Cleveland State (21-11) at Ohio University (23-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 19, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center Arena (13,080) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: None. CIT Record: Cleveland State 0-0, Ohio University 1-1. Series Record: Ohio leads, 9-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of schools from the Buckeye State will collide on Wednesday as the Cleveland State Vikings take on the Ohio University Bobcats at the Convocation Center in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The Vikings have participated in seven postseason tournaments in the past, but this will be their first appearance in the CIT. Cleveland State bounced back from a disappointing 14-18 finish to the 2012-13 campaign to finish second in the Horizon League standings behind Green Bay. However, coach Gary Waters guided his squad to wins in 10 of its last 11 regular season games before it suffered a 68-63 setback to Wright State in the first round of the conference tourney. CSU has won six consecutive true road games and has not lost an away game since Jan. 13.
Ohio is making its school-record fifth trip to a postseason tournament in a row. This will be the Bobcats' second appearance in the CIT as it went 1-1 in the 2011 installment of the tournament. They are one victory away from tying last season's total of 24. Ohio made an early exit from the 2013 NIT after a 61-57 loss at Denver in the first round ended its campaign. Coach Jim Christian's team won three games in six days to reach the quarterfinal round of the Mid-American Conference Championship and appeared to be nearing a return to the Big Dance, however it ran out of gas and fell, 83-77, to Akron.
The Bobcats and Vikings are meeting for the 12th time in history. Ohio holds a 9-2 lead in the all-time series, although the teams have met just twice since the 1979-80 season.
CSU's success this season came from some very efficient shooting from the perimeter. The Vikings are hitting on 40.9 percent of their 3-point field goal attempts to rank second in the nation behind Creighton (.410). CSU's total of 235 makes from beyond the arc are the second most in program history, just two shy of the school standard set by the 2010-11 team (237). Sophomore guard Bryn Forbes, who was named to the all-conference second team, ranks seventh in the Horizon League in points per game (15.4) and set a school record with 77 makes from 3-point range. Ohio is sure to be aware of Jon Harris, who was recently honored as the Horizon League Sixth Man of the Year. The Miami- Ohio transfer contributes 10.4 ppg and six rpg, while Trey Lewis (13.3 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Anton Grady (10.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg) also serve valuable roles for the Vikings.
During Ohio's three-game run in the MAC Tournament, Nick Kellogg posted 20.7 ppg. The senior guard, who is the MAC's career leader in made 3-pointers (284), was named to the All-MAC Second Team along with junior forward Maurice Ndour, who ranks 10th in the league in scoring (14.4 ppg), seventh in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and fourth in blocks (1.7 bpg). The Bobcats were expected to take a step back this season after losing some key components from their roster at the end of last season, but Kellogg refused to let the team fall out of contention. The senior is averaging career bests in points (15.3 ppg), rebounds (3.5 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.460) this season, while shooting 40.0 percent from 3-point range.
This is a very even matchup between a pair of solid mid-major programs. The Vikings are unstoppable when point guard Charlie Lee plays aggressively on the offensive end. However, Ohio's homecourt advantage should help it fend off CSU, which is exceptional on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 71, Cleveland State 67
03/19 10:34:37 ET