Portland (0-0) at Ohio University (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 10, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (13,080) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Portland 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Away Record: Portland 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Neutral Record: Portland 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Portland 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Series Record: Ohio University leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Ohio University Bobcats take the first step of their journey back to the NCAA Tournament as they entertain the Portland Pilots at the Convocation Center for their 2012-2013 season-opener.
The Pilots dropped off from a 20-win season last year and finished with a disappointing 7-24 overall record and at the bottom of the West Coast Conference. Eric Reveno enters his seventh season as the program's head coach with an 85-105 record. Portland won a pair of exhibition games over Concordia (Oregon) (87-69) and the defending NAIA national champion Concordia-Irvine (79-66 on Nov. 3.
Ohio is once again expected to be a competitor in the race for the Mid- American Conference crown. Although head John Groce left to coach Illinois on the Big Ten stage, the Bobcats have all five starters back and a coach with MAC experience in Jim Christian. Ohio's newest coach led Kent State to three NIT appearances and two NCAA Tournaments before migrating to TCU. Christian only led the Horned Frogs to one winning record in four seasons before returning to the MAC to coach Ohio fresh off its trip to the Sweet 16, where it lost in an overtime thriller to North Carolina.
Sophomore point guard Kevin Bailey (9.5 ppg) will be charged with leading the Pilots' offense into the new campaign. Bailey has a decent weapon inside in Ryan Nicholas. The undersized junior forward returns team-high averages of 11.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest. Portland has a couple of role players that will need to step up and become prominent contributors, led by junior guard Tanner Riley (6.2 ppg). Riley had 27 points to lead the Pilots in their final exhibition game. Bryce Pressley, who is the son of former Villanova star and NBA player Harold Pressley, will make his official debut with the program.
The Bobcats start and go with their do-everything point guard, D.J. Cooper (14.7 ppg, 5.7 apg). The senior enters the season as the school's all-time leader in assists and steals. Cooper is accompanied by fellow senior Walter Offutt (12.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg) in the backcourt. Offutt managed to net 19.3 ppg in the NCAA Tournament last season. Nick Kellogg benefits greatly from his teammates as he creates more space for the marksman to launch three-point attempts. Ivo Baltic (8.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Jon Smith (4.5 rpg) are both experienced starting forwards and battle on the boards consistently.
With no key components from last season lost besides Groce, there is no reason to doubt Ohio. The Bobcats should keep the Pilots off course with their star point guard running the show. Portland has a long way to go before it can compete with a top tier mid-major like Ohio.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 79, Portland 60
11/10 10:32:46 ET