FORT WAYNE – The Ohio University Bobcats are 24-11 this season, finished 11-7 in the Mid-American Conference and, among their signature victories, beat NCAA tournament team Mercer 76-67, and they beat Cleveland State 64-62 at home to move to the second round of the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament.
Got all that?
Good. Now forget all that.
Forget it, because the IPFW Mastodons (25-10) will not be playing the Bobcats at Athens, Ohio, today in the second round of the CIT. They’ll be playing the VMI Keydets in Lexington, Va., 271 miles farther east, thanks to a scheduling switcheroo in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
The Mastodons were about four hours past their first-round knockout of Akron and the coaching staff was starting to dive into Ohio when the call came down about 1 a.m. IPFW coach Tony Jasick wasn’t sure why the change was made, except that there might have been a couple of facility issues with teams that won later Wednesday.
Welcome to postseason basketball, at least as it’s formatted in the CIT.
Because the field is reseeded after every round, the winners have no real clue who they’re going to play next until well, in this case, until 1 o’clock Thursday morning.
Here’s the good news in that: IPFW, a well-grounded team that’s lost two games in a row only twice all season, has been pretty adept at rolling with these sorts of punches.
I think so, Jasick said. I think this team is pretty even-keeled. At the end of the day, there was no emotional reaction to the change from last night. They read on Twitter or in the paper that they were going to play Ohio, and learned this morning they were going to play VMI and it was, OK.’ At this point in the season, your habits are formed by this time. So hopefully we can rely on what got us here.
What got them to today was a superb offensive night against Akron, in which the Mastodons shot 60 percent, made 12 3s in 22 attempts and had seven players score nine or more points. Five made it to double figures, led by Luis Jacobo with 23.
Offensively we played as well as I think we’re capable of, Jasick said.
Defensively, IPFW will be challenged by VMI, a 20-12 team that’s 13-2 at home and averages 88.4 points, which is No. 1 in the country. The Keydets beat Canisius 111-100 in Buffalo, N.Y., in the opening round of the tournament.
They really, really want to play fast, Jasick said. They do a really good job in transition. They shoot a lot of 3s, and they make a lot of 3s. Without question, our transition defense will be tested.
That, and their even keel.
The preparation is the same although the opponent is different, Jasick said. I think the habits you’ve developed during the course of the season, that’s what you rely on.