The Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team is the preseason favorite to win the Ohio Valley Conference East Division, the league announced Tuesday at its annual media day event in Nashville.
EKU’s Glenn Cosey and Corey Walden were selected to the 10-member preseason All-OVC team.
The conference does not select an overall favorite to win the title, it only predicts the finish by division. However, several national publications have picked the Colonels to win the conference and play in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. USA Today predicts the Colonels to win the OVC and earn a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
EKU earned 18 out of a possible 22 first-place votes and a total of 128 points to claim the top spot in the East Division. Belmont garnered six first-place votes and 116 points for second. Morehead State (74) was third and Jacksonville State (72) was fourth. Tennessee State (60) and Tennessee Tech (42) rounded out the division in fifth and sixth respectively.
Southeast Missouri and Murray State tied for the top spot in the West Division. Both teams totaled 117 points. SEMO was listed first on 13 ballots and MSU earned 11 first-place votes. Austin Peay (90) was third and Tennessee-Martin (66) was fourth. Eastern Illinois (58) and SIU Edwardsville (44) were picked fifth and sixth respectively.
Cosey, a 6-foot guard from Flint, Mich., averaged 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals per game last season. He ranked ninth in the OVC in scoring, third with 2.8 three-pointers per game, third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4), seventh in three-point field goal percentage (40.4 percent), 10th in steals and 11th in assists.
Walden, a 6-foot-2 guard from Daytona Beach, Fla., averaged 13 points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists per game. He finished 19th in the conference in scoring, led the OVC in free throw percentage (87.8 percent) and ranked ninth in steals. Walden had the 16th-best free throw percentage in NCAA Division I basketball.
Four starters and a total of 13 letterwinners return from the 2012-13 EKU squad that won a school-record 25 games and posted the second-best conference mark at 12-4. The Colonels advanced to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) and picked up the program’s first victory in a national postseason tournament game in 68 years.
EKU begins its 2013-14 season on Nov. 8 against Florida International at the Kennesaw State Invitational. EKU’s first home game is on Nov. 13.