Schedule stacks favorably for Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team

Monday, August 20, 2012

Southeast Missouri State's recently released men's basketball schedule is challenging but doesn't appear unusually brutal.

That's part of the reason the Redhawks, who have made tremendous strides since fourth-year coach Dickey Nutt took over a floundering program saddled with NCAA probation, should have an opportunity to continue their solid progress.

There was little doubt what the 16-game Ohio Valley Conference schedule would look like now that the league has gone to a divisional format featuring two six-team divisions.

Nonconference schedules sometimes can be a bear and keep a squad from having much momentum entering league play.

That shouldn't be the case for the Redhawks.

Money games at Kansas and Missouri pretty much can be chalked up as losses.

But the Redhawks at worst should be on a comparable talent level with the rest of their nonconference opponents. And in several instances Southeast should have considerably more talent.

Nonconference home games are against Central Arkansas, McNeese State, New Orleans, a BracketBusters opponent and NAIA squads Hannibal-LaGrange and Lyon College.

Other road contests are against Chattanooga, Illinois-Chicago, Missouri-Kansas City, New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. The Redhawks also face Louisiana Tech and Troy in Chattanooga.

Most of those matchups are challenging but not overly daunting.

As for their OVC schedule, the Redhawks play each fellow West Division rival twice while facing the East Division teams only once.

Defending OVC champion Murray State, which is coming off its history-making season, is the current West top dog and will be difficult to deal with twice.

But the rest of the West consists of squads that finished no better than sixth in what was an 11-team OVC last year: Austin Peay (tied for sixth), SIU Edwardsville (ninth), Eastern Illinois (10th) and Tennessee-Martin (11th).

The East right now looks considerably stronger top to bottom, especially with the addition of perennial NCAA tournament participant Belmont.

Other East members are Tennessee State (second), Morehead State (third), Tennessee Tech (tied for fourth, with Southeast) and Jacksonville State (tied for sixth).

I'm not saying the Redhawks will win 20 games and challenge for an OVC championship because nothing is guaranteed. But those lofty heights are not out of the question as Nutt continues his impressive rebuilding project.

It might have come as a surprise to some that Southeast received four votes in last week's Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision preseason poll.

The Redhawks were among seven OVC teams to receive votes in the poll.

Two OVC squads made the top 25 -- Eastern Kentucky at No. 18 and Jacksonville State at No. 22.

Murray State received the most votes of teams outside the top 25 with 292 votes.

Others nabbing votes were Tennessee Tech with 77 and Eastern Illinois and Tennessee-Martin with one each.

SIU Carbondale, one of Southeast's nonconference opponents this year, received 63 votes and unofficially is ranked 40th.

Sam Houston State, last year's FCS national runner-up, is the preseason No. 1 pick. Defending national champion North Dakota State is No. 2.

Any Southeast student who is a pretty good baseball player and wants to have a shot at earning a spot with the Redhawks will have the opportunity next week.

The Southeast baseball program will hold an open tryout at 4 p.m. Aug. 28 at Shawnee Park field No. 6 located on Shawnee Parkway and West End Boulevard.

Those wishing to participate must have a current physical on record, be a full-time Southeast student and be registered through the NCAA Clearinghouse. Proper baseball attire should be worn to the tryout.

For more information, contact the Southeast baseball office at 986-6002.

The Plaza Tire Capahas will have a reunion game at 1 p.m. Oct. 21. There will be a get-together following the game at the Cape Girardeau American Legion Hall.

It sounds like a lot of fun and hopefully a bunch of former Capahas will turn out.

For more information, call 979-1089 or email

The high school football season kicks off this week. It should be an especially interesting year for prep squads in Southeast Missouri and across the state.

Every team will make the playoffs beginning this season under a new Missouri State High School Activities Association format.

Squads primarily will play a nine-game schedule -- some teams only play eight games -- before automatically qualifying for a single-elimination district tournament bracket that will be seeded based on various factors from the regular season.

I kind of liked the old four-team districts that sent two squads to the playoffs, but I can see the benefit to the new format, especially in cases where certain districts were loaded and the last two teams still might have been among the best in the state.

Here's wishing a speedy recovery to Southeast soccer coach Heather Nelson, who suffered a broken back and wrist in an accident last month and could miss the entire 2012 season.

Marty Mishow is a sports reporter for the Southeast Missourian.

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