Published Tue, Nov 20, 2012 2:14 pm Dateline
Jim Christian started the season off hot in Ohio’s first three games of the season. The Bobcats are winning by an average of 30 points so far this season. Ohio’s season takes a turn for the better starting this weekend. The Bobcats have Hampton (2011 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champions) and Richmond (2011 Sweet Sixteen) this week followed by St. Bonaventure, Robert Morris and Memphis in the weeks to come, to name a few.
Hampton (0-2) has struggled this season through two games, but is a young team with very raw talent. The Pirates feature six freshmen, three of which getting 20 or more minutes per game.
Hampton’s Player to Watch
Dwight Meikle is a freshman listed as a guard with a frame like a forward. Meikle stands tall at 6 feet, 7 inches, a full three inches taller than Walter Offutt, his likely counterpart. Meikle is multitalented with his unique build, able to drain shots and grab rebounds. He won MEAC Rookie of the Week honors this past week for his 14-point, 10-rebound performance against Richmond. Offutt is a skilled rebounder from the shooting guard position that will have his work cut out for him Tuesday defending Meikle.
Hampton’s Key Statistic
The Pirates have only mustered 54.5 points per game compared to Ohio’s 79.7. Chrisitan’s task is making sure the Bobcats continue the trend of putting teams away early and holding them under water for the remainder of the game. Ohio has a tremendous scoring ability that must be showcased tonight to send Hampton home with a loss.
Richmond’s Players to Watch
Ohio can score, but it typically comes from different players each game with how deep the Bobcats’ bench reaches. Richmond’s Darien Brothers can be counted on to score big every night. Brothers, through four games this season, leads the Spiders with 15.3 points per game. Minnesota found the way to shut him down, holding him to just two points on 1-11 shooting. Brothers scored 19, 21 and 19 in the team’s first three games.
Ohio handled UNC Wilmington’s powerful post Friday, outrebounding the Seahawks by 12. Another frontcourt player comes the Bobcats’ way Saturday in Derrick Williams. Williams, though only 6 feet, 6 inches, boasts a big body at 270 pounds. Ohio’s Reggie Keely weighs a full 31 pounds less than Williams, so the Bobcats may need to resort to more tactical defense to shut down such a large post presence. Utilizing the double-down with Ohio’s picky guards – Ohio turns teams over an average of 23 times per game – could neutralize Williams in the post, forcing the Spiders outside.
Richmond’s Key Statistic
The Spiders shoot 45 percent from the field and are arguably the best scoring team Ohio has faced thus far at 77.5 points per game. The Bobcats haven’t had to face a close game this season, which could put them in a difficult situation. Regardless of the result, Saturday’s game will be a chance to see how Ohio faces pressure from a tournament-caliber team and handles the accompanying adversity.