The predictions released on Tuesday at the annual OVC Media Day in Nashville are the highest for Head Coach John Cooper's team since arriving at TSU. Cooper's squad was slated to finish ninth in his first season at TSU (2009-10) and last year his team was picked to place seventh.
In 2010-11, the Tigers finished fifth with a 10-8 record in the OVC and an overall 14-16 mark. It was the first time since the 2007-08 season that a TSU team had earned double-digit wins in conference play.
Covington, a junior forward, tallied 13.4 points per game and was third in the OVC with an average of 7.5 rebounds each contest. In his sophomore campaign, the 2010-11 second team All-Conference selection shot 50 percent (150x300) from the floor in 30 games. Covington also led the Tigers in 3-point field goal percentage (.460), while inking 1.5 steals per game.
Moore, a selection to the 2010-11 OVC All-Newcomer team and second All-OVC team, raked in a squad-leading 14.6 points a game with 6.9 rebounds per contest. He reached five double-doubles and earned double-figures in 23 contests.
TSU returns all five starters from a year ago, while bringing in three transfers and a redshirt freshman. Three true freshmen also join the Tigers for the 2011-12 campaign.
Austin Peay was picked to win the league with 185 points, followed by Tennessee Tech at 181 points. Murray State was chosen third with TSU following in fourth and Morehead State in fifth. Southeast Missouri, Eastern Kentucky and UT Martin rounded out the six through eight spots. In the final three spots, Eastern Illinois, Jacksonville State and SIU Edwardsville rounded out the poll.
Tennessee Tech's Kevin Murphy was selected as the OVC Preseason Player of the Year after totaling 17.0 points per game and 4.5 rebounds a game last season.
Austin Peay, Murray State, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech each had two players selected on the preseason All-OVC squad. EIU and Southeast Missouri rounded out players selected to the team.
This season, OVC basketball teams will play a 16-game conference schedule with men's teams playing games on Thursday and Saturday and women's teams playing games on Saturday and Monday, a shift from the previous doubleheader slate of games from past seasons.
Under the new format league teams will play six of the other 10 schools twice (home and away) and the other four teams just once during the season. When determining the matchups, historical and traditional matchups were considered along with the proximity of teams who would play each other twice during the year.
TSU will participate in an exhibition against Nashville foe Trevecca Nazarene next Wednesday, Nov. 1. The game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. after the conclusion of the Lady Tigers' exhibition with LeMoyne-Owen.
The 2011-12 season officially begins with a trip to Saint Louis on Friday, Nov. 11. Tip-off with the Bilikens will be at 7:30 p.m. in SLU Chaifetz Arena.
2011-12 OVC Men's Basketball Predicted Order of Finish
1) Austin Peay (10) - 185 points
2) Tennessee Tech (8) - 181 points
3) Murray State (3) - 169 points
4) Tennessee State - 145 points
5) Morehead State (1) - 128 points
6) Southeast Missouri - 106 points
7) Eastern Kentucky - 90 points
8) UT Martin - 73 points
9) Eastern Illinois - 67 points
10) Jacksonville State - 40 points
11) SIU Edwardsville - 27 points
2011-12 Preseason All-OVC Men's Basketball Team
Ivan Aksa, F - Murray State
Anthony Campbell, F/G - Austin Peay
Isaiah Cannon, G - Murray State
Robert Covington, F - Tennessee State
TyShwan Edmondson, G - Austin Peay
Jeremy Granger, Eastern Illinois
Kenny Moore, F - Tennessee State
Kevin Murphy, G/F - Tennessee Tech
Leon Powell, F - Southeast Missouri
Zac Swansey, G - Tennessee Tech
Preseason OVC Player of the Year: Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech
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