Golden Eagle head coach Steve Payne takes in 2013-14 OVC Basketball Media Day

Golden Eagle head coach Steve Payne takes in 2013-14 OVC Basketball Media Day

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With just a few weeks left before the opening tip of the 2013-14 basketball season, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team was represented at the Ohio Valley Conference Basketball Media Day Tuesday afternoon.

Head coach Steve Payne met with several media members to discuss the upcoming season and divulge information about all of the new players embarking on their careers as Golden Eagles. Also released at media day were the preseason predictions and preseason all-OVC team.

In a vote of Ohio Valley Conference head men's basketball coaches and sports information directors Eastern Kentucky has been picked the favorites in the East Division while Murray State and Southeast Missouri were tabbed co-favorites in the West Division in the OVC for 2013-14.

Eastern Kentucky picked up 18 of a possible 24 first-place votes (schools were not allowed to vote for themselves) and a total of 128 points to lead all vote getting. The Colonels were followed in the East by defending OVC champion Belmont, who picked up the remaining six first-place votes and 116 total points. The East Division voting was rounded out by Morehead State (74 points), Jacksonville State (72), Tennessee State (60) and Tennessee Tech (42).

The top of the West Division was shared by Southeast Missouri and defending West Champions Murray State. The Redhawks received 13 first-place votes while the Racers picked up the remaining 11 to both finish with 117 total points. The West was rounded out by Austin Peay (90 points), UT Martin (66), Eastern Illinois (58) and SIUE (44).

Tennessee Tech welcomes seven newcomers (including five junior college transfers) to its roster to join four returning starters. Among the returners is senior Dennis Ogbe who led the OVC in field goal percentage (61.8%) last season while averaging 10.8 points/game overall and 12.4 points/game in OVC play. He is joined by senior guard Jeremiah Samarrippas who dished out 123 assists in his first year with the Golden Eagle program in 2012-13.

The 2013-14 season kicks off with an exhibition contest on Oct. 29 during Purple Palooza in Eblen Center, while the first regular season game will be played on Saturday, Nov. 9, in Tampa, Fla. The 2014 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament will be held March 5-8 at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

2013-14 OVC Predicted Order of Finish
1. Eastern Kentucky (18 first-place votes) – 128
2. Belmont (6) – 116
3. Morehead State – 74
4. Jacksonville State – 72
5. Tennessee State – 60
6. Tennessee Tech - 42

1. Southeast Missouri (13 first-place votes) – 117   

2. Murray State (11) – 117
3. Austin Peay – 90
4. UT Martin – 66
5. Eastern Illinois – 58
6. SIUE - 44

6 points awarded for a first-place vote, 5 for second, etc. - Coaches and SID's could not vote for their own teams.

2013-14 Preseason All-OVC Team
Travis Betran, Austin Peay
Glenn Cosey, Eastern Kentucky
Nino Johnson, Southeast Missouri
J.J. Mann, Belmont
Patrick Miller, Tennessee State
Tyler Stone, Southeast Missouri
Myles Taylor, UT Martin
Triggs, Austin Peay
Corey Walden, Eastern Kentucky
Brian Williams, Jacksonville State

OVC Preseason Player of the Year: Tyler Stone, Southeast Missouri