Death From Above: Ohio (The Ohio University of Ohio in Ohio) Comment Count

Ace March 12th, 2012 at 1:40 PM


WHAT Michigan vs Ohio
WHERE Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, Tennessee
WHEN 7:20 PM Eastern
Friday, March 16
LINE M –5 (Kenpom)

"Who are you guys playing in the NCAA tournament?"
"Tough draw."
"No, I mean
Ohio Ohio. You know, the Bobcats, from the MAC."


I'm not saying Michigan dodged a bullet or anything when they slid down to a four-seed, but they dodged a bullet when they slid down to a four-seed. The three seed in the Midwest region, Georgetown, drew KenPom's #23-ranked team, trendy upset pick Belmont. By falling one seed line, Michigan will play their first-round game against #72 Ohio, easing fears of a first-round* upset while simultaneously filling my Twitter timeline with approximately 4,327 terrible Brady Hoke jokes.

Sure, man. Do your thing.

The Bobcats have a pretty balanced offense; eight players average at least 30% of available minutes and six break the 20% usage mark. The go-to guy is 5'11" junior point guard D.J. Cooper, who has the 17th-best assist rate in the country, an average turnover rate (not bad considering his high usage), and some ugly shooting numbers: 39% on twos and 31% on threes. Cooper does get to the line fairly often and hits at 74% from the stripe; the obvious key here is to keep him on the outside shooting jumpers. He appears willing to pull from just about anywhere, and that's perfectly fine if you're Michigan.

6'8", 263-pound center Reggie Keely comes off the bench, but he plays a little over half the team's minutes and is a high-usage guy when he's out there. Keely does most of his work on the offensive boards, where he reels in 12.1% of misses, and he gets to the line with regularity, drawing 4.8 fouls per 40 minutes. Keely isn't an outstanding shooter, connecting on 53% of his twos and 67% of his free throws, and he turns it over with regularity, but Jordan Morgan will have to make sure to keep him off the offensive glass while staying out of foul trouble.

Continuing the trend of guys who get to the line often is 6'3" wing Walter Offutt, who also draws 4.8 fouls/40 minutes but isn't very remarkable in any other statistical category. Offutt hits 35% of his three-pointers while shooting 49% from inside the arc, making him one of the more efficient scorers on the team.

The other two main contributors are a high-usage guy with a terrible ORtg—6'8" forward Ivo Baltic, a strong defensive rebounder who can't shoot free throws and hits under 50% of his twos—and a low-usage guy with a great ORtg in guard Nick Kellogg, a 42% three-point shooter whose statistical profile suggests he's a (very effective) spot-up shooter and not much else. I'm guessing Kellogg draws Hardaway when Michigan is on defense, assuming that Burke and Douglass take the two guards who dominate the ball more, and THJ had better do a good job of closing out.

The rest of the rotation is, well, there. 6'7" forward Jon Smith barely touches the ball while starting and playing nearly half the team's minutes, but he is a plus offensive rebounder and boasts an impressive 8.2 block percentage. Tiny freshman backup point guard Stevie Taylor is nearly as bad a shooter as Cooper and doesn't have the gaudy assist numbers to salvage his efficiency. 6'6" sophomore T.J. Hall actually is a worse shooter than Cooper. I can't find anything worth noting about Ohio's other two bench players save the fact that one is named TyQuane Goard.

*I refuse to use the NCAA nomenclature in which the Thursday/Friday games are "second round" games and Saturday/Sunday marks the "third round." This is stupid. Play-in games are play-in games. GET OFF MY LAWN.


Ohio's resume is severely lacking in the signature win department despite the Bobcats finishing 27-7: according to KenPom, their best victory is a two-point road win against #74 Marshall back in November. Their only other wins over top-100 KenPom teams came in the form of a 17-point road win over #95 Northern Iowa and two defeats of #79 Akron (one a home blowout and the other a one-point squeaker in the MAC title game; the Bobcats also lost by five to the Zips on the road). They do have a victory against the one common opponent shared with Michigan, a two-point win at Oakland, whom the Wolverines beat by ten at the Palace.

