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Ohio Bobcats vs. Kent State Golden Flashes men's basketball preview: Ohio, Kent State still finding their way

Both the Bobcats and Golden Flashes have had their ups & downs during conference play

Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

It's time for some soul searching because Saturday's match-up between Ohio (10-5, 1-2) and Kent State (11-5, 2-1) will feature two teams trying to find their way in the middle of the MAC East.

Through three conference games, both teams have shown both flashes of promise and hints of doubt.

For Ohio, this ranges from its 79-73 win against Ball State, in which the ‘Cats shot a cool 50 percent from the field in the second half and boasted two 20-plus point scorers, to losses to Northern Illinois and Bowling Green where turnovers and fouls piled up quicker than points.

As for Saturday's home team, Kent State didn't exactly blow away cellar dwellers Western Michigan and Miami, despite shooting at least 45 percent from the field in both wins, while poor shooting and turnovers doomed the Golden Flashes against Buffalo.

Keeping with comparisons, Ohio and Kent State's three primary scoring options have many similarities. Each team boasts a powerful forward who works his way around down low (Antonio Campbell for Ohio and Jimmy Hall for Kent State), a smaller, savvy, and quick guard (Jaaron Simmons for Ohio and Kellon Thomas for Kent State), and a 3-point shooter (Ohio's Kenny Kaminski and Kent State's Xavier Pollard).

The numbers back up the comparison claim too. Ohio and Kent State each sit near the top of the MAC in field goal percentage, shooting 46.9 and 45.6 percent, respectively, while Ohio only scores 2.6 more points per contest than Kent State (79.0-76.4). On the other end of the court, both Ohio and Kent State sit in the MAC's bottom half in scoring defense, allowing 73.9 and 71.6 points per game apiece.

Kent State does hold a significant advantage in turnovers, which could prove to be crucial with tow similarly built teams. The Golden Flashes boast a +2.3 turnover margin to Ohio's -2.2, making the turnover battle one to watch on Saturday.