EVANSVILLE, Ind --- In the Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Poll voted on by the league’s coaches and sports information directors, the Tennessee State men’s basketball team was picked seventh, it was announced on Tuesday at OVC Media Day in Evansville, Ind.
“I’m not surprised by where we were picked," TSU Head Coach Dana Ford said. "I think if you look at a lot of the polls, in some we’ve been really low and others we’ve been really high. I’m not sure if anyone, including me, knows what to expect this year considering what we’ve lost in Wayne Martin, Tahjere McCall and Jordan Reed – three guys who were definite all-league caliber players. At the same time, we return nine guys, so a bulk of our roster is back. It will be interesting, but we’ve never finished where we were picked. One time we were picked dead last and finished second. Another time we were picked second and backed our way into the conference tournament, so we’ll see.”
- Fresh off back-to-back winning seasons, Tennessee State picked up 125 overall points to take seventh in the poll.
- Defending OVC Regular Season Champion Belmont secured first in the coaches poll with 18 first-place votes for 235 points.
- Jacksonville State, which won the 2017 OVC Tournament, received three top votes and was second in the poll, followed by Murray State – also with three first-place votes.
- In the OVC Preseason Media Poll released on Oct. 20, TSU was selected fourth.
- Tennessee State looks to replace three starters from last year’s team but welcomes back a total of nine players from last year’s roster.
- Of the returners, five started at least eight games in 2016-17.
Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Coaches/SID Poll
1. Belmont (18 first-place votes) - 235
2. Jacksonville State (3) - 213
3. Murray State (3) - 212
4. Eastern Kentucky - 139
5. Tennessee Tech - 137
6. Eastern Illinois - 135
7. Tennessee State - 125
8. UT Martin - 114
9. Morehead State - 89
10. Southeast Missouri - 82
11. Austin Peay - 63
12. SIUE - 40
- 11 points awarded for a first-place vote, 10 for second, etc.
- Coaches and SID’s could not vote for their own teams
Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference
Matthew Butler, UT Martin - G - Sr.
Malcolm Drumwright, Jacksonville State - G - Sr.
Amanze Egekeze, Belmont - F - Sr.
Norbertas Giga, Jacksonville State - F/C - Sr.
Asante Gist, Eastern Kentucky - G - So.
Aleksa Jugovic, Tennessee Tech - G - Sr.
Austin Luke, Belmont - G - Sr.
Denzel Mahoney, Southeast Missouri - G - So.
Nick Mayo, Eastern Kentucky - F - Jr.
Terrell Miller, Murray State - F - Sr.
Jonathan Stark, Murray State – G- Sr.
- Preseason OVC Player of the Year: Jonathan Stark, Murray State