In the first three stretch drive posts we looked at individual Kentucky schools with chances at an at large bid. The state’s three Ohio Valley Conference schools don’t have that luxury as each will need to win the OVC tournament to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Murray State University has the inside track at the bid as it sits in first place in the regular season standings. The Breds are tied with Tennessee Tech in the loss column, but have two more wins, giving them a one game lead for the regular season championship.
Only the top six regular season OVC teams qualify for the postseason conference tournament, and Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University are battling with UT Martin and Eastern Illinois for the final two tournament berths. EKU sits in the sixth and final spot, while Morehead is seventh in the standings and would miss the tournament if the season ended today. The Eagles actually have the fifth fewest losses in the league but have played three fewer conference games after losing an entire series to weather.
Murray St. and Morehead face off this weekend. A series win by the Breds would likely knock the Eagles out of contention for a tournament berth, but would place Murray St. in the driver’s seat for the regular season title. EKU hosts fourth-place Jacksonville State this weekend and last-place SIU Edwardsville in the final series of the season. Two series wins would likely put the Colonels in the OVC tournament. Morehead State hosts Jacksonville St. next week, and Murray St. will go head-to-head with second-place Tennessee Tech for the regular season title in the season’s final series. Tech faces eighth-place UT Martin this weekend.