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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Not a must-win, but close

The slogan on the Western Michigan University Website says, “Every day is a great day to be a Bronco.” If not everyday, today might be a great day to be a Bronco basketball player. Western Michigan, hanging on by a thread in the Mid-American Conference Western Division race with a 3-5 conference record, hosts reeling Bowling Green tonight at 7:00.

The Falcons (14-4, 4-3 MAC) are not quite in Western Michigan’s predicament yet, but a loss tonight would drop their conference record to .500 and make winning a division nearly impossible. In the search to find out exactly what has gone wrong as the Falcons have lost three of their last four games, coach Dan Dakich isolated a couple areas of concern. Most of it centers around either being too aggressive or not aggressive enough.

“I think we shoot too quick, especially at the start of games and at certain times during games,” he said. “We shot the ball way too quickly from the time we were up eight until the end of the game against Akron.”

He also pointed to an overall lack of aggression at times.

“We’re not as aggressive for periods, then we become more aggressive,” he said. “I thought we started out the Kent game not very aggressive, kind of passive.”

Whether it was self-satifaction from having won 12 in a row or simply the law of averages catching up, the pressure is on for BG to go into Kalamazoo and come up with a big road win. They aren’t facing Ball State’s giant killers, but this isn’t a team BG can overlook, either. Western Michigan’s leading scorer is 6′ 7″ forward Steve Reynolds, averaging 16.5 points per game, the ninth-leading scorer in the conference. Robby Collum’s 4.2 assists per game is third in the conference. The leader is BG’s Brandon Pardon.

However, what makes the Broncos potentially difficult to defend is not so much their players as their coaching.

“They’re an interesting team,” Dakich said. “A lot of teams run a play and. . . it creates a certain situation. These guys run a play, and then another one, then another one. It’s a different way to play.”

Dakich said it is difficult to defend since you are adjusting to three or four different sets in one possession. If one play doesn’t work, the point guard simply calls out another set. Western Michigan’s offense will put the onus on BG’s defense if they are to control the tempo of the game. BG’s defense has not done a good job of dictating the tempo of the other team’s offense in recent weeks.

“The way we’re playing defense on the ball has to improve,” Dakich said. “Every single guy on our team is getting beaten off the dribble, and I think the book on us has become spread and drive, and that’s a book we have to close.”

Sports Illustrated

After Saturday’s game, BG guard Keith McLeod was interviewed by Sports Illustrated. At 23.5 points per game, McLeod is the sixth-leading scorer in the nation.

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