So, there's a game happening tomorrow, and it is a game that, for BG, will determine whether the Falcons get a home game in the MAC tourney or have to play at CMU. Although they don't expect to sell-out, I think they are expecting a good crowd, and a raucous crowd would be very helpful to our cause.
BG did, in fact, beat Buffalo when they opened MAC play together in Alumni Hall. It was actually a pretty good game for the Falcons. BG beat Buffalo in all facets of the game, won by defending the shot and not with turnovers, rebounded effectively, failing only to close the game out by allowing Buffalo to score in the last 3 seconds of both regulation and the first overtime before the Falcons won in the second overtime.
Buffalo was held scoreless for the last 3:54 of the 2nd overtime. Winning in double OT on the road is pretty tough....be interesting to know how often it has happened in D1 hoops this year.
A'uston Calhoun had 20 points and 9 rebounds, and Scott Thomas had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Cam Black added 11 rebounds. (Remember, this was a 50 minute game).
Since then, the Bulls have played very well. They are 17-11 and one game ahead of BG in the standings, and they have an RPI in the 150 range. In fact, given what has been seen from them this year, it has to be pretty disappointing to the Bulls to not be doing better. They have lost 5 of their last 8, including a thumping of CMU and a bracket buster win over Milwaukee but also losses to EMU and OU.
They are 2-5 on the road in the MAC.
Early on, their big story was Byron Mulkey, the player they red-shirted after his junior year so that they would have a senior on this year's team. Mulkey is not producing like he did early in the year...he has been out of double figures in his last two games and four of the last eight.
This has coincided with the strong play of Zach Filzen, who has been in double figures for his last 12 games. Filzen is a 6'3" JR guard.
Just as impressively, they have all-Freshman lock Javon McCrea, who leads the conference (in MAC games) in FG% and is the conference's 10th most efficiency offensive player. He's 6'9" and averages 11 points and 6 rebounds per game.
(Unrelated to anything, I would argue that McCrea is the MAC's true Freshman of the year, ahead of the ballyhooed Trey Zeigler. Check this out to see why. Meantime, we will see if the powers that be agree, which I doubt).
Buffalo is 4th in the MAC in offensive efficiency (conference games only), and this is only because they have a tendency to turn the ball over and are only average in getting to the line and in making free throws. They are second in FG%, 3FG%, Offensive Rebound%....this is a very good offensive team. They are playing a much slower pace than they did in the past, and are only 9th in possessions, despite some overtimes.
They are also solid on defense, if not spectacular. Here, they seem to actually be better than their numbers. They are 8th in FG% allowed, 6th in 3FG% allowed, and 11th in allowing free throws, but they are very good on the defensive boards and lead the conference in forcing turnovers. They lead the MAC (by a lot) in blocked shot. The output of all this is that they are 5th in defensive efficiency.
I don't know. Looking at all this, they should be better than grappling for the last home game. Still, it all comes down to the one game. Here's hoping that the big crowd and the occasion bring out the best in the Falcons and they play the way they are capable of and get the win on what is a special day for us.