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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Tonight’s the night for Michigan game

Today’s date was circled on the calendar a long time ago for the Bowling Green men’s basketball team. The Michigan game was touted as “the” game of the non-conference schedule for BG. Understandable. It’s not every day the school Chris Webber and Jalen Rose hailed from makes a stop at a mid-major college in northwest Ohio.

BG coach Dan Dakich said he understands the feeling, not so much buying into the hype surrounding tonight’s 7 p.m. tip-off at Anderson Arena as having a big time opponent tap his players’ competitive drive.

Dakich said the profile of this game against Michigan is not the same as when BG’s football team went to Ann Arbor last year.

“Football is the greatest. You’ve got 11 weeks, you got one game a week – bam,” he said. “In basketball, 11 weeks from now is only like mid-February and we’ve already been at this a month with games. We’ve got two or three a week, and we’ve got another month at the end of that.”

The basketball season is much more of a marathon, and a game this early in the season means less in the grand scheme of things, but it doesn’t lessen the fact that this a team BG lost to last year, coming into the Falcons’ home arena in front of a sellout crowd. Dakich wants his team to take the game in stride, win or lose, but he also wants them to respond to the atmosphere of the game and the magnitude of the opponent.

“My perspective on it is, if you are going to be in college basketball, you want to play Mississippi, you want to go to a national event like they were just at (in Alaska),” he said. “You want to play in these games. You don’t come to Bowling Green, no offense, to play Defiance.”

Dakich said on one hand, the game motivates his players, but on the other hand, adrenaline can upset a team’s ability to prepare and play a level-headed game.

No matter the effect on his team, Dakich expects a boisterous crowd tonight.

“I told kids in the lobby (of Anderson Arena) ‘Don’t get tickets if you’re not going to go nuts,'” he said. “Don’t get tickets because you’re from … Michigan and you want to wear blue. Paint your face, come naked, whatever you got to do. Just go crazy.”

While clothing will most likely be required for admittance to the arena, Dakich appealed to BG fans to do just about anything else legal.

The game is coming at a good time for crowd enthusiasm. Students have just gotten finished tearing down a goal post at Doyt Perry Stadium following the football team’s victory over Toledo Friday.


OK, so what about the game itself? BG comes in 3-1 after a 107-80 win over Defiance Saturday. Michigan is 2-1, coming off a 79-73 loss at Western Michigan Friday. The Falcons might be catching Michigan at a good time. The Wolverines aren’t ranked and are in the midst of a transition with first-year head coach Tommy Amaker. Amaker was a contemporary of Dakich as a player, graduating from Duke in 1987, two years after Dakich graduated from Indiana. Amaker headed the Seton Hall men’s basketball program for four years prior to being hired by Michigan earlier this year.

Dakich said the most dangerous part of Michigan is its athleticism, particularly on the wings. Forwards Bernard Robinson Jr. and LaVell Blanchard are averaging 12.3 and 12.0 points per game. “I think Robinson and Blanchard are as talented a kids as we are going to play,” Dakich said.

The main scoring punch for Michigan is in its backcourt, however. Guard Gavin Groninger, a 6-foot-5-inch junior, is averaging 16.7 points per game.

The kid who has made maybe the most improvement in the country is … Groninger,” Dakich said.

The Falcons have four players averaging double digits in scoring, led by senior Keith McLeod, averaging 20.3 points per game. The match-up of the game for BG may be between centers Len Matela of BG and Chris Young of Michigan. With both shooting guards leading their team in scoring, what Matela and his 12.8 points per game can do against Young and Michigan’s other pivot men could very well be the key to a BG upset. It is one of the few match-ups that, at least on paper, noticeably favors the Falcons.

Where the Falcons may lack is on the wings. While the Wolverines bring Robinson and Blanchard, BG’s only consistent forward in the early going has been sophomore Josh Almanson, averaging 11.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.


If you didn’t get a ticket for tonight’s sellout, the game will be televised locally on WUPW Channel 36.

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