Ohio has dug itself a hole over the last month. That's not the comforting part.
What is comforting for the Bobcats is that the hole hasn't buried them — yet. Despite holding up the bottom in the Mid-American Conference, the path isn't impossible for the Bobcats to rise out of the cellar.
Tuesday at the Stroh Center could go a long way to the climb when Ohio faces Bowling Green.
“I want to win one game first, so let’s get that done," coach Saul Phillips said. "But certainly you look at it (and say), ‘We may have some opportunities here.’ ”
After a trip to Bowling Green, the Bobcats (9-11, 2-6 MAC) will face Central Michigan at The Convo. Despite a 25-point win over the Bobcats earlier this season, the Chippewas (13-8, 2-6 MAC) have struggled in conference play.
That game will be followed by Akron, which Ohio lost to by three points on the road last week. Kent State, which was a one-point road loss for Ohio, is on the schedule again. Miami (11-10, 4-4 MAC) is on there twice, too.
In essence, the season isn't over by any stretch of the imagination. But Ohio will put itself in a worse position with each loss the rest of the way.
“It doesn’t take a wild imagination to see us getting to the point where we can string some wins together," Phillips said. "We’re not light years away.”
What the Bobcats can do, or should be able to do, tomorrow night heavily relies on the shooting of the 3-point offense. The Falcons allow an average of 80 points per game — 324th out of 351 teams — largely because of poor perimeter defense.
They're 302nd in 3-point defense, something the Bobcats will have to take advantage of.
“I feel like it’s going to be very important. We have the tendency to shoot the 3-ball at a high level," guard Zach Butler said. "If we move the ball like we’re supposed to, we’re going to get open shots.”
Butler detailed just about everything on the offensive end as what Ohio needed to do. And he wasn't wrong.
“We’re going to be moving, cutting, doing everything," he continued. "Ball screens, rolling. I said the key to the win is ball movement — we’ve got to move the ball.”
On the other end of the floor, Bowling Green will try to get to the line as much as it can. The Falcons have shot 521 free throws this season, 21st most in the country.
“They go into the post probably more than anyone in the league — they just pound it inside to Wiggins all game long on high-lows, straight post feeds, screen and roll," Phillips said, referring to Demajeo Wiggins, a junior forward for Bowling Green. "They have the ball within a proximity to the basket that allows you to get fouled a lot. Being able to defend the interior without fouling is a major, major thing with them.”
If the Bobcats can stay out of foul trouble and take advantage of a Falcons team that has allowed 93 and 101 points in its last two games, maybe the climb won't seem as daunting.
The hole they've dug themselves won't be any deeper, either.
"We’ve had a lot of close calls and some of those teams we get back here in the near future," Phillips said. "We’ll just do what we can.”