SCOUTING THE OHIO BOBCATS! DIFFERENT ANIMAL FROM MIAMI AND OAKLAND!
Andy Mac Williams,
Ohio University(MAC EAST) rolls into Cintas Center Wednesday evening at 5-2 sporting a three game winning streak. The Bobcats have posted consecutive wins at the cavernous Convo in Athens over Austin Peay, Iona and the Marshall Thundering Herd. Saturday's 101-84 victory over border rival Marshall was pretty impressive. The Herd gave Xavier a game last December in Cincy with the Muskies holding on 81-77. Granted J.P. Macura and Kaiser Gates sat out with concussions, but MU is dangerous and OU throttled them. The Bobcats play inside-out emphasizing post ups and the driving game quite a contrast to Miami and Oakland who basically hung their hat on the three point shot.
OU's top two long range shooters Jordan Dardis and James Gallon(112 threes between them last season) are out with injuries. Ohio U is BIG and talented inside though with 6-8 240 pound red shirt Soph Jason Carter (19.6PPG-8 REBS) and hard working 6-9 255 pound Sr Doug Taylor (8.4PPG-8.3 REBS) ready to bang inside. Carter missed almost all of last year with a broken foot. He scores inside and shoots a ton of FTs. Soph guard Teyvion Kirk is a 6-4 driver (16.3PPG-6REBS-3 assists) not a pass first PG. He has started since Day 1 as a Frosh. JUCO transfer Antonio Cowart(6-2) is more of a set-up guy while Kirk hunts shots. 6-3 Frosh Jason Preston is starting and helping ball movement with good passing.
It's a two man bench for the Bobcats (6-8 RS Frosh Ben Vander Plas-their second best long range threat at 14-40 from three and SR Gavin Block at 14-32 outside the arc). OU shoots just 25% as a team from three, but they are tigers on the glass at +11/game and they shine in offensive rebounding.Free Throws are a bit of an adventure(68%) and turnovers are a problem at 16/game.
OVERALL BOBCAT STYLE:
5th tear coach Saul Phillips plays man to man defense almost exclusively. He will slough off poor shooters. Ohio runs very few plays. It's mainly a motion ball screen type offense. OU likes to run at you downhill and draw fouls aplenty. OU was decimated by injuries last season and finished 14-17(7-11 in the MAC). Phillips is 73-62 in four plus seasons at Harvard on the Hocking. Bobcat fans want more wins soon. This is OU's first true road game. Their two losses came in Jamaica to South Florida and Loyola Marymount (8-1 only loss at UCLA).
This one has trap game implications for the Muskies and their first stern test inside the paint since the Maui Tournament. The Crosstown Shootout is lurking Saturday afternoon in Clifton (2PM-ESPN2). They're selling standing room tickets at $50 a crack. 7-1 UC plays Tuesday night at 5th-3rd against 8-1 NKU (7PM-Fox Sports Ohio).
Travis Steele was not pleased with the overall effort against Oakland despite the 73-63 win. Shot selection against their zone was not good. PG Quentin Gooden had an off night. Steele was not happy with conversion rates on the fast break(too many missed lay-ups and botched 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 opportunities). OU is certainly the best team XU has faced since Maui two weeks ago. Can they focus and put away one of the better teams in the MAC maybe just a cut below Top 25 Buffalo??
REST IN PEACE-Dr BILL DAILY:
The long time Xavier professor, 1957 graduate and XU Athletics Hall of Famer died Saturday after a long illness. Daily is the architect of Modern Xavier Basketball(1979 to the present). As Chairman of the Athletic Board in 1978 he drafted an action plan to improve basketball performance which included joining a conference for the first time (THE MCC) and hiring an aggressive coach(Bob Staak-an assistant at Penn). Daily vetted, interviewed and signed Staak. The XU-UC game became a true rivalry again as Staak's team won 4 of 6 against the Bearcats.
Recruiting took off with players like Jeff Jenkins and Vic Fleming and John Shimko and Ralph Lee arriving on Victory Parkway along with prime local talent including Byron Larkin and Dexter Bailey. X moved its home court to Cincinnati Gardens, made the NCAAs in 1983 and won two NIT games in 1984. Staak left for Wake Forest after the 1984-85 season and Daily insisted Xavier hire Pete Gillen(Notre Dame assistant) while others wanted Tim Grugurich(UNLV). Daily won that battle and many more.
His plan for basketball success has resulted in an almost 40 year run of excellence,the building of the Cintas Center and the transformation of XU's campus and national image. Without Bill Daily Xavier's climb to national prominence and excellence probably never happens. He is a case study in vision, faith and execution.
SECOND NET RELEASE A BIG IMPROVEMENT:
The new NCAA Evaluation Tool took some heavy heat when the three week 2018-19 numbers were released last Monday. Xavier and the BIG EAST fared much better this week. 5-3 XU is 62nd out of 353 D-1 teams (only two other three loss schools are rated higher-Purdue at 31 and Oregon at 54).
X has lost to Wisconsin#6NET and Auburn#7NET and San Diego State#43NET so strength of schedule is confirmed. Road wins at UC and Mizzou would help immensely before the BIG EAST begins on 12-29 at DePaul plus no stumbles at home vs Ohio U, EKU and Detroit.
All 10 BIG EAST teams rank in the TOP 100. St Johns is 33. Villanova 37. Marquette 39. Creighton 47. Butler 49. XU 62. De Paul 70. Seton Hall 86. Georgetown 87. Providence 99.