What would a preview be without a little look inside the numbers?
Have no fear, HOOPWAR is here to help you understand where OHIO will need to concentrate its efforts tonight.
But first, a little look at what the computer and its 28,000-plus games say about tonight.
Would you believe that it likes the Bobcats?South Florida was one of the hated teams in the computer, probably because of the slow, plodding style that Ken DeCelles outlined for us this morning. The Bulls still lag, hanging in the 80s nationally.
Based on previous results, Ohio is running at about a 70.89 percent chance of winning tonight. That should at least mean that they can hang with the Bulls, even if they don't ultimately get over the top.
For reference, the computer picked seven of the eight games yesterday, missing only on New Mexico-Louisville, but man that was close.
As far as HOOPWAR goes, here is the breakdown of South Florida based on starters and bench minutes:
It becomes obvious that Ohio is going to have to do something to shut down the forwards for the Bulls. Victor Rudd and Augustus Gilchrist will likely begin the damage as the starters, with Toarlyn Fitzpatrick coming off the bench to provide huge contributions for the Bulls.
It will be imperative for Ohio to turn up the pace and get these guys running to tire them out and get further into the bench. If the Bobcats can just get past that 6th man, things start to look up.
On offense, it is the same story. Ohio needs to avoid the big men and hit the shots from outside. Fitzpatrick is the main defensive contributor, so if they can avoid his arms, it will go a lot better.
The good news is that the Bulls can be forced into turnovers. They average more than 13 per game, and we know how Ohio likes to make teams pay for that. South Florida is much worse at causing mistakes which should play into the Bobcats hands.
No matter how you break it down, Ohio seems to have a definite shot to win tonight, and things are probably tilted in its favor to get to next weekend.