Murray State visits Belmont Saturday. This is the first of two Ohio Valley Conference heavyweight battles between Murray State and Belmont. These two programs are consistently battling for the OVC title and Saturday is the first head-to-head match of the season.
During the nine seasons when both programs have been in the OVC, they have combined to win 15 divisional titles, participated in four NCAA Tournaments, four National Invitation Tournaments, and one CollegeInsider.com Tournament. These two have been the unquestioned OVC powerhouses. Since the 2009-10 season, these are the only teams to win a regular-season championship. After joining the league for the 2012-13 season, Belmont has won three conference tournaments and Murray has collected two.
Last year Morehead State claimed the league tournament title and is the only team that realistically could challenge the behemoths for the top spot.
The metrics tell us this is a big-time game. In the CollegeInsider.com ‘Mid-Major Top 25’ Belmont is sixth and Murray is ninth. Looking at the all-important NET, the Bruins are an elite-level 28 and the Racers are a very respectable 46. KenPom’s efficiency ratings find BU is 43rd and MSU is 77th.
This is a Quad One game for Murray State and the two teams tip at 4:00 pm on ESPN+. Here are three things to watch for in the matchup.