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Ohio Bobcats vs. Central Michigan Chippewas men's basketball preview: looking at Ohio-CMU by the numbers

Ohio salvaged a nice home win on Tuesday while the Chippewas come into the game hungering to jump back in the thick of things in the MAC West.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Confusing. Pretty sure that's the way to describe the 2015-2016 season for the Central Michigan Chippewas basketball team. The Ohio Bobcats on the other hand are leaps and bounds better as a unit than last year's team, but they know that their problems stem from on-ball defense.

Not that Central is much better. The two teams are at the bottom of the conference in terms of points allowed per game. Central comes in as the worst in the MAC in field goal percentage defense, allowing a .456 clip. Comparatively, Ohio allows teams to shoot .428. Ohio is the worst in the conference int terms of guarding the 3-point line, allowing teams to shoot around 40 percent this season, though last time out, the Bobcats surrendered just 4 3-pointers on 18 attempts.

At the same time, the two are No. 2 (Ohio) and No. 4 (CMU) in the conference in scoring. A big difference could be Ohio's ability to get buckets around the hoop with Antonio Campbell, who has wrecked teams in the paint at times, will once again have to stay out of foul trouble if Ohio is to establish something in the paint. Campbell is scoring 15.5 per game this season and is grabbing 9.1 rebounds per game for good measure.  Jaaron Simmons is coming off possibly the best game of his collegiate career against WMU and is easily leading the conference, averaging 7.4 assists per contest.

Central has been known to shoot the 3-ball, note the nickname we know Keno's team by as they make 10.1 treys per game. But that doesn't always equal victory. 17 long balls from CMU didn't equal victory against Brigham Young when the Cougars put up 98 points.

CMU comes in with two of the conference's top 12 scorers, with Braylon Rayson and Rayshawn Simmons scoring 17.0 and 14.2 respectively.

Given how fast in the half-court these two teams like to play, don't be surprised if turnovers come into play. Ohio has been plagued by troubles in that department, and maintains the worst turnover margin in the MAC at -2.82 per game. For comparison's sake, the Chips are at .56.

If this one comes down to the end, expect Ohio to have the slight upper hand with a .769 free throw percentage compared to .702 for Central. Ohio's mark is among the best in the country.

And finally, this game marks an opportunity to pull back to .500 in conference play. A win would mark a refreshing and needed win to keep both teams in the midst of the conference race in both hotly contested divisions. CMU are Ohio are both 2-3. Both squads are hungering for a win here badly.

When: Saturday 4:30pm

Where: Mount Pleasant, Michigan. McGuirk Arena.

Watch it: via ESPN3