The Ohio Bobcats looked good last time out, beating a team (Radford) that had been good enough to pull off a couple of upsets. And they'll have their own opportunity for an upset when they take on Purdue in a matter of days.
But for the time being, they have to make sure they don't look past the Detroit Mercy Titans, who come to the table with a high-scoring freshman guard who can take over a game if he is allowed to do so.
These teams will get together on Saturday at 1 PM ET at Calihan Hall in the Motor City.
TV: ESPN Plus, 1 PM ET. LINE: Check Intertops for the latest line
ABOUT OHIO: It wasn't a bad result at all when the Bobcats played host to Radford last Saturday in Athens, and as it turned out they did a tremendous job of defending inside the arc in the 78-69 victory. Radford hit a paltry 34% from two-point range, and the Bobcats got 19 points out of Jason Carter, while Doug Taylor dominated the boards with 16 rebounds. That victory brought Ohio's record to 6-3 (3-5 ATS) and offered a certain degree of redemption after the 22-point loss to Xavier in their previous game. And Radford was no stiff, having knocked off Texas and Notre Dame earlier in the schedule. As the non-conference slate winds down, Ohio has a chance to gauge its progress when they play nationally-ranked Purdue on Thursday night. Carter is the leading scorer and is averaging 19.2 points a game. He is shooting almost 52% from the floor. The top threat from three-point range is Gavin Block (16 of 37), but generally speaking, the Bobcats are not going to scare too many teams with their long-range shooting. Only 22.6% of their points have come by way of triples, and that ranks them 331st out of 353 Division I teams in that category. Ohio has four different players who are averaging 5.7 rebounds or more per game, and that includes team leader Taylor, with a robust 8.7 per contest.
ABOUT DETROIT MERCY: Mike Davis' team has not played since December 5, when they were blown away 101-57 by Toledo. They have lost four games in a row to bring their record to 3-7, although they are 7-3 against the number. This will be their sixth game against a Mid-American Conference team; thus far they are 2-3, having scored victories over Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan. They are not necessarily playing at a swift overall pace (just 148th in Adjusted Tempo), but they are allowing 80.6 points per game. The big offensive gun, of course, is the coach's son, Antoine Davis, who has hit more triples than any other player in the country (54) and leads a team that actually has a pretty good margin over its foes when it comes to shooting from the arc, hitting 38.4% and allowing just 32.2%. The problem involves all the other things they do. For one thing, they have made just 41.5% of their shots INSIDE the arc, which is one of the worst percentages in the country. And even though Davis is 83.3% from the line, he is the exception to the rule, as the Titans are just 64.2% as a team. Davis averages 27.4 ppg, but that's a result of his totals dipping a bit lately; he has tallied just 37 over his last two games (against Dayton and Toledo), as he has made just 13 of his 49 shots.
1. Antoine Davis has played 94.2% of all available minutes for Detroit, which is the second highest percentage in the country. James Batemon of Loyola Marymount leads the country at 94.4%.
2. There is a HUGE disparity between these teams as far as the ability to control the defensive boards is concerned. While Ohio has allowed its opponents to snare an offensive rebound only 22.7% of the time on missed shots, which is 14th best in the nation, Detroit has allowed second chances (or more) 40.2% of the time, which is worse than all of the 353 D-I teams in the country except for UNC-Asheville.
3. Jason Carter's great uncle, Wayne Wiseman, played at Rio Grande College from 1951-54. One of his teammates was the legendary Bevo Francis, who twice topped 100 points and holds the NCAA record for most points per game in a season at 48.3.
PREDICTION: Ohio 87, Detroit Mercy 74 Bet Now
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