis. Johnston is a great shooter and an even better passer, and I expect Teson’s elite range to make an impact in the OVC sooner rather than later.

Jacksonville State is another interesting squad (despite my last place prediction). They have by far the most talented player in the conference in Cam Biedscheid, a former Mizzou Tiger (never made it on the court) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish (how do you make that singular? Just Irish?). If he has his head on straight, he will be a nightmare, but I’ll wager most of King Midas’s gold that playing in the OVC won’t inspire him any more than the ACC or the SEC did. I will be shocked if he plays even half of the team’s games this year between suspensions and the prospect of him simply quitting.

UT-Martin is probably the biggest dark horse here, with Twymond Howard and Alex Anderson being an excellent duo, but this will likely come down to the traditional conference powers once again.  And yes I'm aware that there are divisions in the OVC, but they pretty much don't matter at all in NCAABB. 

All Conference: 

POY: Craig Bradshaw, Senior, Belmont
Coach of the Year: Dana Ford, Tennessee St.
Newcomer of the Year: Bryce Jones, Junior, Murray St.


First team
G – Cornell Johnston, Sophomore, Eastern Illinois
G – Craig Bradshaw, Senior, Belmont
G – Jeffrey Moss, Senior, Murray St.
F – Twymond Howard, Senior, UT-Martin
F – Chris Horton, Senior, Austin Peay

Second team
G – Bryce Jones, Junior, Murray St.
G – JaVontae Hawkins, R-Junior, Eastern Kentucky
G – Alex Anderson, Senior, UT-Martin
F – Evan Bradds, Junior, Belmont
F – Antonius Cleveland, Sophomore, SEMO

Third team
G – Brent Arrington, Senior, Morehead St.
G – Taylor Barnette, Junior, Belmont
G – Keron DeShields, R-Senior, Tennessee St.
G/F – Trae Anderson, Senior, Eastern Illinois
F – Gee McGhee, Junior, Murray St.

1.      Belmont
F – Amanze Egekeze, 6‘8, Sophomore
F – Evan Bradds, 6‘7, Junior
SG – Taylor Barnette, 6‘3, R-Junior
SG – Craig Bradshaw, 6‘3, Senior
PG – Austin Luke, 6‘2, R-Sophomore
Reserves: Nick Smith, 6‘8, Jr.; Jeff Laidig, 6‘4, Sr.; Kevin McClain, 6‘2, Fr.; Mark Mercer, 6‘9, So.; Tyler Hadden, 6’10, R-So.
Postseason Prediction: 14 seed

2.      Murray St.
C – Wayne Langston, 6‘7, Senior
F – Gee McGhee, 6‘4, R-Junior
G – Jeffrey Moss, 6‘4, Senior
SG – Damarcus Croaker, 6‘2, Junior – eligible in December
PG – Bryce Jones, 6‘0, Junior
Reserves: Justin Seymour, 6‘3, Jr.; AJ Patty, 6‘8, Jr.; Justice Green, 6‘5, Fr.; Cletrell Pope, 6‘6, Fr.
Postseason Prediction: NIT

3.      Eastern Kentucky
PF – Ja’Mill Powell, 6‘8, Junior
F – Jarelle Reischel, 6‘7, Senior
G – Javontae Hawkins, 6‘5, R-Junior
SG – Isaac McGlone, 6‘2, Junior
PG – Paul Jackson, 6‘1, Sophomore
Reserves: Deverin Muff, 6‘8, Sr.; Cam Williams, 6‘0, Jr.; Jaylen Babb-Harrison, 6‘4, R-Jr.; KJ Bluford, 6‘1, R-Sr.; Greg King, 6‘7, So.; Tommy Matthews, 6‘1, Sr.
Postseason Prediction:

4.      Eastern Illinois
C – Luke Piotrowski, 6’11, Senior
F – Trae Anderson, 6‘4, Senior
SG – AJ Riley, 6‘4, Junior
G – Demetrius Reynolds, 6‘2, Junior
PG – Cornell Johnston, 5‘8, Sophomore
Reserves: Casey Teson, 6‘2, Fr.; Luke Norman, 6‘1, Sr.; Anthony Johnson, 6‘4, Jr.; Marshawn Blackmon, 6‘5, Fr.; Patrick Muldoon, 6‘7, Fr.; Lucas Jones, 6‘7, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

