BOWLING GREEN - The Mid-American Conference regular season didn't play out to expectations for the Bowling Green State University men's basketball team.
The defending MAC regular-season champions were expected to contend for a second straight title. They definitely weren't expected to finish among the bottom half of the league. Neither were they expected to end up with an overall losing record (14-15) and finish four games under .500 in the conference (6-10).
Yet, claiming an NCAA tournament bid by winning the MAC tournament would make the regular-season disappointments a faint memory.
"It's a new season," said coach Louis Orr, whose Falcons will play at Western Michigan at 2 p.m. today. "It's a great opportunity for us.
"At this time of the year it's all about competing and leaving it all on the floor."
Inconsistency has been the Achilles' heel for the Falcons, who dropped their last three games and have come up on the losing end of four of their last five contests.
The Falcons enter as the No. 10 seed, while the Broncos (16-14, 8-8 MAC) are No. 7.
Yet, based on the regular season matchup in which Western Michigan rallied from an 11-point deficit after halftime to escape with a 65-64 victory about a month ago, the pairing figures to produce another close encounter.
Western Michigan guard David Kool came up with a steal and a basket with 4.2 seconds left to decide the regular-season outcome. Kool averages a MAC-leading 21.0 points per game.
Containing Kool and the rest of the Broncos will be key for the Falcons, who were outscored 65.6 to 62.6 points per game during the regular season.
"David Kool is an attack player," Orr said. "He scores for them, and he's their leader, and we have to match their energy and their physicality."
Scott Thomas, a 6-6 sophomore forward, leads the BG attack with 12.9 points per game. Dee Brown, a 6-3 sophomore guard, and Otis Polk, a 6-9 senior post, average 10.7 and 10.2 points, respectively.
The Falcons were 5-10 on the road during the regular season, including a 2-6 record against MAC opponents. However, BG owns a 1-0 record against Western Michigan in MAC tournament history. BG prevailed 74-68 in a 2001 tournament game.
"We had a great opportunity the first time when we played them this year," Orr said.
But that encounter didn't conclude to the Falcons' liking.
Now they've been given a second chance at the Broncos and perhaps the rest of the MAC.
BOWLING GREEN - Former Bowling Green State University senior associate athletics director/senior woman administrator Janna Blais has been named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's administrator of the year.
Blais, who recently resigned from BG after accepting a similar position at Northwestern, received the WBCA honor for her work at BG. The award is given annually to a recipient who "has excelled at encouraging the growth and quality of women's basketball programs and women's athletic programs overall."
Blais was at BG for 10 years before leaving in mid-February. She will be presented with the award April 6 in San Antonio during the WBCA National Convention held annually along with the NCAA women's final four.
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