The "narrative" of a sports team is a very weird thing to write about, even for a beat writer comfortably detached from the coaches and athletes. We want to believe that factors beyond the X's and O's of the actual sporting event were reasons for the outcomes. It's why we get Brett Favre having a Monday Night Football to remember after his father passed away. It's Penn State football playing Ohio and losing after Joe Paterno's death and Jerry Sandusky's sentencing.
We try to frame outcomes as metaphors, and in most cases that's probably not what happens. Sometimes teams just play better or worse on a given night. It's a humbling sport, but the ball is round, shooting requires precision and sometimes coaching adjustments make the difference. It can strip out the romanticization in a sports story, which can sell newspapers and pageviews, but ultimately there's not more reason.
But I'll admit I was curious to see how BGSU would play on the same day the program received some unwanted exposure, despite controlling the PR message to the Blade and Sentinel-Tribune yesterday. When Ali Mann had a relationship with a student in the program, other persons within the organization either had to know about it or at least suspected as much. And then there's the person, whoever it is, who may or may not remain with the program. Of course, this wasn't news to them today — this was the third game without Mann on the sidelines for them.
So the Buffalo game was merely "the first" for the rest of us, looking at the program with a critical eye, continually realizing that they're not all perfect. (And they're a game behind in the MAC West standings with five conference losses. So we know they're not perfect.)
This game wasn't pretty. Both teams shot 33 percent or worse for the game, and everybody took a ton of 3-point attempts (42 combined), only about a quarter of which actually went in. There were a total of 34 made baskets and 31 turnovers. It was just a slog.
It was also ugly when regarding Alexis Rogers' nose, when she was limited to just six minutes when she re-aggravated an injury sustained earlier this month, when she broke her nose in a game against ... Buffalo. It's probably just as scurrilous to say that UB was targeting Rogers' nose than it is to say Mann's resignation affected the on-court play.
But winning ugly has been a staple of the Miller-Roos era and continues to stand tall. A team won't always shoot 50 percent from the field and go on 10-0 runs to put away games. And here you go with another example. As for the rest of the season, they play the two bottom teams in the MAC — Ohio and Kent State — who are a combined 2-26 in conference play. But the problem is they're tied with Akron and one game behind Miami. The RedHawks own the head-to-head tiebreaker with BGSU. If Akron beats Miami on Saturday and they're tied in a 3-way battle, Akron would win that tiebreaker. They may hold a tiebreaker over Akron depending on if CMU has a better record than Miami. But this all demonstrates just how messy the final two games are going to be, and the Falcons are likely staring at a potential 5- or 6-seed.