This game is likely a must win for the Buffalo Bulls if they want a bye in the MAC tournament. The Ohio University Bobcats earn that all important bye if they can defend their home court tonight.
When: Tuesday, February 28th, 6p.m.
Where: The Convocation Center, Athens, Ohio
Listen: Ohio IMG Sports Network or 1520 WWKB in Buffalo
Line: Ohio -5
Scouting the Bulls
The Bulls are an athletic team that is second in the MAC in rebounding margin. They also play solid defense, and have a variety of weapons.
They had won 6 in a row before dropping their last two games to Kent and Akron.
Here is an interesting stat that I think sums up the Bulls perfectly this season. Their top 3 scorers each shoot 41.5% from the floor. The 4th guy is at 42.2%. They do everything well, except efficiently put the ball in the basket.
Scouting the Bobcats
The Bobcats are tied for the lead in the MAC in scoring defense. Offensively, they are led by Jaaron Simmons, who is 3rd in the nation in assists per game.
Their game plan is simple, Simmons drives to the basket. If the defense rotates, he dishes to one of many talented, but streaky shooters.
Defensively, they force teams to take shots that they are uncomfortable with. They lead the conference in both opponents shooting percentage, and opponents three point shooting percentage.
Players to Watch
Blake Hamilton, Buffalo: The 6’6 forward from Pasadena is a stat sheet stuffer. He is averaging 17.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. When he is shooting the ball well, Buffalo is an extremely difficult team to beat.
Nick Perkins, Buffalo: Only a sophomore, Perkins is still a bit of a work in progress. He is averaging 12.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, but he has a much higher ceiling.
Jordan Dartis, Ohio: The sophomore from Newark scored in double digits 16 games in a row, before slumping in his last two.
Jason Carter, Ohio: The freshman from Johnstown has really emerged as a player to watch after Antonio Campbell went down with injury. He is looking like he will become a star in his own right. The battle tonight between Carter and Perkins should be one of many these two young talented players will have.
Keys to the Game
For Buffalo, it’s simple. Put the dang ball in the hoop. I am confident in every other phase of their game.
For Ohio, they need to take advantage of one of the best home court advantages in the conference early. If they come out aggressive on defense, and knock down some shots, they could use the momentum to secure a bye in the tournament.
I think home court and a hot shooting Bobcats will be too much for the Bulls, and Ohio wins 75-70.