DISCLAIMER: I don’t expect any students to skip High Fest for Ohio’s second-round CIT matchup against Wright State on Saturday. I wouldn’t expect students to skip Fest Season for any OU athletic event. To be honest, I won’t even be attending. But every Ohio University student should be pulling for the Bobcats on Saturday, and if they play another home game, the Convo should be packed. Here’s why:
It’s the last chance to see one of the most successful classes in Bobcat history: Nick Kellogg, T.J. Hall and Ricardo Johnson are all seniors. Outside of Stevie Taylor, they are the last links to John Groce’s Bobcats. These are the same guys that shared a MAC regular season title, won a MAC Tournament, defeated rival Miami seven straight times and made a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament. Every home game this team has left is a blessing. Why not take advantage?
Bragging rights: Ohio and EMU are the only MAC schools that have advanced in their post-season tournament. Western Michigan got embarrassed by Syracuse during its chance to shine. Buffalo was too proud to even accept a bid to the tournament. Akron lost to IPFW. Who? Ohio may not have been able to capture a MAC Tournament Title this year, but if they keep winning, they can crown themselves kings of the postseason.
Down the road, it will matter: No fan base wants to see their team play in the NIT, much less the CIT. But think about what a CIT Championship will do down the road for the Bobcats. Only four teams out of 300+ have a chance to end their season with a post-season tournament win. People are going to take notice. If Ohio clinches a championship and finds itself on the bubble next year against another mid-major, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is going to know the Bobcats can win in March. Think that will boost OU’s chances of getting a berth? You bet.
Who cares about Jon Smith: Earlier this week, senior forward Jon Smith cleaned out his locker and left for Columbus. He won’t be returning. All Jim Christian would say is that Smith willingly chose to stop playing. We may never get the full story, but it doesn’t matter. Like I mentioned earlier, every game this team has left is a gift. If Smith wants to throw that away, fine. Antonio Campbell stepped right in for him on Monday and won the game. This team is already over the loss of Smith. It’s time for the rest of Bobcat nation to follow suit.
Why not: If Ohio is going to keep playing, why not keep winning? If Ohio keeps winning, why not jump on the bandwagon. At the very least, a championship would give Bobcats another excuse to party. That’s something everyone can get behind.