The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks claimed their first ever Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship on Saturday with a 79-65 win over Morehead State. The Skyhawks not only have never won their conference tournament, they’ve only won one Ohio Valley tournament game (1-5). The Skyhawks will get the #1 seed in this week’s tournament and host eighth seed Tennessee Tech on Tuesday. Tech got into the tournament on the final day of the regular season with a 91-74 win at Jacksonville State. Only the top 8 teams in the Ohio Valley make their conference tournament. This is the best chance Tennessee-Martin will have to make their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. By virtue of their regular season championship, they have secured an automatic NIT bid, but they are looking for more. They have to win their next 3 games or they won’t get into the Big Dance. The Ohio Valley Conference is almost always a one-bid conference.
Tennessee-Martin’s second round opponent will be the winner of the 4-5 game between Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky. Both of these teams own a win over Tennessee-Martin this year. The other two first round games will pit Tennessee State at Murray State and Eastern Illinois at Austin Peay. The Tennessee State-Murray State game will have two of the hottest Ohio Valley teams besides Tennessee-Martin. Tennessee State has won 5 in a row and is now 5-1 under interim head coach Mark Pittman after Cy Alexander was fired on February 6th. Murray State has won 10 of 12 including a 74-59 win on February 23rd over Tennessee-Martin.
The first round games will take place on campus sites on March 3rd with the semifinals and championship game at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tennessee on March 6th and 7th. I think we’ll see Tennessee-Martin taking on Murray State in the championship game to see who gets the automatic NCAA bid.
Final Regular Season Standings
SE Missouri State