Coming off of an offseason where the head coach was fired, multiple players had seemingly left the program, and verbal commitments backed out, many involved with the Bowling Green program wondered just what the state of the program was. In the end, a good head coach was hired, only two players left the program and there seems to be a general excitement about next year.
The momentum towards next season continued with the release of the non-conference schedule, which includes some less-than high-profile opponents and one NCAA Tournament qualifier. It's a good schedule for a first-time head coach and a program coming off all of the drama of this offseason.
November 14th - New Orleans
Last Season Record: 11-18
Ken Pom Ranking: 309
Key Players: G Christavious Gill (12.3 points per game), F Kevin Hill (10.6 points, 6.7 rebounds), G Nate Frye (10.3 points)
The Huger era formally kicks off against New Orleans, who dropped out of Division 1 basketball from 2010-2012 but are now back as a member of the Southland Conference. The Privateers lack size, as only Travin Thibodeaux played meaningful minutes for those players on the roster that were listed at 6-foot-7 or taller. Bowling Green doesn't have a lot of size either, so this should be a good test for the first game.
November 18th - Cincinnati
Last Season Record: 23-11
Ken Pom Ranking: 34
Key Players: F Octavius Ellis (9.9 points, 7.2 rebounds), Troy Caupain (9.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists), G Farad Cobb (8.5 points)
It's safe to say that it was a little shocking to see Bowling Green be able to reel in a big-time program like Cincinnati to come to play at the Stroh Center. The Bearcats have reached the 20-win plateau in each of the past five seasons, and are primed to do it again this year. After winning a game in the NCAA Tournament over Purdue before falling to Kentucky, Cincinnati is being looked at as a bubble Top 25 team this year. This was an incredibly balanced team, with no player averaging over ten points per game.
November 21st - 23rd - Florida Gulf Coast Classic
Florida Gulf Coast
Last Season Record: 22-11
Ken Pom Ranking: 200
Key Players: G Julian DeBose (11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds), F Marc-Eddy Norelia (8.3 points, 5.2 rebounds)
The darlings of the 2013 NCAA Tournament haven't been able to replicate that ultra-successful season, but they've still been able to nab 20 wins in each of the two seasons since that magical Sweet Sixteen run. The Eagles lose leading scorers Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson along with Jamail Jones from last year's team. Those three accounted for over 56 percent of FGCU's scoring from last year. With a ton of new faces, Bowling Green could have a pretty good shot at knocking them off, especially with this game being so early in the season.
Last Season Record: 8-22
Ken Pom Ranking: 317
Key Players: G Quinton Hooker (12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists), C Carson Shanks (6.3 points, 3.6 rebounds)
These two schools actually have a bit of a history with each other, as both teams held serve on their home court during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons. Bowling Green should be able to handle a thin North Dakota team.
Last Season Record: 11-21
Ken Pom Ranking: 279
Key Players: F Bobby Hain (14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds), G Cameron Morse (6 points)
It's funny that Bowling Green will travel all the way to Florida to play a team located just 170 miles away from campus. The Penguins will probably be down for another year after five players transferred from last year's team. If Bowling Green can go at least 2-1 in this tournament, I think they'd have to be pretty happy with that.
November 29th - Urbana
Last Season Record: 6-23
Ken Pom Ranking: N/A
Key Players: G Carlas Jackson (13.3 points), Mike Newton (12 points)
A 6-23 Division 2 team? Ugh.
December 2nd - UMBC
Last Season Record: 4-26
Ken Pom Ranking: 344
Key Players: F Cody Joyce (13.4 points, 5.8 rebounds), Jourdan Grant (8.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4 assists)
The Terriers were one of the worst teams in Division 1 last year, winning only four games. The last time the team won over 10 games was the 2008-2009 season. This should be a cakewalk.
December 5th - Drake
Last Season Record: 9-22
Ken Pom Ranking: 258
Key Players: G Reed Timmer (11.5 points), C Jacob Jensen (8.5 points, 5.8 rebounds)
Bowling Green beat Drake in Iowa 77-58 to open the season last year, and should beat them again this season. Timmer and Jensen are the only two returnees that averaged over four points per game last season.
December 8th - at Southeast Missouri State
Last Season Record: 13-17
Ken Pom Ranking: 227
Key Players: G Antonius Cleveland (10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds), G Isiah Jones (9.7 points, 3.1 rebounds)
The Falcons beat the Redhawks 62-54 last year at the Stroh Center, and this game is the return trip. While they lose their top two scorers in Jarekious Bradley and Nino Johnson, road games are never easy.
December 12th - at Detroit
Last Season Record: 15-18
Ken Pom Ranking: 188
Key Players: G/F Paris Bass (12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds), G Anton Wilson (8.5 points, 3.3 rebounds)
The Titans have had two down years after putting up back-to-back 20 win seasons and an NCAA Tournament appearance. The Falcons beat Detroit 64-63 last season and will look to do the same this year at Calihan Hall. The Falcons could be a little road-weary from this one, as it would be their second straight road game in a week.
December 20th - at Wright State
Last Season Record: 11-20
Ken Pom Ranking: 250
Key Players: F JT Yoho (15.6 points, 6.4 rebounds), G Joe Thomasson (10 points, 5.5 rebounds)
Wright State fell back to Earth last year after two straight 20-win seasons. It could be another down year in Dayton, as the Raiders lose two starters from last year's team. Bowling Green beat Wright State 70-55 last season at the Stroh Center, and should be able to take care of business again.
December 23rd - at Cleveland State
Last Season Record: 19-15
Ken Pom Ranking: 79
Key Players: G Andre Yates (6 points)
As stated in the Kent State schedule analysis, Cleveland State was hit the hardest this offseason. The Vikings lost their top two leading scorers to transfer, had another key reserve transfer and their third leading scorer graduated. This is a shell of a team right now, and could be at the bottom of the Horizon League.
December 31st - Texas-Rio Grande Valley
Last Season Record: 10-21
Ken Pom Ranking: 342
Key Players: F Janari Joessar (16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds), F Shaquille Hines (12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds)
No this is not a new school - just one with a new name. What was once Texas-Pan American is not UT-RGV, which fits a little more with the school's geography. This was a bad team last year, and probably will be this year even though Joessar and Hines are good players. There isn't a lot of quality depth on this squad, and should be a nice victory for BG going into conference play.