CTC Day Three: The Murray State Invitational Tips Off Tonight

The Murray State conference, also known as the Ohio Valley, gets underway tonight with an opening round double-header.  The OVC was way ahead of the curve on this increasingly popular double-bye style tournament to give added advantage to their best regular season teams, while still bringing in the crucial revenue from a conference tournament.  Tonight’s double-header pits the bottom 4 qualifying teams for the right to reach the quarters tomorrow night. 

In CTC, this is yet another conference that has been dominated by J recently, as he has won back-to-back OVC titles.  Teddy was the one that went a little crazy here with Jacksonville St. going to the finals.  Tonight’s action has two games where the field is completely split 9 to 9 on BOTH games.  So, despite being a first round, this is a potentially big night in the CTC.

Championship Picks
15 for #1 Murray St.
0 for #2 Tennessee St.
3 for #3 Morehead St. (Gersh, RSmith, Waters)

Biggest Upsets
R1 – #8 E. Kentucky (Bry, Doogan, Gross, J, Lynch, Primm, RSmith, Teddy, Waters)
QF – #7 Jacksonville St. (Alexi, Dave, Doogan, J, Lohse, Teddy)
SF – #7 Jacksonville St. (Teddy)

Past CTC Champs
2011 – J
2010 – J
2009 – Ina
2008 – Waters

#5 SE Missouri St. vs. #8 E. Kentucky
SEMO had a really good start to the year, but limped to the finish line, costing themselves not only a double-bye, but the single-bye, as well.  E. Kentucky barely qualified for the tournament, having to beat E. Illinois on the last day of the regular season just to qualify for the OVC tournament.  The winner of this game will move to the quarters to face 4th-seeded Tennessee Tech.  The 18 entries this year are evenly split on this one, as 9 people (Bry, Doogan, Gross, J, Lynch, Primm, RSmith, Teddy, and Waters) took the upset shot on EKU.  Lynch has the most at stake with his upset pick, as he has EKU winning today and tomorrow.  3 people (Lil Lohse, Mac, and Scoot) have SEMO reaching the semis.

#6 Austin Peay vs. #7 Jacksonville St.
The other opening round game tonight pits two teams that were left for dead at various points this season, only to rebound with some impressive basketball late in the year.  Austin Peay entered conference play with a 3-11 record against, albeit a somewhat tough non-conference schedule, and then proceeded to drop their first 4 conference games and it looked like they were dead and buried.  But, they recovered to win 8 of their last 12 conference games to finish 8-8 and grab the 6-seed.  Jacksonville St. was even more forgotten, picked next-to-last in the conference in the preseason, they were making the prognosticators look good, starting 1-6 in conference play.  But, they really hit their stride down the stretch and finished 8-8 in conference, safely into the tournament.  And, just to add to the CTC OVC drama, this game, just like the other one is split right down the middle, with 9 people supporting Austin Peay and 9 supporting JSU (Alexi, Dave, Doogan, Gersh, J, Lil Lohse, Lohse, Lynch, and Teddy).  In fact, 6 people (Alexi, Dave, Doogan, J, Lohse, and Teddy) actually have JSU beating #3 Morehead St. tomorrow night and reaching the semis.  J and Teddy have gone even further, picking the Gamecocks to reach the OVC title game.

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