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Ohio Plays Michigan Tomorrow in NCAA Tournament

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OHIOBOBCATS.COM T.J. Hall and the Bobcats play Michigan tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
T.J. Hall and the Bobcats play Michigan tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

March 15, 2012

NCAA Tournament Central

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CLEVELAND, OHIO - The Ohio University men's basketball team will take part in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years when it plays on Friday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The Bobcats are the No. 13 seed in the Midwest Region and they open with No. 4 Michigan at 6:20 CST (7:20 EST).

The Michigan-Ohio winner will advance to the third round to face the winner of No. 5 seed and No. 12 seed California/South Florida on Sunday (March 18) for a spot in the Midwest Region semifinals in St. Louis, Mo. Game times are TBA.

Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkal and Lewis Johnson will have the call on TNT, Brad Sham and Pete Gillen will have the radio call on Dial Global One/SiriusXM and as always, you can hear all the action as Voice of the Bobcats Russ Eisenstein will have the play-by-play call on the Citizens Banks IMG Ohio Sports Network with Rob Cornelius providing the color commentary.

The official Ohio University athletics watch party will be held at Buffalo Wild Wings on Union Street this Friday for the men's basketball team's trip to the NCAA Tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

Come cheer on the Bobcats as they take on Michigan. The watch party begins at 7 p.m. Fans who attend the watch party will be treated to drink specials and prizes.

Team autographed jerseys, basketballs and other fan gear will be raffled off to those in attendance.

The Bobcats punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament after it defeated Akron 64-63 in the 2012 MAC Championship title game. Ohio enters the tournament with a school-record 27-7 record.

BOBCAT NOTES
- This will be the 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament for Ohio as the Bobcats won their sixth Mid-
American Conference title since 1983
- The Bobcats have a 5-13 all-time record (lost a Regional Third Place Game in 1960) and will be making their second trip to the tournament under Head Coach John Groce
- Ohio's best finish in the NCAA Tournament was in 1964 when the Bobcats reached the regional finals and lost to Michigan, 69-57. The Green and White are 0-3 all-time against the Maize and Blue
- Since seeding was implemented at the NCAA Tournament, Ohio has been a double-digit seed every time, topping out as a No. 11 seed in 1983
- The only other time Ohio was a No. 13 seed, it lost to Florida in the 2005 First Round, 67-62. That game also took place in Nashville
- The Bobcats have also played a NCAA Tournament game in Knoxville, losing to Marquette in the 1972 First Round
- The state of Tennessee hasn't been kind to the Bobcats as their 2011 season ended with a loss at ETSU in the CIT. The Bobcats also lost to UT in the NCAA Tournament to close the 2010 campaign
- The Bobcats have 27 wins on the season, surpassing the previous single-season mark of 25 set by the 1993-94 team
- Ohio reached the 20-win mark faster than any other Bobcat team and for the 13th time in program history
- Ohio's 12-1 start to the season tied the best start for a program in team history, matching the 1920-21 and 1939-40 squads
- The Bobcats are fourth in the nation in steals per contest (9.4), fifth in the nation in turnover margin
(+4.4) and rank 13th nationally in guarding the perimeter (29.6%)
- Ohio is also excelling in turning its opponents over, ranking No. 1 in the nation in turnover percentage
according to KenPom's national standings (27.4%)
- This year's Bobcat team is ranked third all-time, limiting its opponents to 62.4 points per game. The 1983-84 team holds the record at 58.7 points per game
- Overall, the record for the Bobcats under Coach Groce when they are able to hold their opponents under 70 points is 60-19 (.759)
- When referring to the Bobcats, please use Ohio or Ohio University, not Ohio U or OU. Thank you!

A LOOK AT THE WOLVERINES
Michigan is 24-9 overall and posted a 13-5 record in Big Ten Conference play to claim a share of its first Big Ten title since 1986, a span of 26 years. The Wolverines' 24-9 record continues to be the best start for Michigan under fifth-year head coach John Beilein and marks the third 20-win season in the last four years. It marks the first time Michigan has earned back-to-back tournament berths since 1995 and `96.