The Bobcats lost their only game against a powerhouse program, though falling short by five at #20 Louisville is actually rather impressive. Other losses are the aforementioned Akron road game, a three-point home loss to #141 Robert Morris, and road losses to #123 Bowling Green, #200 Toledo, #279 Eastern Michigan, and #122 Kent State.


Four factors:

Factor Offense (Rk) Defense (Rk) Avg
Effective FG%: 49.0 171 47.2 94 49
Turnover %: 19.7 141 26.7 2 20.3
Off. Reb. %: 35.2 64 33.9 246 32.1
FTA/FGA: 36.6 168 43.5 301 36.4

The Bobcat offense relies largely on their solid offensive rebounding to make up for the fact that only one player can really shoot. Just over 38% of the team's shots come from beyond the arc, a distribution which shouldn't cause problems as long as Cooper and Offutt are the ones shooting and not Kellogg.

Defensively, Ohio plays a high-pressure man-to-man look, going all-out for turnovers. While they've amassed the fourth-best steal rate and second overall turnover % in the country, the Bobcats foul a lot in order to do so—opposing teams produce just under a quarter of their points against Ohio from the free-throw line. They do defend the three rather well, sitting at 19th in the country in opponent 3P% (30.3).


Make sure Trey Burke doesn't play 45 minutes the night before the game. Check.

Make sure Trey Burke can play 45 minutes if necessary. This is not a concern about his gas tank as much as it is D.J. Cooper. Namely, D.J. Cooper's ability to draw an absurd 5.6 fouls per 40 minutes. Burke will guard Cooper, and it's obviously obvious that Michigan needs Burke to not foul that much. He's done a great job this season of avoiding foul issues, and if things get hairy Beilein should be able to switch Douglass onto Cooper without creating a major matchup problem elsewhere, but I'd rather not spend large portions of the game tearing my hair out because Beilein refuses to leave anyone in the game who can remotely be described as being in foul trouble.

Okay, now work the pick-and-roll. An aggressive man defense like Ohio's means Michigan isn't going to create open jumpers simply by working the ball around the perimeter, so successfully taking advantage of defensive pressure via the screen is imperative. We'll see if the Bobcats comes out and hedge hard—I'd guess yes—and if they do, Jordan Morgan could be the key to this game. Ohio only has one decent shot-blocking presence and he's 6'7", 190 pounds; let Morgan slip the pick and see if anyone can stop him on the roll.

Good Hardaway. Please show up. Ohio's main perimeter players all check in at 6'3" or shorter, meaning Timmy should be able to shoot/jump right over these guys. The problem will be the temptation to shoot over them while standing still 25 feet away from the basket. With Ohio's propensity for steals and Hardaway's tendency to cough the ball up in traffic, it would be best if Michigan tried to work him off the ball and free him up that way instead of letting him try to create on his own.

Let Ohio's chuckers chuck. As long as it isn't coming from right next to the basket, any D.J. Cooper shot seems like a good one for Michigan. Offutt isn't a whole lot more efficient while the backup guards are simply not good at putting the ball through the basket. Meanwhile, Kellogg is rather deadly from beyond the arc and the Bobcats crash the boards well. The Wolverines would be best served denying Kellogg the ball while sagging off the other shooters, encouraging Ohio to settle for shooting from deep—Cooper seems to have no issue with that—and making sure they don't get killed on the glass.


Michigan by five.


Mr. Yost

March 12th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

I get we live in a culturally sensitive word...I get that they can't "play in" if they're already in.

So just call it the OPENING ROUND. That's what I do...then the first round is still the first round, and the second is still the seconding.

How can you have an opening round and a first round? Don't worry about it, just do it.


