On March 6, Ohio will play it's final game of the season at home against hated rival Miami. It should be a close game between two evenly-matched teams, but there won't be much anticipation for it: most Ohio students will be on Spring Break, and the matchup is between the two worst teams in the MAC East.
So for most Bobcat fans, this Saturday will mark the final home Saturday game of the 2014-15 season. It was a year that began with a new coach and high hopes but has spiraled to a disappointing finish. Ohio's loss to Western Michigan on Wednesday ensured that the 'Cats would finish with a losing record. Like the football team a few months ago, all that's left to play for is pride.
Even with the way the season has gone, Bobcat fans should bring plenty of energy when they arrive at the Convocation Center, clad in black for the "Bobcat Blackout". They've also got a great matchup in the Kent State Golden Flashes.
Right now, four teams in the MAC are 9-4 in conference play: Kent State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, and Toledo. If the season ended today, these teams would all get byes- with Bowling Green and Central Michigan each getting a pass straight to the semifinals. The less games to play, the closer a program is to the MAC title and a spot in the big dance.
But these teams are not locks for the top four seeds. Akron is just a game back at 8-5 in MAC play, while Western Michigan and Buffalo are just 2 games back.
For Kent State, almost every game becomes a must-win if they want to hold on to a top four seed or even grab a coveted top two seed. The Flashes finish with a tough stretch of Buffalo, Bowling Green on the road, and Akron, so it is almost essential that KSU grab wins against Ohio and Miami.
Kent State may face their sixth straight game without forward Jimmy Hall, who has been sidelined with mono. That means 3-point threat Devareaux Manley, Kris Brewer, and Derek Jackson must step up, because Ohio is still a dangerous team that has beaten teams like Buffalo and Akron.
Ohio is pretty much just playing out the string at this point, and for many fans this will be the last chance to see seniors Maurice Ndour, Javarez Willis, and Stevie Taylor. Taylor has struggled at points this season, but Ndour has been solid for the Bobcats during his entire two years in Athens, and Willis has become something of a star for Ohio.
This game may mean more for one team than the other, but it doesn't mean it won't be an exciting matchup.