Austin Peay Governors

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Austin Peay head coach Loos recovering from surgical procedure

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Monday afternoon the Austin Peay men’s basketball program announced that head coach Dave Loos was on the mend after undergoing surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his colon. According to the release it was discovered that the cancer had spread to one of Loos’ 23 lymph nodes in the area, which will require him to undergo chemotherapy.

While the school expects Loos to be back on the sidelines for his 27th season at the helm this fall, assistant coach Jay Bowen will run things on an interim basis while Loos chips in as his health allows. Bowen has been on Loos’ staff at Austin Peay on two different occasions, so there won’t be any confusion when it comes to how the head coach wants things done.

Loos led Austin Peay to the NCAA tournament this past season under difficult circumstances, as his five year old granddaughter Rhyan was (and still is) battling cancer during that period. Rhyan was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma last October, and her fight served as inspiration for an Austin Peay team that won the OVC’s automatic bid despite entering the OVC tournament as the eight-seed.

INTRODUCING CINDERELLA: Meet the Austin Peay Governors

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Conference: Ohio Valley

Coach: Dave Loos

Record: 18-17 (9-9)

Ratings and Rankings

Kenpom: 219
RPI: 195
AP/USA Today: Unranked

Seeding: 16, likely headed to Dayton for the First Four

Names you need to know: F Chris Horton (19.2 ppg, 12.2 rpg), G Josh Robinson (16.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.6 apg), G Khalil Davis (11.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.7 apg)

Stats you need to know: If there’s one thing this group does well it’s get to the foul line, as their free throw rate of 47.2 ranks sixth in the country. And thanks in large part to Horton and Kenny Jones, Austin Peay’s shooting better than 51 percent inside of the arc. Austin Peay isn’t a great three-point shooting team, as they made just 33.9 percent of their attempts on the season, but they shot 16-for-31 in the 83-73 OVC title game win over UT-Martin (on Loos’ birthday).

Big wins, bad losses: Austin Peay’s biggest win from a ratings standpoint came in the semifinals of the OVC tournament, where they beat No. 1 seed Belmont in overtime 97-96. That’s their only RPI Top 100 victory, with their first round win over Tennessee Tech representing Austin Peay’s only other win over a team ranked in the Top 150 of the RPI. Austin Peay’s worst losses came against Cal Poly (November 21) and Eastern Illinois (January 23). The Govs opened the season with losses at Vanderbilt and Indiana, with the Commodores likely to be in the NCAA tournament field and the Hoosiers the Big Ten regular season champions.

How’d they get here?: The Governors began OVC play 2-6, which could have been a devastating blow since only the top eight teams qualify for the conference tournament. But they went 5-3 in the second half of their conference schedule and received the help needed to get into the tournament as the eight seed on the final day of the regular season. Once in Nashville the Govs got hot, winning four straight (including No. 1 Belmont in the semis and No. 2 UT-Martin in the title game) to become the first-ever eight seed to win the OVC tournament.

Outlook: Getting sent to Dayton wouldn’t be a bad deal for the Govs, as it would give them a shot at earning an extra financial unit for the OVC. That represents their best shot at getting a win in the NCAA tournament this year.

How do I know you?: Older college basketball fans may remember the slogan “The Fly’s open, let’s go Peay” that came into existence during the era of one of the program’s greatest players, James “Fly” Williams. There’s also their win over No. 3 seed Illinois in the 1987 NCAA tournament.

As for this year’s team you likely know the story of Dave Loos’s five year-old granddaughter Rhyan, whose father Brad is an assistant coach at Missouri. Rhyan’s ongoing fight against cancer has served as an inspiration, with “#RallyforRhyan” on the back of the players’ shooting shirts.

Ohio Valley Conference Preview: Belmont reigns supreme

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Beginning in October and running up through November 13th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2015-2016 college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship game didn’t lack any drama. Taylor Barnette drilled a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to send the Belmont to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. It handed Murray State, which was undefeated in conference play, an invitation to the NIT.

