The Eastern Kentucky University men's basketball team hasn't qualified for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament since 2015.

The expectations, however, are that the Colonels are ready to return to the postseason.

EKU was picked sixth in the OVC Preseason Poll, which was released Tuesday at the league's annual Media Day in Evansville, Ind.

The Colonels received 128 points and finished just ahead of Eastern Illinois (124).

The poll is voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.

Belmont (237 points) got 17 first-place votes and edged out Murray State (seven first-place votes, 223 total points) for the first place.

Jacksonville State was third and Austin Peay finished fourth.

EKU sophomore guard Jomaru Brown was named to the Preseason All-OVC Team on Tuesday.

Brown earned OVC All-Newcomer Team honors last season as a freshman. He ranked seventh in the OVC in scoring during conference play at 16.9 points-per-game. That number led all freshmen in the league.

The 6-foot-2 guard from Raleigh, N.C., also ranked second in the OVC in steals during the regular season with 60 - a new EKU freshman record.

The Colonels were 13-18 last season and graduated the school's all-time leading scorer -- Nick Mayo.

Second-year head coach A.W. Hamilton plans to replace Mayo by committee. Back is a trio of talented sophomores in Brown, Houston King and Tre King.

Houston King ranked third in the OVC in three-point field goal percentage during his rookie campaign (42.7 percent). Tre King played in all 31 games as a freshman and was second on the team in rebounds (137) and blocks (17).

Two veteran newcomers are also expected to be key contributors this season. Darius Hicks -- a 6-foot-8 forward -- transferred from N.C. State in 2018 and had to sit out last season. Ty Taylor a a graduate transfer from UNC Wilmington. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged just under 14 points-per-game as a sophomore at UNCW and has already played in 85 Division-I games in his collegiate career.

Seniors Lachlan Anderson and Kelvin Robinson and juniors Peyton Broughton, Cameron Carmical and Jacquess Hobbs bring depth and experience to the roster.

On Friday, EKU was picked ninth in the OVC's annual Media Poll.

The Colonels are set to open the season on Oct. 31 at McBrayer Arena in an exhibition game against Berea College.

EKU women picked 12th

The Eastern Kentucky University women's basketball team was picked 12th in the 2019 OVC Preseason Poll, which was released on Tuesday.

The Colonels received just 30 points, 23 fewer than any other team.

Belmont (14 first-place votes 234 points) was the preseason favorite, followed by UT-Martin (227), Tennessee Tech (203) and Austin Peay (151).

The Colonels were 2-27 last season.

Samantha Williams, a former assistant coach at Louisville, was named the head coach of the program on March 27.

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