Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Record: 24-9, 11-5 OVC
Conference: Ohio Valley Conference
How They Qualified: OVC Tournament Champions
Richmond, Kentucky, is a town that is sure going to be rocking tonight. In a season where defending OVC Champs Belmont were surely favored to win the OVC Tourney after a 14-2 record in conference play, the Eastern Kentucky Colonels were able to successfully mount a dream season and upset the clear favorites in the conference championship game. All season long, Eastern Kentucky has been playing second fiddle to Belmont, resting comfortably in the second place spot in the OVC’s Eastern division.
All season long, Eastern Kentucky never seemed to be able to string together a long stretch of wins. They would win four, lose two; win three, lose two, etc. However, all of that changed on February 15, when EKU beat Jacksonville State by 21 points. From that point forward, EKU would never lose another game. That amounted to a seven game win streak, including the OVC Tournament.
What You Need to Know
Leading Scorer: Glenn Cosey (18.7 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: Eric Stutz (4.7 rpg)
Leading Passer: Glenn Cosey (4.2 apg)
Bad Losses: SIU-Edwardsville, Youngstown State
Good Wins: Belmont (2x), @ Morehead State
EKU never really had any really great wins this season, but they are better than North Carolina via the transitive property (EKU>Belmont>UNC). If only that were a factor. Nevertheless, beating Belmont twice and a twenty-win Morehead State team is good in my book.
Eastern Kentucky has been a unique mid-major team this season in that they have a standout player on both sides of the ball. Senior leader Glenn Cosey has been a fantastic scorer all season long for the Colonels, providing a solid boost day in and day out. On the defensive end, the Colonels have a star player in Corey Walden, who was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year. This unique tandem is certainly the key reason for the Colonels’s wonderful tournament run.
Honestly, I don’t see Eastern Kentucky making much noise at all in the tournament. They aren’t a high enough caliber team to compete with some of the elite schools they’ll inevitably face, seeing as they’ll be seeded pretty low. They have faced some good teams this season, and have come up short every time (they lost to Wisconsin by 25, to NC State by 19, and they came very close to beating VCU, but ultimately lost by 3 in overtime). Those games certainly serve as a glimpse of how this team will fare in the NCAA tournament. Now, I realize that it was still early in the season when they played and they’ve gelled since then, but so have the elite teams. I can’t see EKU making it out of the first round.
Brief Notes on EKU’s Tournament History:
- The Colonels are Dancing for the first time since 2007!
- EKU is 0-7 all-time in the tournament.
- Prior to making the tournament in 2005, EKU had been on a 26-year tournament drought.