Davidson and Ohio face off in the opener of the Legends of Basketball Showcase. Who has the edge in this matchup?
TV schedule: Saturday, December 30th, 1:30 pm ET, ESPN+
Arena: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio
The first matchup of the Legends of Basketball triple-header is Davidson and Ohio, two teams looking to compete in their respective leagues. The home team, Ohio (6-5), is coming off three straight losses to D-I opponents, including a 71-67 setback to Austin Peay on the road.
The Bobcats are a balanced unit, with all five starters averaging at least 9.0 ppg. Senior guard Jaylin Hunter leads the way with 14.6 ppg and 4.8 apg, while forward AJ Clayton (11.5 ppg and 6.2 rpg is the key frontcourt option. Coach Jeff Boals once again has a good offense, averaging over 80 ppg and plays at a fast pace.
Davidson (9-3) has been a nice surprise in the Atlantic 10, currently on a six-game win streak. The latest victory was a 62-59 decision at home over South Carolina Upstate, led by 14 pts and 5 asts from Grant Huffman. He's been the team's best player thus far, averaging 11.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 5.3 apg. Forward David Skogman led the Wildcats in scoring at 13.0 ppg.
Both teams are fairly balanced on offense so whoever goes for 20+ points should put their team at a nice advantage. They're also fairly average in terms of shooting as well, making this an even matchup. The one difference is that Davidson plays better defense against solid competition, including allowing just 65 ppg on the season.
On paper, Davidson should have the advantage but look for the local Bobcats to have more of a crowd in their favor. I have a feeling that it'll be a close matchup but in the end, the A-10 will get the first win over the MAC on Saturday.
Prediction: Davidson 70, Ohio 65