5.      UT-Martin
C – Javier Martinez, 6‘7, Sophomore
PF – Twymond Howard, 6‘6, Senior
SF – Richard Lee, 6‘4, Sophomore
SG – Alex Anderson, 5’11, Senior
PG – Terrence Dunham, 6‘3, Senior
Reserves: Chandler Rowe, 6‘7, So.; James Harrison, 6‘5, Jr.; Kedar Edwards, 6‘5, Jr.; Jalen Variste, 5’10, Jr.; Fatodd Lewis, 6‘8, R-Fr.; Nick Detlev, 7‘2, R-Fr.
Postseason Prediction:


6.      SEMO
C – Trey Kellum, 6‘7, R-Junior
PF – Antonius Cleveland, 6‘6, Junior
SF – Isiah Jones, 6‘4, Senior
SG – Jamaal Calvin, 6‘1, Junior
PG – Marcus Wallace, 6‘1, Sophomore
Reserves: Joel Angus III, 6‘7, Jr.; Xavion Dillon, 6‘7, Jr.; Clyde Santee, 6‘7, Jr.; JT Jones, 6‘3, So.; Eric McGill, 6‘2, Fr.; Tony Anderson II, 6‘9, Fr.; Jaylin Stewart, 6‘7, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

7.      Morehead St.
C – Anthony Elechi, 6‘8, Senior
PF – Lyonell Gaines, 6‘6, R-Senior
SF – Brent Arrington, 6‘3, R-Senior
SG – Miguel Dicent, 6‘3, Sophomore
PG – Corban Collins, 6‘3, R-Junior
Reserves: Xavier Moon, 6‘2, Jr.; DeJuan Marrero, 6‘9, Jr.; Treshaad Williams, 6‘5, Jr.; Ty’Quan Bitting, 6‘9, Jr.; Keion Alexander, 6‘9, Jr.; Lamontray Harris, 6‘7, Fr.; Malik Maitland, 5’11, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

8.      Tennessee St.
C – Christian Mekowulu, 6‘9, Sophomore
PF – Demontez Loman, 6‘6, Senior
SF – Marcus Roper, 6‘5, Senior
SG – Darreon Reddick, 6‘4, Sophomore
PG – Keron DeShields, 6‘2, R-Senior
Reserves: Xavier Richards, 6‘2, Sr.; Tahj McCall, 6‘5, R-Jr.; Johnny Woodard, 6‘4, Jr.; Jordan Reed, 6‘4, R-Sr.; Armani Chaney, 5’10, Fr.; Khalil Spencer, 6‘4, Fr.; Wayne Martin, 6‘7, Jr.
Postseason Prediction:

9.      Tennessee Tech
C – Ryan Martin, 6‘9, Junior
PF – Mason Ramsay, 6‘6, Sophomore
SF – Josiah Moore, 6‘5, Senior
SG – Aleksa Jugovic, 6‘3, Sophomore
PG – Torrance Rowe, 6‘1, Senior
Reserves: Anthony Morse, 6‘9, Sr.; Markell Henderson, 6‘5, R-So.; Hakeem Rogers, 6‘1, Jr.; Shirmane Thomas, 6‘2, Jr.; Micaiah Henry, 6‘8, Fr.; Tre Hansbrough, 6‘3, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

10.   Austin Peay
C – Chris Horton, 6‘8, Senior
PF – Kenny Jones, 6‘7, Junior
SF – John Murry, 6‘4, Junior
SG – Josh Robinson, 6‘3, Sophomore
PG – Khalil Davis, 6‘5, Senior
Reserves: Terrell Thompson, 6‘1, Jr.; Assane Diop, 6‘8, Jr.; Tre‘ Ivory, 5’11, So.; Domas Budrys, 6‘4, So.; Jared Savage, 6‘5, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:


11.   SIU-Edwardsville
C – Grant Fiorentinos, 6’10, Senior
PF – Jalen Henry, 6‘8, Sophomore
SF – Jake Newton, 6‘6, Senior
SG – Burak Eslik, 6‘4, Junior
PG – CJ Carr, 5‘7, Sophomore
Reserves: Devin Thornton, 6‘5, Jr.; Yemi Makanjuola, 6’10, R-Sr.; Keenan Simmons, 6‘6, Sr.; Michael Chandler, 6‘8, Sr.; Jordan Harris, 6‘3, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:


12.   Jacksonville St.
F – Jeremy Watson, 6‘7, Senior
F – Christian Cunningham, 6‘6, Freshman
SF – Cam Biedscheid, 6‘7, Junior
SG – Malcolm Drumwright, 6‘3, Sophomore
PG – JaQuail Townser, 6‘3, Senior
Reserves: Erik Durham, 6‘4, Jr.; DelFincko Bogan, 5‘9, Fr.; Andre Statam, 6‘6, Fr.; Greg Tucker, 6‘2, Jr.; Ousmane Ba, 6’11, Jr.
Postseason Prediction: