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Bowling Green Falcons at Ball State Cardinals: Preview, How to Watch, Listen and the Line.

Both teams are looking for their first conference win early in the MAC season

Michael Huger (Jan. 12th 2016) - Kaleb Carter
Michael Huger (Jan. 12th 2016) - Kaleb Carter

Bowling Green dropped their first game of the conference schedule to Akron. That was expected, but the closeness of the game was not. At least to some. After taking over the Falcons after a tumultuous off-season a year ago, Coach Huger has been building the program up. They started off slow this season, but have been playing much better as of late.

The key to the Falcons problems is their inability to score. Going into the season, I thought size was going to be the problem. They are one of the shortest teams I have ever seen at this level. However, Demajeo Wiggins is becoming a force in the paint, and the guards are doing a good job rebounding. They just weren’t putting the ball in the basket.

Lately, they have been, thus the close game to Akron, and the 6-4 record over their last 10. Other than the 5 point loss to Akron, 2 of those losses in that stretch were by a combined 4 points. While not quite there, Bowling Green can taste being a good MAC basketball team.

Wiggins is one of the most compelling stories this MAC season, at least for me. I have seen teams come and go. I have never seen a player go from 37% to the low 70s in free throw percentage, ever. Let alone from one season to the next. Earlier in the season, Wiggins was over 80%. Maybe someone told him you shouldn’t be able to do that. That person should be fired. Luckily for me, if it was me, Hustle Belt pays me in Hustle Belt coins and Row the Boat tee-shirts, which aren’t trading very well at the moment.

The problem for BGSU is that when you look at their roster, there is no good place for the scoring to come from. Wiggins is great, but raw. Alcegaire is streaky. He can shoot from outside, but it’s not consistent in any way, shape or form(to be clear, he lacks form). His driving to the basket can be, but without a fear of the jumper, it’s spotty, at best. Zack Denny can put some points up, but ya, no. Not a main scorer. The kid, Dylan Frye, has been coming on as of late, but he is a freshman, and he looks like it. His future looks bright, but he isn’t going to come in and carry a team to the championship like ‘Mello.

So that’s my summary of Bowling Green to date. Decent. Get some points, really good or better.

Ball State is a different story. They are polished and good and have a lot of pieces I like. They’ll probably hit 20 wins again, like they did last season. Much better than the 13 wins they had the previous 2 seasons, combined. James Whitford has them going in the right direction. That being said, nothing really stands out.

I really love the play of Franko House. If you just look at stats, you will say, man, that’s a good player. He is a great player. He does a lot of the little stuff that makes a team go. Francis Kiapway, who is a streaky good player, is averaging 7.9 points a game. SEVEN Cardinals are averaging more than him this year.

A lot of good, but that doesn’t always make great. They lost their last game partly because Kent State set the MAC record, going 31-31 from the free throw line. Kent State is a good team, and it just didn’t go the Cardinals way. In fact, that’s where I would put the Cardinals, right about where where Kent State is. Second tier MAC. The Cardinals are a tough out, but not unbeatable.

That being said, if they get the right combination, or some momentum or whatever, they could be MAC title good.

So there we are. These two teams with potential. I want to know what happens. It should be a great game, where I think Ball State’s size makes the difference. Their bigs are athletic enough to compete with the Bowling Green guards for long rebounds. That’s why I give Ball State the edge today.

When: Sat. 1/7/17 at 1pm

Watch: ESPN3

Listen: Wfro Eagle 99

Line: Ball State -6