The Racers are experiencing all sorts of trouble as they head into the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, as they finished the regular season losing four of five conference games.
There are a number of things that seem to be going wrong with the Racers now. They have now lost four times in their last six games, and tonight's was an ugly 16 point loss to Southeast Missouri State, one where SEMO's first and third leading scorers fouled out, but still managed to reach double-digit points - and get outscored by three teammates.
It is safe to say they have burned up whatever good juju their BracketBusters win over the SDSU Jackrabbits provided them.
So what on earth is going on with the Racers? Well, for one thing their perimeter defense has struggled. Southeast Missouri shot 63% from long-range (12-19) and were the third team to crack 50% in that area during this slide. Morehead State went to the free throw line 35 times in the Racers' overtime win, but so did Eastern Illinois in a regulation loss where nobody could stay out of foul trouble.
Speaking of which, Ed Daniel hasn't been much help there, either. After notching 4+ fouls five times in the first 23 games of the season, he's done so four times in this six game stretch.
Even then, the one game that Daniels stayed out of foul trouble, against Tennessee Martin, Stacy Wilson missed every shot he took. Which eliminated anything resembling tertiary scoring that could have helped Isaiah Canaan and Daniel carry a more balanced load.
Though it's hard to say just how much Canaan would be willing to share the ball anyway. He has averaged 19 shots per game during this funk, accounting for thirty-eight percent of the team's shot attempts by himself. That wouldn't be such a bad thing, except that he is shooting 38% from the field and 34% from distance during that time. The team has followed that trend, shooting 41% during this time and bottoming out at 36% tonight.
The Racers are not looking strong heading into the conference tournament. They went 6-4 against a very weak OVC East, and the only team they beat both times - Austin Peay - they earned by a three-point regulation win and a seven point overtime win.
I would not have been surprised if a healthy South Dakota State had beaten this team, and they need to figure out a means to be less offensively reliant on Canaan, who has been too streaky of late to carry the offense on his own. If they don't, they're a good bet to miss out on the OVC autobid and then miss out on the tourney entirely.