The Western Michigan Broncos and the Bowling Green Falcons take the court this Saturday, live from Ohio. Both teams are seriously struggling at this point in the season, with the Falcons dropping four in a row and the Broncos losing their last three. In fact, the last win for BGSU was against Western back on January 26. But hey, somebody will snap that streak this weekend. Yay!
The Bronco offense was, well, awful in its last game, 44-45 loss to Miami. The team shot just 31.1% on the night. Western's leading scorer, Thomas Wilder, shot just 3-11, but all three baskets were from three-point range. As a team, the Broncos were just 5-23 from beyond the arc. It seems like WMU's ineptness is a combination of poor shooting and good defense from opponents, but regardless the Broncos have to get their confidence back on the offensive side of the court. And the Broncos have to rely on more than Wilder and Tucker Haymond for offense, who are scoring 18.4 and 16.2 points per game, respectively. Cleary other Broncos need to step up.
The Falcons, while still coming off an 83-68 loss to Akron, having been shooting the ball pretty well (from inside the three-point line anyway). BGSU shot 48.1% in its last outing, and surprise, surprise, Spencer Parker led the way in scoring (with 23 points). Parker will probably be the focus of Western's defensive strategy.
Parker was relatively quiet the last time Western and BGSU played back in January though. Wesley Alcegaire topped the scorers for Bowling Green in that win with 14 points, while Parker had just 10. Bowling Green took that game by a 79-78 margin. Haymond had 20 points last time out against the Falcons, and boy could he use a big day like that again to get back in the offensive swing of things.
Output from the bench was also pivotal last time these two teams played, with 32 points coming from the Falcons' bench and 20 from the Broncos. Bench play is a weakness for Western right now regardless, so it will be up to the starters to get WMU out to a lead.
Like the last time these two squads played, this should be a close contest again. I'm curious to see how the Haymond-Wilder duo matches up against Parker and Zach Denny for Bowling Green. Western has been very up-and-down this year (more down than up recently) but it's very possible the team could come to life offensively at any moment. Bowling Green already knows how to beat the Broncos though, and could take advantage of a struggling offense.
We'll see who takes this one Saturday at 2:00 Eastern from the Stroh Center (streaming on ESPN3).