NORMAL, Ill. - A year can make a big difference in the development of a basketball team. Bowling Green State University men's basketball coach Dan Dakich thinks the Illinois State team his Falcons face tonight will be a whole lot different from the team BG beat by 20 points in Anderson Arena last season.
“They're a hundred times better,” Dakich said. “They're much more athletic than before, and they've got a lot more kids who are playing well. They're just far more athletic with a lot more bodies.”
The Redbirds are 2-1 after thumping Central Michigan on the road in their most recent outing. Illinois State pounded Chicago State 88-46 in its opener, and then lost to powerful Kansas on the road, 80-61.
In the 85-73 win over Central Michigan, Tarise Bryson scored a career-high 41 points. He was 10-of-17 from the field, 4-of-6 on 3s, and hit 17 of 18 free throw attempts.
“Bryson hit a ton of shots, and after Central Michigan started fouling in the second half, Illinois State just made all of their foul shots,” Dakich said.
Illinois State was 24-of-29 at the foul line in the second half of that game, and 35-of-45 on the night.
Bowling Green will have to face the Redbirds without junior guard Keith McLeod who is expected to be out 7-10 days with a high ankle sprain. Dakich might start 6-5 sophomore Cory Ryan in his place.
“At this point, I'm just not sure what we'll do,” Dakich said. “We're looking at a couple of different ways to go, but it calls for some sort of adjustment without Keith.”
Dakich expects McLeod to be back for Bowling Green's game at Michigan on Dec. 13. The Falcons (2-1) return to Anderson Arena on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game with Urbana.