Who: Miami Redhawks vs. Bowling Green Falcons
Where: Stroh Center - Bowling Green, OH
When 7:00 p.m.
It's an old storyline. Two teams. They both have something to prove. One squad is at the bottom of the MAC in many minds and has a coach who has yet to achieve the type of success that fans yearn for. Another is coming off a successful season in which it lost major talent.
Nearly half of the college basketball season is gone, but the Miami RedHawks and Bowling Green basketball both want to say a lot with their on-court performance in conference play.
The RedHawks venture north to put themselves and their 6-7 record to the test. The 'Hawks have yet to win a road game this season and come in riding a three-game losing streak. A 1-point loss on the road to Dayton two weeks ago is the type of game that Miami can build its confidence on. Miami shot about 25 percent better from the field in the first half and actually did a better job on the glass than the Flyers before a late jumper did them in. Miami put in a respectable performance at Xavier as well, losing by just 9 points.
The best win that Coach John Cooper's team sports coming in is probably the 67-61 win over Northeastern, a nice team that should compete for a conference title in the Colonial Athletic Association.
In his weekly press conference Cooper noted that his team has to do a better job of forcing turnovers, pulling down rebounds, and knocking down more of the good looks that its getting from the floor. The quickness of Eric Washington and Geovanie McKnight on offense and defense will prove crucial to the success of the 'Hawks. Watch out for big man LJ Livingston. He could play big minutes.
Miami has for several years sported a guard-centric lineup that has struggled to put up points around the bucket and grab boards. It does however, help to have some quick-footed guards and wings that can stay in front of opposing offenses. To win, Miami will need to bring a focus and energy from the opening-tip, deny easy access to the BG halfcourt offense and keep the Falcons out of rhythm. Do that and the Falcons may struggle to score.
Bowling Green Falcons
Bowling Green is still establishing its identity. In his first year the helm of the Falcons, Michael Huger has his team playing better than even BG fanatics could have imagined.
BG has won two consecutive games after two poor losses, one to a Detroit team where defense was hard to come by, and another to a Wright State team that is surging. The Falcons picked a bad time to play one of its worse games of the season in that latter contest, as the Raiders wiped the floor with them in the second half.
Still, BG is 9-4 and is 5-1 in the Stroh Center. It comes in led by Zack Denny and Spencer Parker, both of whom average 13.4 points per game and combine for...get this...13.4 rebounds per game. A nice game from these two and the assistance of someone like big guy Rasheed Worrell could be big.
The Falcons are going to need to be able to penetrate gaps, take advantage of kickouts to hit open, easy shots, and play some back-to-the-hoop ball with Spencer Parker playing in the post a bit.