by Joey Wheland
Intro: After a 15-year drought between NCAA Tournament appearances, Morehead has won two of the last Ohio Valley Conference championships and the subsequent automatic bids that accompany them. They now enter the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the country, as the Eagles have won 12 of their last 13 games, with the lone loss in that six-week stretch coming on the road while visiting the regular season conference champ Murray State — a team that won an NCAA Tournament game a year ago.
Record: 24-9 (15-5)
Key Wins: 76-59 vs Kent State, December 28th: Certainly a win over conference leader Murray State early in the schedule was a good way to start the OVC season, but all conference wins pale in comparison to an impressive win over the Golden Flashes. A 23-win team that came within one play of making the NCAA Tournament themselves, Kent State represents the Eagles’ best win of the season as they finished with an RPI of 70, far superior to any team in the Ohio Valley.
Key Losses: 47-40 @ Eastern Illinois, January 15: This one really just goes in the books as a head scratcher. This game represented 25 percent of the Panthers’ conference win total, as they finished just 4-14 in the OVC and 9-20 overall. All teams are prone to a lapse from time to time, but this definitely represents the most bizarre on the docket in 2011 for Morehead.
Key Player: Kenneth Faried, Senior, Forward. At this point in the season even the most casual fan has probably heard of the Eagles rebounding machine, as the senior has received a tremendous amount of attention this year. Faried will be selected in this summer’s NBA Draft; that isn’t even a question at this point as he has continuously wowed scouts with his outstanding athleticism and neverending motor.
Rebounding is the one skill that has time and again been proven to translate from college to the pro game, and Faried is one of the best glass cleaners in the last 10 to 15 years. He’s no slouch on the offensive end either, averaging a team-best 17.6 points on the season.