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2016-17 MAC Basketball Preview: Ohio Bobcats

It’s conference championship or bust for the ‘Cats this season.

Antonio Campbell
Antonio Campbell

When you have the returning MAC Player of the Year, the best passer in the conference and only lost one player (a role player) to graduation, you should have quite a bit of confidence to start the season.

That’s the exact situation the Bobcats are in as they gear up for the season. Antonio Campbell, a returning honorable mention All-American, is back after originally declaring for the draft and looks to dominate the post. Jaaron Simmons had 100+ assists more than the second best passer in the MAC and the Bobcats return their entire starting lineup. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from Ohio.

Saul Phillips

Starting Five

Jaaron Simmons - 6’1 184 lbs - RS JR

Jordan Dartis - 6’3 194 lbs - SO

Gavin Block - 6’7 209 lbs - SO

Kenny Kaminski - 6’8 228 lbs - RS SR

Antonio Campbell - 6’9 251 lbs SR

These are five of Ohio’s top six scorers from last season and five of the top seven in minutes from a year ago. Ohio has the experience in Simmons, Kaminsky and Campbell and the versatility of Block to play all five spots on the floor, allowing for flexibility in the lineup to match up against almost anyone.

The Bobcats also bring back many of the key bench players from last year. In the backcourt Mike Laster will be first off the bench when Simmons or Dartis need a breather. With Wadley Mompremier pursuing a redshirt this season, expect to see Ellis Dozier and Doug Taylor as the big men off the bench.

Season Expectations

Ohio’s out of conference schedule could definitely be more challenging, but the way this team is set up the number one priority is going to be entering MAC play injury free.

With this slate of games, Ohio will likely reach 20 wins towards the end of MAC play and, dare I say, potentially reach 25 in the MAC tournament? Collective gasp. Obviously that is quite lofty with a 29-game regular season schedule which reaches 32 games assuming a first round MAC-tournament bye, but it is not unattainable.

That is how talented Saul Phillips’s squad is so when they reach that number, you will all see me tweet the link to this here preview with a big old “I told ya so.”

Think I am crazy? Leave a comment and I will most likely respond March 11 once the final buzzer goes off in Cleveland.