NASHVILLE — The Austin Peay men and Tennessee Tech women are the favorites in the Ohio Valley Conference basketball races, according to the league's pre-season poll of head coaches and sports information directors that was released Tuesday.
Austin Peay's men, coming off a 20-win season, received 185 points and 10 first-place votes in the poll to edge Tennessee Tech (181, 8).
Tennessee Tech's Kevin Murphy got the nod for pre-season Player of the Year. The 6-foot-7 senior swingman from Fairburn, Ga., averaged 17 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season, shooting 47.8 percent from the field.
Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State did not have any all-league selections, but Murray State had Ivan Aska and Isaiah Canaan. Also on the team is Austin Peay's TyShwan Edmondson, from Hopkinsville.
Tennessee Tech was the No. 1 pick in the pre-season women's poll (193, 13), followed by Tennessee-Martin (187, 9).
All-conference selections included Eastern Kentucky's Alex Jones, Morehead's Ashar Harris and Courtney Lumpkin, and Murray's Mariah Robinson and Jessica Winfrey. Tennessee Tech's Tacarra Hayes, a 5-foot-7 senior guard from Lebanon, Ky., is the pre-season Player of the Year. Also on the All-OVC team is Austin Peay's Whitney Hanley, from Mount Washington, Ky.
■ OVC teams will play a 16-game conference schedule, with men's games on Thursdays and Saturdays, and women's games on Saturdays and Mondays. In the past, the men and women have played doubleheaders.
With the addition of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, league membership has reached 11. A traditional double-round robin would result in a 20-game conference schedule.
While the SIUE men and women are eligible for the OVC regular-season championships, they are not eligible for the OVC or NCAA Tournaments. The Cougars, in their final year of reclassification to Division I, will be eligible for post-season play in 2012-13.
With the addition of Belmont to the conference next July, no decision has been made about the number of league games to be played in future seasons.