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Previewing Ohio Bobcats Men's Basketball with Kaleb Carter of Hustle Belt

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I talked to Kaleb, he talked to me, you know the drill.

Bull Run: Simmons. How dangerous is he? Does he do more taking over, or more melding in and making everyone better?

Kaleb Carter, Hustle Belt: Jaaron Simmons is super dangerous. He sees so much that he sometimes sees things that should be there that aren't. Some of those produce turnover situations, and he'll have time to improve on that. In the meantime, Simmons honestly might help Ohio be taking over and pushing the issue even more. Coach Phillips seems to think that Simmons needs to do so and try to get to the hoop more frequently. He's doing an excellent job already of making others better.

BR: My impression of Ohio is that they have a handful of big talent and a good amount of undeveloped potential right now. Is that accurate? Preseason I had them pegged as top-three in the conference, and the improvement hasn't been that swift.

KC: Offensively this team is quite talented. The undeveloped talent aspect is true of several guys, though we've seen glimpses from the likes of Dartis (already an integral part of the lineup) Gavin Block, and Ryan Taylor. Even Mike Laster, who actually wasn't too productive a starter last season, is coming along. Ohio has the talent to be a top 3 team in the conference. This squad needs to get a heck of a lot better at defending the 3-point line and being physical around the hoop.

BR: Away from the players, schemewise, how does Ohio win? What do they do best?

KC: I think this team is at its best when it is getting Antonio Campbell the ball down low, when they're operating effectively out of the high screen and roll with shooters at and down past the wings making buckets, and when players like Block, Setty, and Dartis make valuable contributions. If Campbell isn't getting buckets, the Bobcats often find themselves struggling.

BR: Given that, what's the vibe around Saul? I can tell you as a BC alum I'm not too thrilled with Christian right now, but that's a diversion.

KC: Ha oh gosh BC is hot garbage right now aren't they? No matter. I remember how amazingly stoked we were to get Saul at first, and now it's more mellowed out. Ohio fans realize he can be successful when he gets his guys, and its pretty obvious that this team could be even the best in the MAC in a short time given the talent it has. Saul is an extremely likable (and quotable) guy, the thing that Saul has to answer to is getting this team consistent and playing better on ball defense.

BR: Ohio's got two games against UB bookending a pretty easy stretch, and one obviously comes without having to face Bearden. What do you think are their odds of catching a MAC West team or two and passing a banged-up Kent State to make a run for a bye?

KC: Well, given Bearden's troubles, we'll see if that manifests. I can definitely see Ohio making that run and maturing at the right time (NOW). Ohio grabbed a tough win in Muncie that said a lot about this squad's maturity, and it wouldn't surprise me to see the 'Cats run off wins against the likes of Buffalo, EMU, Miami, BG and Buffalo again.

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I forgot to ask for a prediction. To be fair, he forgot to ask me, as well.