TOP RATED PLAY ON:
OHIO BOBCATS -7
On Tuesday, the Golden Flashes brought home a solid TOP RATED PLAY Winner, beating Ball St at home…In that matchup vs Ball St, the Golden Flashes had several key edges and advantages, as well as home court advantage, which qualified them as a TRP selection for me…However, in this matchup vs Ohio the key advantages and edges, along with home court advantage is now in the Bobcats favor…Below is a list of 4 BIG EDGES, which I believe will result in a solid victory for the Bobcats tonight.
1st BIG EDGE…..The Bobcats are at home and will have a big home court advantage…They also play their best ball at home, where they are currently undefeated at 8-0 and win by an average of 18 points as well. …At home, the Bobcats offense puts up solid numbers averaging 78.5 ppg, 45.4% shooting from the field, 43.1% shooting from downtown and 69.4% from the line.
The Bobcats at home also have been playing solid on the defensive end, where they are allowing just 60.2 ppg, 38.6% shooting from the field, 31.6% shooting from downtown and just 65.6% from the line…The Golden Flashes are just 3-4 SU in their games on the road…Their offense continues to struggle scoring in road games, as they average just 68.6 ppg, compared to the 80 ppg they average overall…In addition, their struggles on the road affects their shooting accuracy as they average just 38.1% shooting from the field and 22.8% shooting from downtown….The also only average 5 made three-pointers on the road…which is not good, as the Bobcats are the best in the conference from long distance and they also average 11 made three-pointers in home games.
The only area of play that has remained solid for Kent St, regardless of where the game is played…is on the boards, where they average 15 offensive rebounds and 41.4 total rpg….Still, with the Bobcats playing solid at home on both ends of the court…as well as their ability to light it up from long range…winning the rebounding battles won’t be nearly enough, if you can’t put the ball in the hole.
Side Note: This game is being nationally televised on ESPN U…and that should further create a frenzied atmosphere which the Bobcats can feed off of.
2nd BIG EDGE…..The Bobcats return 4 key contributors and starters from last season’s team, which includes the reigning MAC Conference POY in forward Campbell and All-Conference guard Simmons.
Kent St, on the other hand, was not so fortunate as forward Hall is the only returning key contributor and starter from last seasons team…The only other returning players who contributed anything was guards Walker and Edwin, who were both reserves that played sparingly off the bench last season…The rest of this season’s team is made up of new young recruits, transfers and JC players…But, make no mistake about it, the reason why the Golden Flashes have found success early this season is simply due to forward Hall, who is carrying the entire team on his back, while the new guys find their chemistry with each other.
Many voted Kent St’s forward Hall as the best big man in the MAC this season and I can see why, as he is the most balanced interior scorer in the conf, from both mid-range and in the low post…In addition, he is also the reason the Golden Flashes are ranked near the top of the nation in both offensive rebounds pg and overall rebounds pg…But, Ohio also has the best big man in the conference in forward Campbell, who is also a double-double scoring and rebounding machine, who averages 18.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season…Plus, if that wasn’t enough, Ohio’s Campbell can also shoot the long ball, and made 6 of the Bobcats 16 three pointers in their last game vs Western Michigan.
The Edge here for the Bobcats though, is that unlike Kent St’s Hall…Ohio’s Campbell, has a supporting cast to help him down low, in swat specialist Mompremier and Taylor…This depth gives the Bobcats the ability to play two true bigs down low if they want or need too…Furthermore, unlike Kent St’s backcourt which is run by new personal this season, the Bobcats can rely on their solid veteran backcourt, led by guard Simmons, who last season averaged 8 assist per game and shot 42% from downtown…Simmons ability to create with his drives to the lanes has opened up a lot of easy scoring opportunities, not only for forward Campbell down low, but for everyone in a Bobcat uniform…His penetrations has continually drawn double teams, which means that someone is open to take a clear shot.
Currently, Simmons is averaging 12 points and 7.4 assist per game…As a team, the Bobcats are ranked 83rd in the nation, averaging a solid 15.5 assist per game.
Side Note: In last seasons game played at the Convocation Center…Ohio’s forward Campbell scored a career high 28 points and grabbed a team high 7 rebounds to lead the Bobcats to a 72-61 win over the Golden Flashes….Kent St’s forward Hall led the Golden Flashes with 23 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 assist, in the lost.
The return of practically all of Ohio’s key contributors will be even more significant in this game because, Kent St was one of the most veteran and experienced teams in the MAC and they also was the top team in the conference as well…If Kent St wasn’t able to beat the Bobcats when they had the veterans and were on top of the conference, then how are they expected to beat this same Bobcat team, who is a lot more experienced and balanced then they were last season.
3rd BIG EDGE…..The Bobcats return of key contributors and scorers has not only led to them starting the season with 9 wins in the first 12 games, for the 2nd straight season…It has also allowed them to continue being one of the MAC’s best overall scoring and shooting offenses once again…One of the areas on offense that the Bobcats hasn’t skipped a beat from last season, is their solid shooting from downtown…Currently, the Bobcats are ranked 23rd in the nation with a 40.6% three-point field goal %…And they are also ranked 13th in the nation in three-point shots made per game, averaging 10.2 bombs.
