Despite the back and forth that has occurred on Twitter over the past couple days, if there is something that we can all agree on is that the Ohio Bobcats have not lived up to expectations this year. Yet.
It's early, and though the team that came in with virtually the same squad that made it to the sweet sixteen last year has had some rough losses, including Saturday's defeat at the hands of a very good Belmont team on national television, there is no reason to panic if you're in Athens tonight.
The regular season no longer matters to OU. Wednesday night's game would be a nice win, but in the long run it really does not matter. All the pressure is on the #24 Akron Zips. They are the ones that can not slip up. Ohio will get to that point soon, in two weeks in Cleveland, but until then should feel a sense of satisfaction about having the opportunity to try new things and change it up.
OU's loss to OU is not that bad anymore. When they fell to the Zips the first time around it seemed devastating to onlookers, but those who followed the program kept a level head. They were correct in doing so. Message boards, Twitter and Facebook was lined with posts about the regular season not mattering. OU had already loss enough to keep them out of the dance via and at-large bid. But what they had not done was ruin the season.
As we approach the MAC Tournament, there is many different things that OU can look forward to. They are as much of a lock as you can get into the Finals. If I was OU, I would attempt different things against Akron and see if I could find a weakness that my team can exploit when the big game occurs on March 17th.
Sure, winning the game would be huge. But it is clear that the Bobcats and the faithful have a big picture in mind. What does a win at OU do for the Bobcats expect maybe guarantee themselves an NIT bid (I'm not really sure how tie-breakers work). Regardless, they will likely get that bid anyway.
if Ohio head coach Jim Christian threw a bunch of different looks at Akron in two days, it would do many things for the, likely, third and final match up. It would make Akron think and have to practice many different things. It would help OU come up with a better game plan to attack the tough Z-fence that the Zips have been able to achieve throughout the season. And it just may give the Bobcats a little added confidence as they have run everything on their primary foe before.
No, OU should not throw the game Wednesday. However, keeping an eye on the big picture, and realizing that a win Wednesday is nice but a win Saturday is crucial is the most important thing that they can do.