MAC Game of the Work Week
Toledo has been on a run lately and they get arguably their toughest test this week as they travel to Athens, Ohio to meet up with the Ohio Bobcats. These two teams are seemingly going in different directions right now. Toledo is currently undefeated in MAC play and is looking like a lock to get the first round bye in the MAC tournament. Ohio plays well at home but is another team all together when it goes on the road. The good news for Ohio is this game is on the road.
First of all before getting any further it is important to look at two things. First of all, Toledo plays in the very watered down MAC West division. It isn’t hard to go undefeated when your opponents are the directional Michigan schools and Northern Illinois. However, Toledo has shown some strength when they went on the road and beat Buffalo in New York. They just got done taking care of Miami at home this weekend as well. Ohio has been playing very well so far this year at home and that’s what really makes this game so interesting.
If this game were in Toledo there would probably be no chance of a Bobcat upset. Ohio has been a completely different team thus far from the friendly confines of the Convo. Ohio is also a team that has been in the midst of three different shake ups. The first came when senior forward Ken Ottrix was suspended from the university for a DUI in September. Next up was when head coach Tim O’Shea dismissed senior forward Johnnie Jackson from the team right before conference season was to begin. Then, right before the Kent State game the team lost it’s only true point guard in junior Antonio Chatman. The Bobcats are now down to 9 players who began the season on the team. They have added a few walk-ons but the case remains that this is a very thin team.
It will be interesting to see what each team tries to do. Will Toledo try and push the ball and get it into more of an up and down tempo to speed up Ohio? Will Ohio step it up on the perimeter defensive end and shut down Justin Ingram? This game is crucial for Ohio if it wants one of the first four spots in the conference tournament. If they get one of those coveted four spots then it will have a first round bye. The keys for Ohio will be to force it down low to their talented big men Leon Williams and Jerome Tillman. For Toledo it will be to use it’s depth to it’s advantage and to try and wear the Bobcats out.