Team: Ohio Bobcats
Coach: Saul Phillips (1st year)
Record last year: 25-12, 11-7 MAC
Lost to Akron in MAC tourney quarterfinals.
Lost to VMI in CIT tourney quarterfinals.
Early 2014-15 record: 5-6
* All rankings/stats are among MAC teams unless otherwise noted:
After reaching the CIT tournament quarterfinals last in a 25-win season last year, the Ohio Bobcats lost some key players – among them, 3-point shooter extraordinaire Nick Kellogg. Travis Wilkins, Ricardo Johnson, T.J. Hall and Jon Smith also played important roles in a lot of OU success.
Still, there appeared to be enough returning talent and replacements for Ohio be a major player in MAC competition this season. A preseason media poll picked the ‘Cats for second, one spot behind rival Akron.
Of course, the media might have been somewhat surprised to find Ohio under .500 heading into conference play this week. It has been a real roller coaster ride for new head coach Saul Phillips and his crew. The ‘Cats were not able to string two wins together but never lost more than two straight.
Here’s more on the Bobcats:
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-- OU’s 44.2 field goal percentage is fourth in the MAC. The Green and White are seventh in field goal defense (41.8%).
-- The departure of Kellogg and others really shows up in 3-point shooting. Ohio is last, hitting 30.6 percent of its treys. Opponents are making 33.2 percent (7th).
-- Ohio is 10th in free throw percentage (68.4%).
-- The ‘Cats are averaging 36.4 rpg (5th) but are allowing 36.8 rpg (12th).
-- Ohio is averaging 12.5 turnovers (7th), while opponents are committing 12.0 per outing. That leaves OU next to last in turnover margin.
-- Ohio is 10th in assists (10.4 ppg) and seventh in turnovers (12.5 per contest). That leaves the ‘Cats 10th in assist-to-turnover ration (0.83).
-- Thanks in part to 6-9 senior forward Maurice Ndour (1.5 bpg, fourth MAC), OU ranks sixth in blocked shots (3.64 per contest).
-- Ohio is last in steals, averaging 5.18.
-- Three Bobcats average double figures in scoring. Senior guard Javarez Willis leads the way at 15.8, followed by Ndour at 15.1 ppg and 6-5 freshman guard Ryan Taylor (10.4). Antonio Campbell is a good bounce away at 9.9 ppg. Ndour is sixth among MAC scorers.
-- Willis has the most 3-point goals, converting 31-of-75 (41.3%). He ranks ninth in MAC 3-point percentage. His 31 made field goals are second in the conference.
-- Ndour is the team’s free throw’s made leader by a wide margin. He has converted 46-of-57 attempts (80.7%).
-- Ohio opens its MAC season Wednesday when it hosts Northern Illinois ((7 p.m. ET).