BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference in a preseason Media Poll released on Friday.
Third-year head coach Dan McHale returns five of his top six scorers from last season, including two-time first team All-OVC forward Nick Mayo (18.5 points-per-game) and 2017 OVC All-Newcomer guard Asante Gist (15.9 points-per-game).
EKU picked up one first-place vote and 91 points to finish fifth in the poll. Defending regular season champion Belmont picked up eight of the 13 first-place votes and 148 total points in being picked the preseason favorite. Murray State picked up one first-place votes and 138 points to be picked second while defending OVC Tournament champion Jacksonville State received two first-place votes and 132 points in being tabbed third. Tennessee State (95 points) also picked up a first-place vote in being selected fourth. The poll was rounded out by UT Martin (82), Tennessee Tech (80), Eastern Illinois (79), Morehead State (59), Austin Peay (48), Southeast Missouri (36) and SIUE (26).
Murray State senior guard Jonathan Stark was voted the OVC Preseason Player of the Year.
This is the fourth consecutive year the OVC has conducted a preseason Media Poll. In total, 10 media members from around the league cast a ballot.
The annual OVC Coaches Poll will be released at Media Day next Tuesday, October 24, in Evansville, Indiana.
EKU opens the 2017-18 campaign at Rice on Friday, November 10 in Houston.
2017-18 Media OVC Preseason Men's Predicted Order of Finish
1. Belmont (8 first-place votes) - 148 points
2. Murray State (1) - 138
3. Jacksonville State (2) - 132
4. Tennessee State (1) - 95
5. Eastern Kentucky (1) - 91
6. UT Martin - 82
7. Tennessee Tech - 80
8. Eastern Illinois - 79
9. Morehead State - 59
10. Austin Peay - 48
11. Southeast Missouri - 36
12. SIUE - 26
Preseason Player of the Year: Jonathan Stark, Murray State