March 12th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

A 4 seed winning by 5 is way too close.  All top 4 seeds (top 16 teams) really should all win by 10+ and not have close calls.  Not sure why the prediction is so close- Ohio is not a very good team (as most 13s aren't).  No they aren't terrible- but if they give us a close game it will not bode well (although teams have had close calls and made runs- I feel that early close calls expose weaknesses and overseeding more than anythine else)


March 12th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

But they do get close calls. Annually

Look at last year, the four 4/13 games were decided by a total of 19 points

Wisco beat darling Belmont by 14, but the other games were UK over Princeton by 2, Texas over Oakland by 4 and Morehead, the 13, over Louisville by 1

And two years ago, 13 Murray beat 4 Vandy, Purdue beat Siena by 8 and Wisco beat Wofford by 4

And three years ago, 13 Cleveland St drilled Wake Forest by 15,

We're on a nice streak with one 13 seed pulling an upset three years running and of the 9 wins there have been plenty that went down to wire, decided by two possessions or less

This is a dangerous team Michigan drew and saying 4 seeds should always win by double digits is analysis right out the 1980s. It doesnt mesh with today's realities of the game.


March 12th, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

1985: Navy 78, LSU 55

1987: Xavier 70, Missouri 69; Southwest Missouri 65, Clemson 60

1988: Richmond 72, Indiana 69

1989: Middle Tennessee 97, Florida St. 83

Before 1985 there were only 48 teams. No 13-seed upsets back then. Other than that, it's always been this way.



March 12th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

Not a lot of blowouts, and two of the blowouts were upsets. Median is a 6-point win for the favorite.


Kentucky 59, Princeton 57

Texas 85, Oakland 81

Morehead St. 62, Louisville 61

Wisconsin 72, Belmont 58


Maryland 89, Houston 77

Murray St. 66, Vanderbilt 65

Wisconsin 53, Wofford 49

Purdue 72, Siena 64


Cleveland St. 84, Wake Forest 69

Washington 71, Mississippi St. 58

Xavier 77, Portland St. 59

Gonzaga 77, Akron 64


Washington St. 71, Winthrop 40

Siena 83, Vanderbilt 62

Pittsburgh 82, Oral Roberts 63

San Diego 70, Connecticut 69


March 12th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

His shuffle series and the like, may be the way to go here. OU plays hard denial on perimeter passes and there should be back doors aplenty to be had.


March 12th, 2012 at 2:07 PM ^


I cannot say for sure but let's consider for the moment that this Ohio school, unlike their “State” sibling, may actually provide students with an education.  I therefore respectfully suggest that the only nickname that fit's is none other than "The University of Ohio" or of course UofO.  And so from this day on, we have two schools down south:  “The University of Ohio” and their little brother “Ohio.”  


March 12th, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

Watched The Ohio University beat Akron on Saturday for the MAC title and they did look like an athletic team, plus they shot the ball pretty well.  This breakdown makes me breathe a little easier though, keep them off the offensive boards while they're chucking long shots and it should go well.


March 12th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

I watched OU's mac tournament games and I'd have to say that I disagree with Ace in the notion that it would be a good idea to let 'Coop' Cooper bomb away. The main reason Cooper's shooting numbers are lacking is because he has shot the ball almost 130 times more than anyone else on the team this season--a product of Cooper being the team's leader and go to scoring threat.


March 12th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

My Facebook feed was riddled with "I wonder what Hoke will call Ohio now derpderp?!" jokes as well. So I second the embracing of OU as "THE Ohio University."


March 12th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

Yeah, I dont think lettng DJ Cooper go off is a great idea. Harass him into a bad game and I doubt his teammates pick him up. But if Michigan allows Cooper to be the best player on the floor, then its going to be a crappy flight home for the team Friday night

True Blue Grit

March 12th, 2012 at 6:30 PM ^

is one of my favorite pics of all time.  For that reason alone, I'll always have respect for Ohio University as dumb as that sounds.  But this is an outstanding analysis of the game and I agree with the prediction.  Michigan will take care of business on Friday.