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Pregame Prep: UB visits sharp-shooting Ohio in key MAC game


UB at Ohio

6 p.m. Tuesday at Athens, Ohio

Radio 1520. TV: CBS Sports Network

Records: UB 15-14, 9-7. Ohio 18-9, 10-6.

The Set-Up: UB still can clinch the No. 3 seed in the Mid-American Conference, a remarkable accomplishment under the circumstances this season, by winning its final two games - at Ohio and home vs. Bowling Green Friday. Two losses and UB tumbles out of the top four. Ohio stands No. 2 and is in great shape for a top-four finish and a bye with just one more win.

The Matchup: Ohio suffered the blow of the year in the MAC when it lost senior star forward Antonio Campbell, the player of the year in the MAC last season, for the season to a broken foot. Campbell got hurt in the Ohio win over UB (74-72) on Jan. 10. He has missed the last 12 games. But Ohio has gone 7-5 in his absence, an outstanding achievement. Ohio and UB are opposites in many ways. Ohio is an outstanding shooting team and has the best pure point guard in the MAC in Jaaron Simmons. The Bobcats are a finesse team. They're not good at rebounding. They’re not as athletic or physical as UB. UB is great at rebounding, great on occasion at defending and generally poor at shooting. UB should have won the first meeting, with Campbell playing 17 minutes. Fouls (and technicals) caused UB to blow it. If UB plays its A Game, it will beat Ohio. The problem is the Bulls have proven so far they're not capable of bringing their A Game on a consistent basis. In the end, the game is about putting the ball through the hoop. Ohio does it better than UB.

Recent: UB lost to Akron Friday. Ohio lost to hot Kent State Saturday. One reason Ohio has chugged along without Campbell is 6-8 freshman Jason Carter has averaged 12.1 points and 7.4 rebounds. UB’s Dontay Caruthers has his hands full trying to stay in front of Simmons. The Bulls guarding sharp-shooters Jordan Dartis (13.1) and Kenny Kaminski (11.9) better not help when Simmons gets past Caruthers, because those two will nail threes if left unattended.

Stats: Ohio is 16th in the nation in three-point shooting percentage (39.6), 230th in forcing turnovers. The Bobcats' non-conference schedule was 333rd in the nation. Ohio defends the three very well, but UB shoots the three poorly. UB's non-conference strength of schedule was 75th.

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