Ohio’s season may hang in the balance Friday.
Coach Saul Phillips said Tuesday night he has used two mulligans and won’t be able to use one again.
He’s referring to Ohio’s Friday bout against Miami — the Bobcats' last regular season home game this year.
The Bobcats play the Redhawks at 6:30 p.m. It will be the second time Ohio and Miami have played this season. It’s also the 200th meeting between the two rivals.
It’s simple: a win gives Ohio (18-10, 10-7 Mid-American Conference) a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament, which will be held in Cleveland starting March 9.
If Ohio wins, and the five other teams with 10-7 records (Kent State, Buffalo, Ball State and Western Michigan) win, Ohio still holds onto the No. 2 seed.
“It's like me at a golf outing in the summer where you get to buy those mulligan tickets,” Phillips said. “I've used two of them, and I got one left. I actually have zero left, this is it.”
A loss, however, will push Ohio to no lower than the No. 6 seed and an on-campus match up with a lower seed on Monday night.
But Phillips and company aren’t trying to think of that.
They’re prepping for an archrival that upset the best team in the MAC, Akron, Tuesday night.
“I don't like Miami,” sophomore guard Jordan Dartis said. “Once we get that win we're going to punch our ticket to Cleveland.”
Last time, Ohio handily beat Miami (11-19, 4-13) 79-62 in Oxford behind Jason Carter’s 25 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bobcats will need the best from Carter again if they want to beat the Redhawks and advance far into the postseason.
Carter, along with Jaaron Simmons, has been vital to Ohio’s late-season run at the MAC Tournament.
The Bobcats will need them Friday.
“Let's face it, if we don't get a bye, we're going to host a home game,” Phillips said.