Team preview: Bowling Green
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
There's no way to sugar coat it. Bowling Green did not live up to expectations in 2003-04.
After a 22-8 record in 1999-00 and a 24-9 mark in 2001-02, Dan Dakich did not envision back-to-back losing seasons. In fact, you could say the Falcons haven't been quite the same since Dakich's brief fling with West Virginia in 2002. After accepting WVU's head coaching post, he reconsidered and BG took him back. Since that time, Bowling Green is 27-33 overall, including 16-20 in the MAC.
"What I did was different, and that doesn't always play well," Dakich said. "But I don't care. You gotta do what you think is right."
The truth is that Bowling Green's recent struggles have more to do with the ball not going in the basket and less to do with Dakich's cup of coffee in Morgantown. A 12-year assistant to Bob Knight at Indiana, Dakich actually turned in an unheralded coaching effort in '02-03. After losing five starters from a team that deserved an NCAA at-large bid, his club started 8-4 and then ran out of gas, finishing 13-16. Explaining last season's 14-17 meltdown is a much more difficult task.
"Inconsistency on defense killed," BG senior Josh Almanson told USA Today.com. "Well, basically inconsistency with everything killed us the whole season."
Here's a shocker: The Falcons' eighth-year coach thought his team wasn't tough enough. Undoubtedly frustrated by his squad's defense, turnover margin and being outscored at the free-throw line, Dakich signed Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College forward Mawel Soler, a 6-5 junior.
"I just made up my mind after the season was over I was going to find, I didn't care where or how, a really tough guy to come in here and play," he said. The Falcons committed more turnovers (+3.3 per game) and were whistled for more fouls (+3.8 per game) than their opponents. Consequently, MAC opponents averaged 73.2 points per game against them, and a team picked to compete for a division crown wound up 8-10 in league play.
The good news is that BG can probably get it fixed and quickly be a factor in the MAC race.