Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dancing with the Stars: Morehead State Eagles

Conference: Ohio Valley

Record: 24-9, 13-5

Rankings: 97 (Kenpom), 111 (Sagarin), 77 (RPI)

Potential Seed: 15/16, possibly a play-in game

Best Players: Kenny Faried (17.4 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 2.0 spg, 2.4 bpg), Demonte Harper (16.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.4 apg), Terrance Hill (10.4 ppg)

Big Wins, Bad Losses: The Eagles knocked off a couple of notable non-conference opponents. They beat SoCon regular season co-champion Charleston in January and then took down the MVC's auto-bid winner Indiana State on Bracket Buster's weekend in February. MSU put up a fight at Florida and at Ohio State, but they also suffered bad losses to UNC-Wilmington, Tennessee State, Eastern Kentucky, and Eastern Illinois.

Tendencies: We've all heard the saying "their best offense might be a missed shot". Well, that is Morehead State for you. They have the kind of size you don't often see at this level of basketball, led by potential first round pick and the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder Kenneth Faried. Demontez Harper, a 6'4" senior guard, is another big time scorer. The Eagles don't really have a point guard that can create, which is part of the reason they turn the ball over as much as they do and could cause a problem against a pressuring defense.

How They Got There: The Eagles started the conference season slowly, starting 4-4, before winning eight in a row to set up a defacto regular season title game against Murray State. The Racers won that battle, forcing Morehead State into the No. 2 seed in the OVC Tournament. But Murray lost in the semifinals, denying us a rubber match between the two OVC favorites, but giving the Fighting Farieds an easy path back to the NCAA Tournament.

Outlook: Generally, I would say that Morehead State is a candidate to pull an upset of a top team. They have size, they are experienced, and they performed well on the road against Florida and Ohio State. The problem with that? They are likely going to be locking horns with, at the worst, a two seed. Anything is possible, but the best case scenario may be that Faried gets matched up with someone like a JaJuan Johnson and dominates.

1 comment:

Aaron Flener said...

I attended the OVC. Here was my take on all four days.