The Belmont Bruins play their first game as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference on Monday at home against the Ohio Bobcats, looking to replace much of the production they have had in recent seasons.
Ohio Bobcats vs Belmont Bruins (-6, 144.5)
The top scorer from last season, Ben Shepard, is back for Belmont after logging 16.2 points per game on 37.1% 3-point shooting, but he is the only returning player that averaged more than three points per game in 2021-22.
This new-look Bruins squad has to face an Ohio team coming off of a 25-win season with a revamped backcourt. Jaylin Hunter had 9.7 points, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game for Old Dominion a season ago and Devon Baker joins Ohio coming off a pedestrian 2021-22 season at Tulane, but had 15.9 points and 1.5 steals per game in three seasons prior at UNC Asheville.
Many of Ohio’s producers from a season ago are also gone, but the Bobcats get Dwight Wilson back after he averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for their 2021 NCAA Tournament team before missing the entire 2021-22 season.
The return of Wilson coupled with former top 150 recruit, as rated by 247Sports, Gabe Wiznitzer, who enters the program from Louisville, will help an Ohio team that was 210th in the country in rebound rate and spring an upset on a Belmont team that has far less returning talent than most seasons.
The Play: Ohio +6