Coach Saul Phillips hasn't looked intensively at the Mid-American Conference standings yet. It's not that he doesn't want to, there's just too many variables left to be decided.

As conference play comes to an end Friday in Oxford, the MAC standings still have much left to be decided. After Ohio and Miami play at Millett Hall, the focus will turn to the MAC Tournament, set to begin on Monday at a location unknown.

For now, though, the Bobcat are focused on earning their seventh straight win in the series against Miami.

“I don’t even understand all the scenarios," Phillips said. "It’s such a convoluted … I don’t know. Let’s just try to win this one and we’ll play where we play. I’ll let the conference office sort this mess out.”

There are four possibilities for the Bobcats next Monday in the first round — Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Kent State and a rematch with Miami all are on the table. 

Ohio cannot host a home game and will go on the road as either the ninth, 10th or 11th seed.

The easiest path to the Miami rematch is one where all of the teams with better records win Friday. Western Michigan will have to beat Central Michigan, Buffalo will have to beat Bowling Green and Kent State will have to beat Akron. 

Should that happen, the Bobcats will return home, then head back to Oxford for a second time in four days and the third time in 16 days. 

“If that’s the case, I’d say that it’s kind of good," James Gollon said. "It’s almost like getting one under our belt, it’s preparing us. You can’t get any more preparation than that. 

For now, though, Phillips has stressed the importance of the rivalry to the team, opting to forego any conversations about next week just yet. Those conversations will come after Friday's game when the opponent is set in stone.

“This is an important rivalry for this school, for this fanbase," Phillips said. "It’s an important rivalry for our players. We’ve got to treat it as such.”

The players aren't focused on next week, either. They can't be. 

In the last matchup, Ohio held a lead for the majority of the game, yet still found itself in overtime. The Bobcats won 92-87. 

Whatever results await Ohio after the Miami game, any thoughts about the matchup will have to be put on the back-burner. At least for the next few hours.

“It’s just another game to win, that’s the way everyone looks at it on our team," Gollon said. "We’ve got competitors on our team, everybody. It doesn’t matter where it’s at, what’s at stake, anything like that. Kobe mentality — but maybe not that extreme.”


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