The Falcons and Zips play Saturday 8 p.m. at Bowling Green.
Here are five things to know about the Falcons...
1) Some MAC-knowledgeable people I talk to predicted Bowling Green would join the upper-echelon in the conference this season. After all,
Louis Orr is a good coach and all 10 of his starters are returning from last year's team, which went 7-9 in MAC games (13-16 overall). The Falcons finished third in the East Division's media poll (ahead of Akron).
2) The Falcons will move into a new $36 million convocation center in 2012. They have
received several large donations to fund it. I beg someone to tell me that the city of Akron couldn't use one of these.
Don Plusquellic will earn my never-ending support if he makes it happen. I don't care what office he's running for.
3) Looking at the teams Bowling Green has played and how they played them, it appears that the Zips and Falcons are on somewhat equal footing talent-wise. The Falcons are 6-6 with an
RPI of 157. Akron is 7-6 with an RPI of 123. Traveling to Ohio State and Minnesota, Bowling Green lost both games by a combined 11 points. In MAC play, the Falcons narrowly beat Buffalo at home, but Kent State torched them by 34 at the M.A.C. Center.
4) Bowling Green is near the top of the conference
statistically in scoring and defense. The Falcons have held teams to only 39 percent shooting, which is best in the MAC. Their interior defense is a strong suit; they are second in the league in rebounding margin and first in blocked shots.
5) Bowling Green's starting lineup features five players with diverse skill sets that complement each other. First is sophomore point guard
Joe Jakubowski. The Zips
recruited him. You can bet if they landed him, this would be a much better team. Jakubowski leads the league in assists and nearly has a 2-to-1 assist/turnover ratio. Those are
Dru Joyce numbers. He also shoots 47 percent from the field. Second is
Nate Miller, a 6-foot-4 bruiser who is 11th in the MAC in rebounding and gets a lot of garbage points. Third is senior shooting guard
Brian Moten, an athletic player who can shoot and finish on the fast break. He leads the team with 12.3 points per game. Fourth is
Darryl Clements, who started all 30 games last season and who Orr relies upon for solid on-ball defense. At center, Orr rotates between a few shot blockers.
Can the Zips win? Certainly. Last year, it wouldn't be a question. Even this year, the team has shown the ability to play well on the road. The question is whether the team can rebound from consecutive disappointments. The game will go down to the last minute, and the Zips will win on free throws.
wrote an all-encompassing story about
and the MLS SuperDraft.
was not drafted, but Bush said it might be better to choose his own team, rather than be drafted in the later rounds.