Bowling Green (12-19) at Northern Illinois (14-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 10, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (6,400) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Bowling Green 7-8, Northern Illinois 9-7. Away Record: Bowling Green 4-10, Northern Illinois 5-9. Neutral Record: Bowling Green 1-1, Northern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: Bowling Green 6-12, Northern Illinois 8-10. Series Record: Bowling Green leads, 30-26.
GAME NOTES: The final first-round Mid-American Conference Tournament contest Monday will feature the 10th-seeded Bowling Green Falcons traveling to face the seventh-seeded Northern Illinois Huskies at the Convocation Center in DeKalb.
Bowling Green enters the first round of the MAC Tournament on a three-game skid, capped off by an 88-65 thrashing at the hands of East Division leader Buffalo Saturday. The Falcons have dropped five of their last six, and sport a 6-12 conference record heading into postseason play.
Northern Illinois will host the first-round contest after earning an 8-10 conference record, which was highlighted by a 70-56 victory over Ball State in the team's season finale Saturday. The Huskies have dropped three of their past five games overall.
Bowling Green holds a slim 30-26 lead in the all-time series between the two sides. The Huskies were able to take down the Falcons in a low-scoring, 45-36 contest back on Jan. 12 in the only meeting between the programs this season.
Bowling Green didn't stand much of a chance against Buffalo, which was fighting for one of the top spots in the conference tournament in one of the team's best seasons in years. The Falcons trailed by 10 points at the end of the first half, and fell behind by another 13 in the second period by the time the final buzzer sounded. Cameron Black tallied a double-double to lead Bowling Green with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Jehvon Clarke chipped in 11 points with a team-high five assists. The Falcons connected on 45.6 percent of their shot attempts in the game.
Bowling Green had a second-worst 63.1 ppg scoring average in the MAC, but did allow a third-best 64.5 ppg to opponents on the year. As a team, the Falcons were second in the league in blocked shots per game (5.6 per outing), led by Richaun Holmes, who tied for the conference lead at 2.8 bpg. He was the team's leading scorer at 13.4 ppg, and his 7.5 rpg mark was second to Black's 7.6 rpg. Spencer Parker (12.7 ppg), Clarke (12.4 ppg) and Anthony Henderson (10.7 ppg) rounded out the Falcons' double-digit scoring. Clarke's 4.7 apg was a team high and fourth in the conference.
Northern Illinois allowed Ball State to contend for the lead in the first half, as the Huskies went into halftime with just a one-point advantage. But the second half was another story, as the Huskies came out and outscored the Cardinals, 42-29, in the period to earn the 14-point victory. Darrell Bowie netted 17 points to pace the team, adding four steals and a 9-of-12 mark from the free-throw line to his resume. Aaron Armstead contributed 11 points in the win, in which Northern Illinois shot 41.7 percent from the floor.
The Huskies bring a league-worst 63 ppg average into the postseason, but at least were able to survive on the MAC's second-best scoring defense, as the team allowed just 63.6 ppg to opponents. Since leading scorer Dontel Highsmith suffered a knee injury that required surgery back in January, the team is devoid of a double-digit scorer. Bowie tops the squad with 9.9 ppg, while center Jordan Threloff has been serviceable this year with 9.1 ppg, bringing down a team-high 6.8 rpg. Travon Baker has been known to go off on occasion. The guard leads the team with 74 assists on the year.
Bowling Green had some very bright moments during the season, like when the Falcons upset Buffalo back in early February. But that consistency hasn't been able to hang around, and BGSU has been worse off lately. The Falcons could give the home Huskies a run for their money in the first round, but ultimately there are too many question marks surrounding Bowling Green's game to make any sort of run in the conference tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Illinois 68, Bowling Green 62
03/10 13:36:10 ET