The Morehead State Eagles are going back to the big dance after a ten-year absence.
The Eagles beat out Belmont 86-71 for the Ohio Valley Conference Championship and is looking to Sunday’s NCAA Tournament draw to find out who they’ll play NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis.
Coach Preston Spradlin praised players’ skills and said that everyone brought something to the team when needed. Freshman Johni Broome wasn’t projected to start this season until Tyzhaun Claude suffered a knee injury.
“[He’s] a first team all-conference guy and one of the best freshmen in the entire country, winning freshman of the year,” said Spradlin. “He continues to get better.”
Broome received OVC Freshmen of the Year, OVC Tournament MVP and has broken both university and OVC records.
“It feels good, not too much pressure,” said Broome. “I just kind of see it as if I'm performing and playing well for my team. Obviously, awards are going to come like they did.”
KJ Hunt, who Spradlin said wasn’t supposed to be MSU’s originally point guard, said the victory over Belmont was emotional.
“I was overwhelmed, and I didn’t know how to feel, I was just happy,” said Hunt, a redshirt junior. “I know once the feeling actually hit me, a lot of feelings hit me all at once. It was like a little kid in a candy shop or going to Disney World.”
Skyelar Potter and Devon Cooper earned all-newcomer team and second team all-conference positions. Ta’lon Cooper and James Baker also had improvements throughout the season.
Jack Hancock, a senior manager, said there are still things the team needs to work on before the NCAA Tournament.
“There’s always things you can work on, but I mean the progression we made, the way we played in the game for the conference tournament, that was incredible,” said Hancock. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”
And, Spadlin thinks the team is confident and ready.
“We are going to show up to the game with the mindset we’re going to win,"he said. "That we are just not there to say we made it to the NCAA tournament.”