Tonight’s game can start off MAC tournament run strong

Sean Shapiro and Sean Shapiro

It’s time for the men’s basketball team to rev up the engine to playoff mode.

While tonight’s regular season finale with Ohio is the difference between the No. 9 and No. 10 seed in the upcoming Mid-American Conference Tournament, there is so much more on the line.

The Falcons haven’t won a conference game since Feb. 14 and despite a 87-70 BracketBusters win against Valparaiso, they’ve struggled to put together two good halves of basketball during their three-game conference skid.

In a Jan. 17 loss to Buffalo, the Falcons only scored 20 first half points on an 8-of-23 shooting effort. After a one-game conference break for their game with Valparaiso, it seemed BG had fixed their first half struggles, only to see Kent State outscore them by 18 in the second half the next game.

And then in their most recent loss, a 74-68 senior day loss to Akron, BG started the game slow again trailing 40-27 at halftime.

Tonight is BG’s last chance to fix their Jekyll and Hyde act that has plagued their last three MAC games, or their season will certainly come to an end this Sunday in the first-round of the MAC Tournament.

In order to combat the issue, the Falcons will have to continue to receive strong play from senior center Otis Polk, who has scored 38 points in BG’s last two games, as a dominant post player who could be the difference between winning and losing in the postseason.

Polk continuing his strong offensive effort in the paint combined with a better concentrated team effort for 40 minutes is a simple, yet hard change to enforce.

Ideally, it should only take a strong pre-game speech from coach Louis Orr, but the Falcons need that spark on the court. That is where Polk is even more important then his recent scoring trend.

As a senior Polk has always had the potential to take over a game but has rarely done so. At 6-foot-9 and just more than 270 pounds, he simply outsizes almost every other player on the court.

When he gets his body moving it can really motivate his teammates, like when he ran the floor for a pair of fast break, crowd pleasing, “Did you see that?” dunks in BG’s last conference win against Miami.

Moments like that can inspire a team, change the momentum and maybe, just maybe lead the Falcons to an extended postseason run.

So give Polk the keys and let him start the playoff engine.