For the first time in recent history the Ohio Valley Conference has conducted a Preseason Men’s and Women’s Media Poll prior to the start of the season. In total 22 voters from around the league cast a ballot on whom they thought would be the 2014-15 basketball favorites and preseason players of the year.
The OVC will release its preseason poll and All-OVC team, as voted on by league head coaches and sports information directors, on Tuesday during the league’s annual Media Day in Nashville.
The media panel picked the Murray State men’s team and the Belmont women’s team as the preseason favorites. Murray State sophomore guard Cameron Payne was tabbed the OVC Men’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year while Eastern Illinois senior forward Sabina Oroszova was picked the OVC Women’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year.
In the men’s voting Murray State picked up 16 of the 22 first-place votes in the overall regular season championship category (Belmont received the other six first-place votes). The Racers were a unanimous favorite in the West Division, a title they have claimed each of the past two years. MSU picked up 132 total points to finish ahead of Southeast Missouri (109), Eastern Illinois (68), Austin Peay (60), SIUE (57) and UT Martin (36). Belmont was picked the East Division favorites in receiving 19 of the 22 first-place votes and 127 total points. Eastern Kentucky picked up one first-place vote and 104 total points while Morehead State was tabbed the East favorites by two pollsters and totaled 97 points. The East balloting was rounded out by Tennessee Tech (62), Jacksonville State (41) and Tennessee State (31).
This year the OVC women’s basketball teams will no longer compete in divisional play as they have the past two years. Belmont picked up nine of the 20 first-place votes cast for women’s teams to finish with a preseason best 216 points. UT Martin was picked second after receiving six first-place votes and 210 points, Eastern Kentucky received four first-place votes and 208 points while Jacksonville State picked up the final vote and 155 total points. Tennessee State received 147 points in being picked fifth and were followed by Tennessee Tech (143), SIUE (100), Eastern Illinois (99), Austin Peay (80), Murray State (74), Southeast Missouri (65) and Morehead State (63).
The pollsters for the 2014-15 OVC Media Poll were: Bob Belvin, ESPN Clarksville; Jason Blanton, Morehead State Radio; Catlin Bogard, OVC Ball; Mike Bradd, Eastern Illinois Radio; Neal Bradley, Murray State Radio; Chris Brinkley, UT Martin Radio; Chris Brown, Anniston Star; Thomas Corhern, Cookeville Herald-Citizen; Craig Delk, Cookeville Herald-Citizen; James Horne, Paducah Sun; David Loos, Austin Peay Radio; Courtney Martinez, Belmont Vision; JR McHenry, JR The Bossman Show; Brian Nielsen, Journal Gazette/Times-Courier; Mike Organ, The Tennessean; Mike Parris, Jacksonville State Radio; Harry Schroeder, ValleyHoopsInsider.com; Erik Sean, Southeast Missouri Radio; Aldo Soto, Daily Eastern News; Greg Stotelmyer, Eastern Kentucky Radio; Craig Thomas, Jackson Sun; Rich Tiner, Belmont Radio.
2014-15 Media OVC Preseason Men’s Predicted Order of Finish
Overall Champion: Murray State (16 first-place votes)
1. Belmont (19 first-place votes) – 127 points
2. Eastern Kentucky (1) – 104
3. Morehead State (2) – 97
4. Tennessee Tech – 62
5. Jacksonville State – 41
6. Tennessee State – 31
1. Murray State (22 first-place votes) – 132 points
2. Southeast Missouri – 109
3. Eastern Illinois – 68
4. Austin Peay – 60
5. SIUE – 57
6. UT Martin – 36
Preseason Player of the Year: Cameron Payne, Murray State
2014-15 Media OVC Preseason Women’s Predicted Order of Finish
1. Belmont (9 first-place votes) – 216 points
2. UT Martin (6) – 210
3. Eastern Kentucky (4) – 208
4. Jacksonville State (1) – 155
5. Tennessee State – 147
6. Tennessee Tech – 143
7. SIUE – 100
8. Eastern Illinois – 99
9. Austin Peay – 80
10. Murray State – 74
11. Southeast Missouri – 65
12. Morehead State – 63
Preseason Player of the Year: Sabina Oroszova, Eastern Illinois