Compared to the Golden Flashes, who only have one nationally ranked player in Hall…This Bobcat team has 4 nationally ranked players in several offensive categories…In fact, both forward Kaminski and guard Dartis rank in the top 30 in the nation in three point FG% and three-point shots made per game…Guard Simmons ranks 3rd in the nation averaging over 7 assist per game.
The Bobcats forward Campbell is the only player in the MAC conference to be named to the Luke Olson Award Preseason Watch List…which recognizes the best Div 1 basketball player, who has played at least two seasons…In addition, Campbell is currently ranked 40th in the nation in FG% shooting, averaging 56.6%…He is also ranked 21st in the nation with his 10.2 rebounds per game average…He is ranked 58th in the nation in blocks per game…And lastly, he has achieved a team high of 17 double-doubles, which ranks 18th in the NCAA.
Side Note: Kent St is currently ranked 2nd to last in the MAC in 3pt FG% defense, allowing opponents to average 35.3% shooting from long range.
Last season, Ohio’s offense was one of the best in the nation…ranking 50th in scoring with a 78.9 ppg average…They were ranked 36th in the nation in FG% shooting, averaging 47%…They were ranked 23rd in the nation in 3pt FG% shooting, averaging 38.6% from long range…This season, the Bobcats are scoring an average of 77.6 ppg…They are shooting 44.2% from the field…They are shooting 40.6% from long range…And the area that has dropped the most is FT%, as last season they shot 75.9% from the line, but that has dropped to a low of 66.8%, which ranks 246th in the nation.
As far as the Bobcat offense is concerned, all the main weapons are in place to make a run for the conference title and another post-season tournament appearance…The Golden Flashes has put up some points this season…but they are still struggling with their accuracy and consistency in 2pt FG% and 3pt FG% shooting…Vs tough defenses this poor shooting will surely create problems securing important wins.
Well my last comment leads me into the last area where the Bobcats will definitely have an edge.
4th BIG EDGE……Last season, the Bobcats had one of the best offenses in the conference…But, they also had to 2nd worst defense to go with that, which ranked 249th in the nation, allowing 74.8 ppg…Well, the same cannot be said about the Bobcats defensive play so far this season…In fact, the Bobcats through 12 games currently leads the MAC and ranks 60th in the nation with 65.6 points allowed per game…And, they are also ranked 1st in the conf and 52nd in the nation, allowing opponents to average just 39.7% shooting from the field…That’s right, the Bobcats currently own the best scoring defense and FG% defense in the MAC.
This definitely is not good news for the Golden Flashes, as they again are struggling with their shooting accuracy…Kent St is one of the top ranked teams in nation and 1st in the conference in offensive rebounding…However, that impressive stat still hasn’t led them to move up from last in the MAC in 2pt FG% shooting, averaging just 42.3% shooting from the field…Or their 2nd to last ranking in the conference in 3pt FG% shooting, where they average just 31.9% from long range…That stat won’t improve much if any, as the Bobcats defense are only allowing opponents to shoot 32.6% from long range.
Side Note: Kent St ranks #1 in the nation in offensive rebounding per game…while Ohio is ranked 9th in the nation in defensive rebounding per game.
Side Note: Kent St ranks 5th in the nation in total rebounds per game, with 43…while Ohio ranks 40th in the nation in total rebounds per game, with 39.5…
Bottom line is, even though I am fading the Golden Flashes today…I am still impressed by the fact that they were able to record 9 wins so early in the season and especially after returning just one of 6 players who averaged 20+ minutes a game last season…Hall has been the Golden Flashes best offensive and defensive player the past two seasons, and is the main reason why the Golden Flashes have been competitive in most of their games.
Still, I cannot see how this Kent St team will be able to beat these Bobcats, who practically returned every key starter, scorer and contributor from last seasons team, and who also beat them by 11 points on this court as well…Hall is a great player, but the Bobcats can match his play with their great player and last seasons MAC POY in Campbell…And as Ohio’s Campbell matches Halls play, where else or who else can the Golden Flashes turn to for an edge in this game.
In my opinion, in this game at Ohio, they have none….All the pertinent and key Edges/Advantages today lie with the Bobcats…They have the HCA…They have the best scoring defense in the conference…They have to best ball handler and floor general in the conference…They have a potent offense at home with the ability to shot lights out from long range…And they have the better team chemistry, experience and player depth…not to mention, that the Golden Flashes are still struggling with their shooting accuracy….Based on those facts, I see no other way to go in this one…Hall will get his stats, but that again will not be enough to prevent this game from ending in another double digit win for Ohio……GO BOBCATS!
Side Note: Kent St is 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 games vs teams with a winning record….They are also just 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 road games.
Side Note: Ohio is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 home games vs teams with a losing road record….And Ohio is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games played on Friday.