How fitting that rivals Kent State and Bowling Green are set to meet at the M.A.C. Center to open conference play on Wednesday night. Adding to the excitement for the Falcons and Golden Flashes is the fact that both teams are playing as well or even better this season than many expected. At 9-4 and 8-3 respectively, Kent and BG have displayed excellence and are playing in a game with important MAC East implications right from the get-go.
The Golden Flashes come in at 5-2 at home, with their lone losses coming in close contests against Yale and Loyola University Chicago. KSU has benefitted from solid guard play and exemplary shooting from behind the arc, where the team is shooting 38 percent (good for third in the MAC) and is knocking down 7.5 of 'em a game, with Devareaux Manley, Kris Brewer, and Derek Jackson hitting 87 percent of them. BG is limiting teams to just over 30 percent from 3-point land.
Jimmy Hall has been one of the more positive surprises in the MAC this season, and comes in sporting averages of 14.1 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per contest, both tops on the team. Hall had a successful first half limiting the effectiveness of Perry Ellis in the Kansas game, and will have him hands full with Richaun Homes.
Holmes comes in having been a wrecking ball of low-post brutality with 28 points, 14 boards, and eight blocks in his last two games (wins over Chicago State and South Florida). Before that, the Falcons fell in quite the surprising loss to Ferris State, but Holmes still impressed with 26 points and nine rebounds. Holmes comes in leading the Falcons in points (14.0 a game), and boards (8.7 a game, good for second best in the conference). BG will need contributions from the consistent increasingly consistent Zack Denny and Jehvon Clarke who has put up at least 10 points in six of his last seven times out.
In what could very well may be a nail-biter, BG is shooting 10 percent better from the free throw line than Kent, who sits at dead last in the conference at 59 percent from the line.
The matchup of Hall and Holmes will be worth keeping a close eye on in the M.A.C. Center Wednesday night. And it could prove to be one of the more meaningful early matchups of the conference slate.