Rarely does the Ohio Valley Conference receive at-large berths in the NCAA Tournament. Three league members are hunting at large berths this season. When the first National Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings were released, three OVC teams landed within the Top 100 and those three teams have invaluable opportunities to climb the NCAA ladder and gain a foothold in the national tournament.
Belmont is 43rd in the first NET release and 58 in the latest KenPom rankings. Murray State is 64th with a KenPom of 99 and Morehead State lands at 79 and KenPom ranks them 138. Morehead State was the only NCAA Tournament team from the OVC last season. They won the league’s automatic bid by winning the conference tournament.
Belmont won the regular-season crown, but with a mediocre 110 KenPom rating did not get a look from NCAA Selection Committee. Murray State had an ‘off year’ last season, but Racers and the Bruins both participated in and won a game during the 2019 Big Dance.
Belmont is playing in its last season in the OVC and they and Murray State are a known national commodity. Morehead State is a little less known, but star Johni Broome is helping put them on the map.
This is a crucial two weeks for these OVC powers if they are to receive the respect they need to be added to Mark Emmert’s tournament if they fail to win the conference tournament.