Morehead State took down the one-seed Belmont en route to a 2021 Ohio Valley Conference championship and a ticket to March Madness.
The first official ticket was punched on Saturday, after the 2 seed Morehead State demolished the 1 seeded Belmont 86-71 to win their 5th Ohio Valley Conference Tournament in school history. This is the first time Morehead has gone dancing since 2011 when they made the round of 32. Here are the three takeaways from the championship game.
Here is a look at your 2021 OVC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions. @MSUEaglesMBB have now won OVC crowns in 1983, 1984, 2009, 2011 and 2021. 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆#TicketPunched | #OVCTourney | #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/vA1JXzVoij— OhioValleyConference (@OVCSports) March 7, 2021
1) The Stars Shine For Morehead State
Unlike many teams, Morehead State doesn’t have a single-player that is their go-to guy when they need a bucket. They have three guys who average double-digit scoring, but the highest is only 13.9 PPG. In this game, all three of them showed out scoring 14+ each including a monster 27 point 12 rebound performance from Johni Broome. If they can get this balanced scoring in the tournament, where four players score in double digits and at least one in the twenties, Morehead State can surprise a team in the NCAA Tournament.
2) Nick Muszynski has Ohio Valley Conference POY Potential for Next Season.
Despite the loss, Muszynski performed at an elite level once again. He led Belmont with 23 points on efficient shooting and blocked three shots. In the two games he missed this season, they lost both and were 26-2 when he played. As a junior, it is inevitable that he will only improve this offseason, and if he continues to perform at this level, not only should Belmont be regular-season champions again but he could win the award.
3) Efficient Shooting the Difference Maker
As an individual, to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from three-point range and 90% from the free-throw line is one of the most difficult stats to maintain throughout a season. Morehead did that tonight, shooting 54.1% from the field, 47.4% from the field, and 91.7% from the free throw line. When the shots are falling, it’s always hard to win a game, and Morehead State did a great job of taking smart shots and knocking them down as well. Skyelar Potter played a big part in that, knocking down four of his free three-point attempts in the contest.
Now, both teams wait. For Morehead State, they are projected as a 14 seed in Joe Lunardi’s most recent bracketology, meaning they’ll have a difficult matchup against a 3 seed in the first round. For Belmont, this is most likely the end of their season, despite their record but as we all know, it’s March and crazier things have happened.