ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio men's basketball team's 2018 Mid-American Conference schedule has been released, as announced by the Mid-American Conference on Thursday (Sept. 7).
Ohio will play 18 MAC games over 10 weeks (nine home, nine away) this season. The Bobcats will play seven teams (five in division, two cross division) twice and four (cross division) teams once. This year's additional cross-divisional games (one home, one away) were randomly selected.
The Bobcats will open MAC play in Mount Pleasant, Mich., against Central Michigan on Jan. 2. Ohio will be seeking its first road victory over the Chippewas since an 82-63 win on Feb. 13, 2013.
Ohio continues its string of games against West Division opponents when it plays host to back-to-back home games against Northern Illinois (Jan. 6) and Ball State (Jan. 9) at the Convocation Center. The Bobcats earned a pair of big road wins over the Huskies and Cardinals last year, with Ohio prevailing, 78-69, on Jan. 21, 2017, in DeKalb, Ill., and posting a 79-77 triumph on Feb. 10, 2017, in Muncie, Ind.
The Bobcats will then head to northeast Ohio to clash with East Division rival Kent State in a nationally televised Friday night matchup on Jan. 12 on CBS Sports Network. Ohio split the 2017 regular season series against the Golden Flashes, with the Bobcats rolling to an 85-67 win on Jan. 6, 2017 in Athens, but falling by a 70-67 count in Kent on Feb. 25, 2017.
Ohio welcomes Toledo back to the Convo on Jan. 16 before back-to-back road games at Eastern Michigan (Jan. 20) and Akron (Jan. 23). The Bobcats' last home win over the Rockets came on Feb. 1, 2014 -- a 95-90 victory for Ohio. Ohio earned a hard-fought 79-71 win in its last trip to Ypsilanti, Mich., on Feb. 14, 2017. The contest at Akron will mark the first time Ohio faces its former head coach, John Groce, who begins his first year in the Zips' bench in 2017-18.
The Bobcats return to Athens to host a nationally televised Friday night game against East Division rival Buffalo (Jan. 26) that will be showcased on CBS Sports Network.
After a road trip to Bowling Green (Jan. 30), Ohio hosts Central Michigan (Feb. 3) and Akron (Feb. 6) to open up the second month of MAC play. The Bobcats swept the 2017 regular season series from the Falcons, with Ohio recording a 96-72 win at Bowling Green on Jan. 28 and a 95-75 victory on Feb. 18 in Athens. In Akron's last visit to the Convo, Ohio came away with a big 85-70 triumph on Feb. 4, 2017.
The Bobcats will visit Western Michigan (Feb. 10) and Toledo (Feb. 13) to close out their MAC West portion of the schedule. In Ohio's last trip to the Glass City on Jan. 26, 2016, the Bobcats pulled out an 81-79 win. Three of Ohio's next four games will be played at home against East Division rivals, with Miami (Feb. 17), Kent State (Feb. 20) and Bowling Green (Feb. 27) coming to town. The Bobcats will play a road game at Buffalo on Feb. 24. Ohio picked up a thrilling 74-72 win over the Bulls in its last trip to Amherst, N.Y., on Jan. 10, 2017.
Ohio closes out the 2018 MAC regular season slate with a trip to Oxford to square off against Miami (March 2). The Bobcats swept the 'Battle of the Bricks' from the RedHawks for the second year in a row in 2017, tallying a 79-62 win in Oxford on Feb. 21 and a 69-55 victory on March 3 in Athens to close out the 2016-17 regular season.
The 2018 MAC Basketball Tournament will once again be held at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. This year's tournament will begin on March 5 with first round games on campus before moving to Cleveland (March 8-10). The tournament semifinal games will once again air on CBS Sports Network, while the title game will be played on Saturday, March 10 on ESPN2. Ohio will be looking to earn in its seventh MAC tournament crown in program history and first since 2012.
The winner of the 2018 MAC Basketball Tournament will earn the league's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship field. Selection Sunday is March 11, 2018. The First Four games will be played March 13-14 in Dayton, Ohio. First and Second Round action will take place March 15-18 in Pittsburgh, Wichita, Dallas, Boise, Charlotte, Detroit, Nashville and San Diego. The West and South Regionals will be held March 22 and 24 in Los Angeles and Atlanta, respectively, while the Midwest and East Regionals will take place March 23 and 25 in Omaha and Boston, respectively. The 2018 NCAA Final Four is slated for March 31 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The national title game is scheduled for April 2. CBS Sports and Turner Sports will televise the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
Ohio's 2017 non-conference schedule was announced last month. The Bobcats will play in front of their fans for the first time on Nov. 4 with a home exhibition game against Capital. Ohio opens the regular season on Nov. 11 against Alabama A&M.
Ohio is coming off a 20-11 (11-7 MAC) 2016-17 season in which it recorded 20 overall wins for the second year in a row and achieved a second-straight 11-win conference campaign. The Bobcats locked down the No. 2 seed in the 2017 MAC Tournament presented by VisitMyrtleBeach.com for the second year in a row, earning a bye to the quarterfinals. Ohio topped No. 7-seeded Toledo in the quarters, 67-66, before falling to No. 6-seed and eventual tournament champion Kent State, 68-66, in the league semifinals.
Ohio enters its fourth season under the direction of head coach Saul Phillips in 2017-18. Phillips has led the Bobcats to 53 wins over the past three seasons.
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