The Bruins and Racers are expected to top their respective divisions again this season despite going through two very different offseasons.

Belmont head coach Rick Byrd, entering his 30th season, brings back four starters. Barnette, the OVC Tournament MVP and Craig Bradshaw, the Ohio Valley Preseason Player of the Year, make up the conference’s top back court, while Evan Bradds mans the frontline after a breakout sophomore season. Belmont is one of the nation’s best mid-major programs year-after-year, and that shouldn’t change this season.

Murray State, however, experienced an offseason of change. In April, Cameron Payne left for the NBA, becoming a lottery pick that will continue his career alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Then in June, head coach Steve Prohm left to take over the Iowa State program. Despite the coaching change and the loss of three of its top four scorers, Murray State remains a contender in the OVC. First-year head coach Matt McMahon has an all-OVC caliber guard in Jeffery Moss, the lone returning starter. Justin Seymour also returns, but the perimeter will be enhanced by the additions of Texas transfer Damarcus Croaker, Chattanooga transfer Gee McGhee and JuCo transfer Bryce Jones. 

In total, there are four new head coaches in the league: McMahon, Dan McHale (Eastern Kentucky), Rick Ray (Southeast Missouri State) and Jon Harris (SIU-Edwardsville). 

Even after graduating two all-OVC players, McHale and the Colonels could still be Belmont’s toughest challenge in the East Division, relying on the returning back court of Ja’Mill Powell and Isaac McGlone. Morehead State won five of its last six games, narrowly losing to Murray State in the OVC Tournament semifinals, to close out 2014-15. The Eagles could build of last season’s strong push with Brent Arrington returning to lead the team’s hard-nose defense. But Jacksonville State poses as a deep sleeper, a cast of newcomers headlined by well-traveled forward Cameron Biedscheid.

UT Martin, coming off one of the better turnarounds in the nation a season ago, will likely be Murray State’s toughest competition in the West Division. Twymond Howard and Alex Anderson make up a solid 1-2 punch, while Myles Taylor, another double-digit scorer, returns from a shortened 2014-15 season. Chris Olivier transferring hurts Eastern Illinois up front, but Trae Anderson and Cornell Johnston should be enough to keep the Panthers in play this year.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule


  • Favorite: “I think Belmont is the best team. They won the conference tournament last year. They have bulk of the guys coming back and they definitely have the best coach coming back.”
  • Sleeper: “I would say Morehead State. I think they’re going to have a really good team. They play hard, they play physical, they guard you. You really have to prepare for them. Heck, they were close to making the conference championship game last year.”
  • Star to watch: “I think Craig Bradshaw from Belmont. He can score from anywhere on the floor. He plays with a great motor and within the team concept. He can put points on the board, really quickly too.”


One of the best mid-major players in the nation, Bradshaw is coming off a junior campaign of 18.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, shooting 42 percent from behind the 3-point line. An intense competitor, the 6-foot-3 senior had arguably his best game against one of the nation’s premier defenses, scoring 25 points (10-of-19 shooting) and nine rebounds against Virginia in the NCAA tournament.


  • Evan Bradds, Belmont: The anchor in the middle for the Bruins, the 6-foot-7 junior averaged 14.2 points and 7.2 boards per game, shooting 69 percent from the field, second in the nation in that category.
  • Chris Horton, Austin Peay: One of the bright lights for the Governors in 2014-15, Horton averaged a double-double: 13.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Tops in the conference with 2.3 blocks per game.
  • Twymond Howard, UT Martin: One of the top newcomers in the league from a season ago, the 6-foot-6 forward recorded five of his six double-doubles during conference play.
  • Jeffery Moss, Murray State: A long, athletic guard who can connect from three should see a bump in his offensive numbers with Cameron Payne in the NBA and two of the Racers’ other double-digit scorers gone from a season ago.



