Toledo (6-8) at Ohio University (12-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Convo (13,168) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: SportsTime Ohio. Home Record: Toledo 3-1, OU 11-1. Away Record: Toledo 2-7, OU 1-4. Neutral Record: Toledo 1-0, OU 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 2-1, OU 3-0. Series Record: Ohio leads, 67-54.
GAME NOTES: Mid-American Conference division leaders collide at The Convo, as the Ohio University Bobcats host the Toledo Rockets.
Despite a sub-.500 overall record, Toledo is the only team in the conference's West Division with more than one victory in MAC play. However, the Rockets are coming off Wednesday night's 79-56 thrashing at the hands of Western Michigan. The Rockets are just 2-7 on the road and have played only four home games so far, the fewest of any MAC school.
Meanwhile, Ohio has won 11 of 12 at home this season. The defending MAC Tournament champion Bobcats are currently riding a four-game winning streak, which includes Wednesday's 81-63 rout of Northern Illinois. All but one victory during the win streak have come by double-digit margins, although last weekend the Bobcats managed a two-point road win over the same Western Michigan squad that just crushed Toledo.
OU has won five of the last six meetings with Toledo to take a 67-54 lead in the head-to-head series.
The Rockets put up an all-around dud at WMU, as they shot just 36.8 percent from the floor and were out-rebounded, 44-26. Julius Brown was UT's only double digit scorer, finishing with 16 points, although he shot only 6-of-14 from the field. Guard Rian Pearson (19.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg), the MAC's leading scorer, finished with a mere eight points on 4-of-13 shooting. Brown is 10th in the league with 13.8 ppg, although he is shooting a rather pedestrian 39.8 percent from the floor. The Rockets are at their best when they are attacking the rim and getting to the foul line, as they lead the conference and rank among the national leaders in free-throw percentage (.769).
Defending the Bobcats has proven a tough task for the opposition this season, as they lead the nation with 19.6 assists per game. OU also tops the MAC in field-goal percentage (.484), 3-point field-goal percentage (.376), steals (9.6 spg), turnover margin (+4.8) and 3-pointers made per game (8.8). Headlining the lineup is senior D.J. Cooper, who paces the squad with 14.4 points and a league-best 8.2 assists per game, which also ranks third nationally. Cooper can drive and dish and he can shoot from outside, as evidenced by his team-high 37 threes (.370). Walter Offutt (11.6 ppg) and Reggie Keely (10.6 ppg) round out the team's double-figure scorers. The Bobcats had little trouble taking down NIU, as they shot 50.9 percent from the floor and made 11-of-25 threes (.440). Offutt scored a team-high 19 points in the win.
Toledo has lost quite a few tight games already this season, while OU is 3-0 in MAC play for the first time since 2005-06. The Bobcats have simply been too tough to beat at home to pick against here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 86, Toledo 66
01/19 11:04:33 ET