The Ohio University Bobcats travel to Muncie to take on the Ball State Cardinals tonight. After starting conference play on a hot streak, the Cardinals have been in a slump their last two games. They have failed to score over 70 in their last 2, losing both. In the previous 9 conference games, they won 6 while averaging 84.7 points per game.
The Bobcats have had to adjust their game after losing Antonio Campbell. There have been mixed results. Since the injury, they have only won 3 out of 7. On the plus side, in that stretch they are the only team to beat Akron in league play this season.
The Bobcats and Cardinals are currently in a 5 way tie for second place in the conference, with a 6-5 record. There are 4 other teams sitting at 5-6. Every game is going to have MAC tournament seeding implications at this point in the season.
When: Friday, Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Worthen Arena, Muncie, Indiana
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Listen: WLBC 104.1 in Muncie or via stream on the IMG Sports Network @ ohiobobcats.com
Scouting the Bobcats
The Bobcats are 14-8 overall, and 6-5 in the MAC.
They are one of the better defenses in the league, only giving up 70 points per game.
On offense, they like to break teams down off the dribble, and dish it out to many capable, if streaky, shooters. They don’t need Frank Kaminsky hitting his shots, but when he is they move their game up to the next level.
Scouting the Cardinals
The Cardinals are 15-9 on the season, 6-5 in the MAC.
Their strength is their offense. They are averaging 78.8 points per game. They have several players that can drive and dish. It seems like their whole team is capable of knocking down the three, with 8 guys having hit 10 or more on the year.
Defensively, they are aggressive, but not overly quick.
Players to Watch
Jaaron Simmons, Ohio: The 6’1 guard from Dayton has gone for over 30 in his last two games. While his scoring is up, his assist production didn’t slip and is still at an elite level. He almost hit a triple double in the loss to Central Michigan, with 30 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists.
Jordan Dartis, Ohio: Dartis hit 5 of 11 threes against the Chippewas. Like most of the Bobcats, the 6’3 sophomore guard from Newark is streaky in his shooting and scoring.
Tayler Persons, Ball State: The sophomore didn’t have his best game in the close loss to Akron. It will be interesting to see how he reacts in this game. I talked him up going into the Akron game, so I bear partial blame for that one. The Jimmy Jinx is real.
The Entire Team, Ball State: This is one of the deeper teams I have seen. 8 players are averaging 7.4 points or more on the season. The last guy on that list, Tahjai Teague, is also grabbing 6 boards. Literally anyone in their rotation can step up and be a difference maker.
Keys to the Game
When Ball State has the ball, it’s the classic strength vs. strength match-up. The key for either team is to play to their strengths.
Ohio must frustrate the Cardinals early to keep them from breaking out of the slump. Generally, when someone has been cold and they start hitting, they start making everything.
For the Cardinals, they need to take good shots early, to get that Ball rolling. Pun totally intended.
The friendly confines of Worthen Arena should help the Cardinals break out of their slump and score against the talented Bobcats defense. Ohio is no slouch on offense, so I expect them to score, too. Just not as much. I think Ball State wins this one, 85-80.