It’s a crossover matchup in the MAC coming to you from the hardwood in the Great Lakes State. The Ohio Bobcats are on the road as they travel to face the Eastern Michigan Eagles Saturday afternoon. Ohio was dropped 76-73 on the road by Buffalo in their last game Tuesday night. Eastern Michigan was dropped 69-52 at home by Ball State Tuesday night in their previous contest. The Bobcats lead the all-time series between the teams 49-26, including a 74-68 home victory in the first matchup this season on January 7.
Ohio Bobcats Looking to Sweep Season SeriesOhio has been up and down in coach Jeff Boals’ first season at his alma mater. The Bobcats started the year 3-0, followed that with three straight losses and then had a four-game win streak. Ohio has seen the needle point in a downward direction of late with five losses in their last seven games, including back to back defeats coming into this contest. The Bobcats’ best win on the year came in their season opener when they downed St. Bonaventure on the road. None of their other victories so far have been over a team ranked in even the top-200.
The Bobcats come into this game 192nd in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 71.6 points per game. Ohio is struggling in the rebounding department as they collect 34.9 boards per contest and stand 70th by handing out 15.1 assists a night. The Bobcats are average defensively as they are 177th in the nation by holding opposing teams to 68.8 points a game. Jason Preston leads Ohio with 16.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists per contest this season. Ben Vander Plas chips in 15.2 points plus seven rebounds a night while Jordan Dartis contributes 13.9 points per contest. Lunden McDay, Sylvester Ogbonda, Nolan Foster and Nate Springs are other rotation pieces for Ohio looked to contribute solid minutes. The Bobcats are shooting 45.5 percent from the field so far this season. Ohio drills 8.7 three-pointers a night while sinking 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Bobcats are struggling at the charity stripe as they hit only 68.1 percent of their chances this season.
Looking at the numbers at KenPom.com, Ohio is heavily invested in perimeter shooting. The Bobcats get 36.6 percent of their points from three-point shots this season, putting them 53rd in the nation in that regard. The Bobcats are 108th in three-point shooting this season and stand 89th in effective field goal percentage (51.6 percent) on the year. The Bobcats are average in offensive efficiency, ranking 175th, and stand just 266th in defensive efficiency this season. Ohio is a slower-paced team, ranked 206th in tempo with 68.3 possessions per game.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Trying to Earn Home WinEastern Michigan started the season strong but they’ve fallen off a cliff of late. The Eagles started the year 6-0 before getting trounced by Northeastern on the road. Eastern Michigan followed that up with three straight wins to get to 9-1 on the mark. Since that point, things have unraveled as the Eagles have dropped six of their last seven games, including all four conference contests. The lone win for Eastern Michigan in that stretch was a triumph over an NAIA program in Concordia. That doesn’t inspire a bunch of confidence in them right now.
The Eagles are an offensive train wreck as they are 308th in the nation in scoring offense with 65.3 points per game. Eastern Michigan is 260th in rebounding with 35.1 boards a night and hand out an average of 10.7 assists per contest. The Eagles are above average on the defensive end as they are 55th in the nation with 63.1 points per game allowed. Ty Groce leads the team with 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest this season. Noah Morgan (10.4 points) and Yeikson Montero (10.3 points) are also averaging in double figures. The Eagles look to Boubacar Toure, Thomas Binelli, Chris Barnes, Chris James and Shamar Dillard to contribute for coach Rob Murphy. Eastern Michigan shoots 41.6 percent from the field as a team this season. The Eagles average 6.1 triples a night but shoot only 29.5 percent from beyond the arc. Eastern Michigan is shooting only 63.6 percent from the free throw line as a team this season.
The offensive numbers for the Eagles, according to KenPom.com, are atrocious this season. Eastern Michigan is 339th in offensive efficiency, 340th in effective field goal percentage defense (43.6 percent) and 344th in turnover percentage (24.4 percent) on the year. The Eagles are 341st in three-point percentage, 304th in two-point percentage (45.3 percent) and 332nd in free throw percentage this season. Those numbers overwhelm the fact that the Eagles are 14th in turnover percentage (24.4 percent) and fourth in steal percentage (14.1 percent) this season.
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