Tuesday night the Western Michigan Broncos play host to the Bowling Green Falcons in a cross-division MAC battle. The Falcons come in at 12-7 (3-3), but have lost their last two games - both at home, to Toledo and Kent State. Western is 1-1 in their last two, losing to Ohio last Tuesday, but beating Buffalo by a 91-71 margin on Saturday. That brings Western to an 8-11 (2-4) record on the year.
Bowling Green's offense this year has been dominated by senior forward Spencer Parker and junior guard Zack Denny, who are scoring 14.2 and 13.2 points per game respectively. Denny, however, is coming off a 0-7 shooting night on Saturday against Kent State, his first scoreless game of the year. The Broncos will no doubt look to continue to contain Denny. And if Denny does go cold again, the Falcons will need Parker to have a big night.
While BGSU is in a bit of a slide, Western is coming off arguably its most impressive win of the season. In it's big win over Buffalo, junior Tucker Haymond had a career night, scoring 27 points, going 9-14 from the floor. Haymond also hit 26 points this year in an overtime win against Northeastern back in December. Every time Haymond has scored 20+ points this season, he's scored at least 15 in the next game, so we'll see if Haymond can extend that trend.
Sophomore guard Thomas Wilder was also solid against Buffalo, putting down 20 points. It's going to be tough for the Falcons to defend Wilder, who's scored at least 20 points in all but one MAC game this year.
Bowling Green may have to rely on their assist leader to help regenerate the squad's offense. Sophomore guard Ismail Ali is averaging 4.0 assists per game and has 10 in his last two games. The Falcons have to find a way to utilize Ali's assists more efficiently.
Both teams have a lot to play for Tuesday night. Can the Broncos win and hopefully get back on track, staying competitive in conference play? Western has not exactly been consistent this year, so that's tough to say. Or do the Falcons take this opportunity to right the ship and not drop a third straight MAC game? BGSU won their last two road MAC games, so it's certainly not out of the question that they could win in Kalamazoo.
Whatever happens, you can watch this game streaming on ESPN3, tipoff at 7:00 PM Eastern.