After Ohio’s ugly loss to Miami on Jan. 27, coach Bob Boldon stood outside the locker room and was frank.
“The bye week probably comes at a good time for us,” Boldon said.
Ohio’s had the week off from Mid-American Conference play; bye weeks often bring renewed confidence.
The situation for Ohio, however, is different from most. The Bobcats will host one of the best teams in the MAC when they tip off at 1 p.m. against Ball State in The Convo on Saturday.
“I think this is a good week to not have a short-term memory,” redshirt senior guard Taylor Agler said. “We have a whole week to prepare.”
With Ball State having the talent it does, the Bobcats’ confidence, which would usually be prevalent, isn’t lacking, but they know the challenge ahead.
When asked about the matchup, Boldon held nothing back.
“(We match up) poorly, unfortunately,” Boldon said.
Defensively, the Bobcats have stifled opponents all season, forcing 24.05 turnovers per game. That number might be difficult to obtain against the Cardinals; they average just 15 turnovers per game.
Not only do they take care of the ball, the Cardinals are excellent at scoring the basketball. They average 82.2 points per game, which is 16th nationally.
“They have a lot of offensive firepower,” Boldon said.
Part of keeping Ball State from scoring high point totals will be controlling the ball and being efficient in the offensive end, limiting Ball State’s possessions.
The Bobcats struggle on that end, and it doesn’t just fall on missed shots. The focus and energy level on offensive possessions are key to making sure each time with the basketball is used wisely.
“When our energy is higher, for whatever reason, we make more shots,” Agler said. “It’s more than just coming in (the gym) and practicing our shooting. I think it’s coming in with great intensity every day.”
With the extra days of practice, the Bobcats were able to fine-tune some of the things they struggled with against Miami. As for Ball State, the Bobcats will look to capitalize on an opportunity to upset one of the conference’s elite.
“We’ll try,” Boldon said. “We’ll put together a game plan to try to slow them down a little bit.”