The field has been set for the 2021 Ohio Valley Conference Men's Basketball Championship after the final day of action on Saturday afternoon.
The tournament unlike in years past will field eight teams and will be played in a short four-day stretch at the Ford Center in Evansville Indiana. First-round games will tip-off on Wednesday, March 3rd, and will finish on March 4th. The semi-final Matchups will occur on March 5th at 8:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. with both of them airing on ESPNU. Finally, the Championship game will be on Saturday, March, 6 at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
With all that being said let's take a look at the bracket. All times listed in (EST)
First Round - Wednesday, March 3
1. Belmont Vs. 8. SIUE 8:00 p.m. ESPN+
2. Morehead State Vs. 7. Southeast Missouri 10:30 p.m. ESPN+
Thursday, March 4
4. Jacksonville State Vs. 5. Murray State 8:00 p.m. ESPN+
3. Eastern Kentucky Vs. 6. Austin Peay 10:30 p.m. ESPN+
The Bruins finished OVC play with an 18-2 record winning its seventh regular-season title in nine years. After winning 21 straight games Belmont dropped their last two games of the regular season to third seed Eastern Kentucky 81-67 and Morehead State 89-82 in overtime. The only thing that is stopping Belmont is themselves as it looks like the momentum from their 21 game win streak has fallen off after their two-game skid coming into the tournament.
2. Morehead State,
After defeating Belmont at home to end their regular season Morehead State is coming into the OVC hungry to punch their ticket to March Madness with a win in the conference tournament. Morehead State has won 16 of their last 17 games with their only loss coming in their first matchup in the regular season against Belmont. Morehead State has a pretty easy track to the semifinals as they face Southeast Missouri State who they disposed of pretty easily winning both by the score of 64-50 and 76-65. If the bracket would pan out with the higher seeds winning in the opening round Morehead State would face Eastern Kentucky in the semifinals who they split the season series with losing a tight one 71-68 then in the second game they defeated the Colonels 75-62. The Eagles are looking to capture their first title since 2011.
3. Eastern Kentucky
The Colonels are another team to look out for in the OVC tournament as they are locked in as the third seed. The team has won seven of their last nine games and capped off their regular season with an 89-84 victory over Tennessee State on Saturday. Tre King has been a focal point on both sides of the ball for the Colonels as he averaged 15 points six rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Eastern Kentucky will have to get through Austin Peay in the first round a team who they only beat by five on January 2nd and then got blown out by the governors 94-79 in early February.
5. Murray State
The Racers have had a down year after making the conference championship in 2020. Murray State is coming in as the fifth seed after posting a 13-12 overall record. They will face Jacksonville State on Wednesday night after they lost their final two games of the season including one to the Gamecocks. One thing that this team has is championship metal which is one of the reasons why I feel as if they can make a deep run in the conference tournament. KJ Williams who was on the 2018-19 tournament time that upset 5. Marquette. He was an integral part of that team his freshman season scoring 16 points in their 83-64 victory over the Golden Eagles. As for this season, Williams is posting a career-high 15 points and eight rebounds per game. Watch out for Murray State as they can be very dangerous during the postseason. At the moment teamrankings.com is giving Murray State the second-best odds of winning the Championship.