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CBI: Bobcats will need to be infused by the energy of their young guys to defeat Albany

Motivation is a question for any team that fails to make it to the Big Dance. Can Ohio and Albany muster the attitude to put on the type of performance that both are capable of?

Kaleb Carter

Who: Albany Great Danes (24-8, 13-3 America East) vs. Ohio Bobcats (21-11, 11-7)

Where: Convocation Center, Athens, OH

When: Wednesday, 7:00pm

Radio: IMG Sports Network

Streaming: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/ohio/ (Radio as well)

After losing to Buffalo in the MAC tournament, a gloomy press conference ensued with Antonio Campbell and Coach Saul Phillips lamenting the end of Ohio's chances to dance.

Antonio Campbell noted that Ohio should certainly play in the postseason, if only "just for our young guys. Phillips suggested that his guys deserved to be playing in the postseason.

"This is move forward and keep playing with this group, get some into some postseason, Phillips said. "They deserve to play, they do. They earned it, they earned that right."

So now the time is here for freshmen Jordan Dartis and Gavin Block to be on full display. Sure Treg Setty will likely be fired up because he doesn't want to end his college career, but this tournament very well could be a showcase for the young guys. Mike Laster too. Jaaron Simmons is also likely to be chomping at the bit after a poor performance in the Buffalo loss.

Albany comes in having been one of the early victims of the conference tournament massacre of high-seeded teams (in the Great Danes' case, a 2-seed).

The Great Danes look to slow Ohio's offense with what was the second-best scoring defense and field goal percentage defense in the America East conference this season. Albany has allowed teams to shoot just 30 percent from 3-point land this season, but doesn't do much better itself at a 32 percent clip. Also a notable thing for Albany if this is a low-scoring game: free throws. Ohio had an excellent season as the stripe before struggling a bit in the MAC-tournament while the Danes shot 75 percent from the stripe.

Ohio supporters should be on the lookout for balanced squad of scorers that includes four players who averaged in double digits and three who averaged between 12 and 13 points per game. One of those guys you might remember from March last season. His name is Peter Hooley.

The combo of Hooley, Evan Singletary, and Ray Sanders will be tasked with attempting to shred an Ohio defense that often struggled at stopping the drive on the perimeter (still looking at you Lamonte Bearden), and could be vulnerable to this balanced bunch.

Albany has had a longer rest, but has had more time to stew on its early-exit from its conference tournament. We'll see how motivated both squads are Wednesday night.