Ohio has already impressed its critics in the first week of its season. It’s won two road games in tough arenas and clobbered Division III Heidelberg in its home opener.
But come Saturday, the Bobcats will travel to Philadelphia to play perhaps the best team on their schedule when they tip off against No. 10 Villanova.
The Wildcats (1-1) are coming off a 25-point road loss to No. 16 Ohio State.
Is this the game where the Bobcats’ youth and lack of bench takes a toll, or can they pull off the upset?
More information below ahead of their third road trip of the season.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
When: Saturday, Nov. 16
Tip-off: 12 p.m.
How to watch: Fox Sports 2
The Wildcats are off to an uncharacteristic start for the three-time national champions. After they opened the season with a 97-54 win over Army, they dropped a top-25 match up with Ohio State in Columbus.
Villanova are the reigning Big East champions and made the NCAA Tournament as the No. 6 seed in the south regional bracket.
Led by head coach Jay Wright (449-176), the Wildcats have been one of the more premiere programs under his direction over the last 19 seasons.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, a freshman forward, has been an asset for the Wildcats in his first season with averages of 16 points, 9.5 rebounds and one assist per game. Much like the Bobcats, the Wildcats are a young team with eight freshmen on the roster highlighted by the No. 15 high school prospect in guard Bryan Antoine.
Antoine is yet to see the court, however, because of an offseason shoulder surgery he received in May.
Things to watch from Ohio
Ohio was 52% from the 3-point line in Wednesday’s win over Iona and it has experienced success shooting from beyond-the-arc with a season average of 45.9%. It likes to take the open shots, and even if Ohio’s big men have an open look, they aren’t afraid to pull up from deep.
The one area of concern from Wednesday’s win were turnovers. The Bobcats 19 led to 25 points for the Gaels. Against the No. 10 team in the country, their room for error is razor thin.
This is the biggest test for the Bobcats in the early goings of the season and with short travel time and preparation, the early road trips have potential to take a toll on the team.