Freshman guard Trey Burke was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year by the media, All-Big Ten second team from coaches and media, and a unanimous selection to the conference all-freshman team. He is averaging 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He has scored in double figures 28 times and broke U-M's 27-year-old record for freshman assists in a single season, previously held by U-M legend Gary Grant (140, 1984-85).

Senior guard Zack Novak, an All-Big Ten honorable mention is the second three-time captain in program history. Novak is averaging a career-best 9.5 points to go along with 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He garnered Academic All-America recognition and was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

CLUB CONNECTIONS
First, there's redshirt Junior Walter Offutt. Two seasons removed from playing basketball in Columbus for Ohio State University--a team familiar with its maize and blue rival. Offutt's familiarity extends to players on the team he played with in his home state of Indiana. He played high school and AAU ball with both Stu Douglass and Zack Novak.

Next, is freshman guard Stevie Taylor who made a name for himself in the Columbus area playing high school ball at Gahanna-Lincoln. While starring for the Lions, Taylor matched up many times against his friend and current Michigan freshman guard Trey Burke, a former high school star at Columbus Northland.

Lastly, there's Ohio sophomore guard Nick Kellogg, who's dad, Clark, starred for Ohio State's basketball team from 1979-82. Obviously being born and raised a Buckeye, there's plenty of familiarity and not much love, for Michigan.

OHIO'S MAC AWARDS
Ohio's D.J. Cooper was named to the All-MAC First Team for the second year in a row while Walter Offutt and Ivo Baltic were also honored as the league announced its postseason award selections for the 2011-12 season.

Cooper, a two-time MAC Player of the Week this season, became the first two-time First Team selection from Ohio since Jerome Tillman (`07, `09) and consecutive first-team choice since Brandon Hunter did it three times (`01-03).

Cooper recorded the first triple-double Ohio history when he recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a win at Portland. The Chicago native also made the Cousy Award Watch List for a second year in a row and was selected as one of 20 finalists for this year's honor.

Baltic and Offutt were each honored for the first time by the league. Offutt was MAC Player of the Week after scoring 23 points in a win at Buffalo. The redshirt junior finished among the top 10 in the MAC in steals and top 15 in scoring.

Baltic scored 22 in a win at Northern Iowa and also scored 20 in a home win against Miami. The junior finished among the top 15 in the league in field goal percentage and the top 20 in rebounding. This marks the second-consecutive year that Ohio received three postseason awards from the MAC.

20-10 CLUB
When Ohio won its 20th game of the season, the Bobcats became the first team from the Mid-American Conference to reach that mark. This season on the gridiron, Ohio Football won 10 games for the first time since 1968 and captured the first bowl win in school history.

Currently, only 11 other Division 1 schools can boast a 10-win football team and a 20-win basketball team (Alabama, Baylor, BYU, Cincinnati, Kansas State, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Southern Mississippi, Stanford and Wisconsin).

Only five teams in Division I-A athletics have won 10-or-more games in football and 25-or-more games in men's basketball this season. Ohio University is one of those five. In addition, Ohio is the first school in the Mid-American Conference history to accomplish these feats in the same season.

COOPER'S CAREER MARKS
Cooper broke the all-time assists mark against Kent State two weeks ago, a record that had stood since 1990 (Dennis Whitaker, 651). The junior also owns Ohio's top two single season marks (263 in 10-11, 218 in 2009-10) and led the league in helpers the past two seasons. He currently ranks 26th in the nation with an average of 5.7 per contest.

Cooper is also one of 33 1,000-point scorers in Ohio history. His 495 points this season have seen him move past former teammates DeVaughn Washington and Tommy Freeman, as well as Fred Moore, Lewis Geter, Frankie Baumholtz, John Canine, Bunk Adams, Jerry Jackson, Don Hilt, Sonny Troutman, Kirk Lehman, Gerald McKee, Vic Alexander, Robert Tatum, Curtis Simmons, Sanjay Adell, Steve Esterkamp, Tim Joyce and John Devereaux with 1,545 career points. He now ranks 10th all-time.

His 256 steals currently rank him second all-time as he passed former `Cats Paul Graham and Dennis Whitaker this season. Cooper now trails only all-time leader Sonny Troutman's Ohio record, 259. Cooper also owns the single-season mark in that category (93 in 2009-10) and currently ranks 12th nationally with an average of 2.4 steals per game.