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Ohio Bobcats vs. Central Michigan Chippewas men's basketball preview: Who will bounce back from a loss?

The best in the West takes on a team that can't find its groove.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

For  a moment, it looked like the Ohio Bobcats had completely turned it around. Buzz was building around Athens after Ohio had beaten the Buffalo Bulls on a last-second dunk by Maurice Ndour. It was the team's second straight win, and they seemed poised to pick up MAC win No. 3 on Wednesday when they faced a struggling Eastern Michigan team.

That was not the case.

Instead, the Bobcats were almost completely dismantled at the hands of the Eagles. At halftime, Ohio was already down 31-16, and were also outscored 45-24 in the second half.

For the Bobcats, the problem was once again with the shooting. They finished with a horrendous 23 percent field goal success rate, and only made 10.5 percent of their 3s. Ndour was held to just four points, his lowest total of the year.

It was arguably the Bobcats' worst game of 2015. But even if the team had won in impressive fashion, it would be hard to pick them over the red-hot Chippewas.

The Chips have the MAC's best overall record at 14-4 (although they are just 4-3 in conference). Central Michigan is an offensive powerhouse, one of the best in college basketball - not just the MAC. Through Thursday, their average of 82 points per game ranks sixth in NCAA Division I basketball.

Chris Fowler is arguably the Chippewas' most dangerous asset, but the team has done a good job this year spreading the ball around. John Simons and Braylon Rayson also average more than 10 points per game.

Defense remains a bit of a problem, however. Central Michigan was the worst defense in the MAC last year, and have not made major improvements in that area of play. The Chips currently average 66 points allowed per game - a gap of almost 16 points. But the scoring differential has been inflated by several blowout victories early in the season. They had a particularly bad 83-65 loss at the hands of last-place Ball State. They lost a close one to Akron. On Tuesday, they fell to Kent State by 10.

Still, the Chippewas are undefeated at home, which should make it all the more intimidating for a Bobcat team that is still trying to string together wins.