East Division

1. Belmont
2. Morehead State
3. Eastern Kentucky
4. Jacksonville State
5. Tennessee Tech
6. Tennessee State

West Division

1. Murray State
2. UT Martin
3. Eastern Illinois
4. Southeast Missouri State
5. Austin Peay
6. SIU-Edwardsville

Austin Peay head coach Dave Loos to return for 26th season in 2015-16

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In 25 seasons as the head coach at Austin Peay, Dave Loos has won 391 games and led the Governors to three NCAA tournament appearances. However the last four seasons have been tough, as Austin Peay hasn’t registered a winning season during that period and won just eight games in 2014-15.

With the team’s season coming to an end Saturday, as they did not qualify for the OVC tournament, Austin Peay announced Saturday that the Ohio Valley Conference’s all-time wins leader will return for his 26th season with the program.

“Recently, Coach Loos and I met to discuss the future of this basketball program, and there is no one more disappointed about this season than he,” Austin Peay athletic director Derek van der Merwe said in the release.  “During our meeting, Coach Loos has clearly communicated a vision for how he intends to improve the overall athletic performance of our men’s basketball program next season.”

Austin Peay’s top three scorers from this season, led by junior forward Chris Horton (13.1 ppg), have eligibility remaining. The Governors will have to account for the loss of seniors Ed Dyson and Chris Freeman, but Loos will have some productive options to work with as he looks to turn things around.

Austin Peay loses starting point guard to half-season suspension

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Damarius Smith, Austin Peay’s high-flying point guard, will miss the first half of the season after being suspended for what the school is calling a violation of athletic department policy.

Smith will miss all 14 of the Governors’ non-conference game, returning to play during OVC play.

“We have a standard we expected our student-athletes to adhere to and Deedee made a mistake,” APSU coach Dave Loos said. “He is going to pay a severe consequence for that mistake. But he has a chance to make it right during the second half of the season, during OVC play. It is up to him.”

Smith, a senior, began last season as a reserve but ended up starting 20 games and averaged 8.0 points, 5.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. An ankle injury hampered him at the end of the season.

Junior Zavion Williams started last season as the starting point guard.

Brackets for November’s Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational announced

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Another in-season tournament has its field set, as on Friday the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational announced its participants. The semifinal and championship rounds will be played on November 27-28 at the Orleans Arena, with there being two separate brackets. In the televised bracket, Illinois will play Indiana State and Memphis will face Baylor on November 27, with the championship and third place games being played the following day.

The non-televised bracket will have the same set up, with the games being Austin Peay vs. Brown and Stephen F. Austin vs. Prairie View A&M. Prior to arriving in Las Vegas each of the eight participating teams will play two games apiece, with the teams in the televised bracket serving as hosts. The on-campus match-ups have yet to be announced.

Of the four teams in the televised bracket two, Memphis and Baylor, reached the NCAA tournament with Illinois and Indiana State playing in the Postseason NIT. As for the non-televised bracket, Stephen F. Austin was the lone participant to reach the NCAA tournament. Brown also played in a postseason tournament, as the Bears played in the Tournament.

All three NCAA tournament participants in the Las Vegas Invitational field won at least one game in the Big Dance, with Baylor reaching the Sweet 16.

Below is the schedule for Las Vegas Invitational games on November 27 and 28.

Thursday, November 27

2:00 p.m. EST: Austin Peay vs. Brown
5:00 p.m. EST: Illinois vs. Indiana State (FS1)
9:00 p.m. EST: Stephen F. Austin vs. Prairie View A&M
12:00 a.m. EST: Baylor vs. Memphis (FS1)

Friday, November 28

2:30 p.m. EST: Non-televised bracket third-place game
5:00 p.m. EST: Non-televised bracket championship game
8:00 p.m. EST: Televised bracket third-place game (FS1)
10:30 p.m. EST: Televised bracket championship game (FS1)