Eastern Illinois ready to defend OVC title

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Eastern Illinois coach Dino Babers knows he has a talented team as the preseason favorite to repeat as the Ohio Valley Conference champions. A schedule packed with the toughest non-conference slate in his school's history has him worried.

His Panthers will be on the road for three of their first four games, including the season-opener at San Diego State. Babers said Monday they are just going to try to survive that stretch.

Eastern Illinois is expected to very well in the OVC, receiving 12 of 18 first-place votes and 122 points in the 2013 poll released Monday at the league's media day as voted on by its coaches and sports information directors. The Panthers won last year's OVC title after being picked to finish eighth in the nine-team league.


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