OVC shows Southeast basketball teams little respect

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Southeast Missouri State basketball teams are projected to post the same finishes in the Ohio Valley Conference that they ended with last year.

The men were picked ninth in the 10-team league, while the women were selected last. The preseason polls, voted on by the conference's coaches and sports information directors, were announced Monday.

Both Southeast coaches, while not surprised by those predictions, said they don't plan to finish there.

"Being in it as many years as I have, we have been picked anywhere from first to last," second-year men's coach Dickey Nutt said. "I can assure you [preseason polls] don't mean anything.

"I think it's tremendous motivation for us as a staff, as a team, as a program. We don't pay too much attention to that."

Southeast's men went 7-23 overall and 3-15 in OVC play during Nutt's first season. The Redhawks have a new-look roster as only five players who saw action last year are back.

"We feel like we're better as a team, we're more talented, but everybody in the league is better as well," Nutt said. "We certainly feel like we're much better than [ninth place], but you have to go out there and prove it."

Southeast's women were 7-21 overall and 4-14 in the OVC a year ago. The Redhawks, hurt by injuries and inexperience last season, return 10 players and have no seniors.

"I'm not surprised, based on what we did last year," fifth-year women's coach John Ishee said of the preseason prediction. "It shows that nobody around the league thinks we're very good. Not a lot of respect, but at the same time we haven't done anything to earn anybody's respect.

"But we don't plan on finishing there."

Neither Southeast squad had any players voted to the all-OVC preseason team.

Murray State's men are favored heavily to repeat as champions after last year's sensational season that saw them win an OVC record 31 games while beating No. 4 seed Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Racers, who won last year's OVC regular season and tournament titles, received 18 of 20 first-place votes. Coaches and sports information directors were not allowed to vote for their own squads.

Morehead State garnered the other two first-place votes and was picked second, with Eastern Illinois third, Austin Peay fourth and Eastern Kentucky fifth.

Tennessee Tech heads up the bottom five, followed by Tennessee State, Jacksonville State, Southeast and Tennessee-Martin.

Defending OVC regular-season women's champion Eastern Illinois is favored to repeat. The Panthers received 10 first-place votes.

Morehead State was picked second with seven first-place votes, followed by two-time defending OVC tournament champion Austin Peay. The Governors received the other three first-place votes.

Tennessee Tech was picked fourth, followed by Tennessee-Martin, Murray State, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee State, Jacksonville State and Southeast.

Southeast's men play their first of two home exhibition games Nov. 6 against Ouachita Baptist. They open the season Nov. 13 at Alabama-Birmingham.

The Redhawks also will have an intrasquad scrimmage open to the public at about 5 p.m. Saturday, or one hour following the conclusion of the 1 p.m. homecoming football game. There is no admission charge for the scrimmage.

Southeast's women have their first of two home exhibition contests Nov. 4 against Missouri Baptist. They tip off the season Nov. 12 against Sam Houston State at the Mississippi tournament in Oxford, Miss.

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