It’s a new year for the BGSU men’s basketball team and it is shaping up to be a very exciting one. Not only were the Falcons picked to win the MAC East as well as the MAC Tournament this season, they also have the favorite to win the MAC Player of the Year in Justin Turner returning this season. That should spell a lot of good things for the Falcons leading into this season. 

Led by head coach Michael Huger last season, BGSU was picked to finish last in the MAC East but surprised everyone finishing second behind Buffalo and going all the way to the MAC Tournament final. No one expected BGSU to take that big of a step that fast, but they did. Now this year’s expectations are through the roof. 

The high expectations aren’t only because of the pure success that they had last season, but also because the Falcons return with a plethora of players that meant so much to the team. 

Justin Turner is the most obvious one. He averaged a team leading 18.2 points last season and led the Falcons through some tough MAC wins. The redshirt sophomore also averaged 3.7 assists on the season,\ proving his worth in getting his teammates in positions to succeed. The offense is going to run through him, much similar to the way that it did last year, and that means great things for the Falcon’s. 

Along with Turner come some more key returners in 12.8 points per game scorer Dylan Frye, athletic freak Daeqwon Plowden and sophomore point guard Caleb Fields. The fact of the matter is that BGSU just got older, but that’s not to say they didn’t lose anybody of importance. 

Demajeo Wiggins was one of the best rebounders that BGSU basketball has ever seen. He averaged 10.6 rebounds a season and was the eleventh best rebounder in the country. Because of that, the Falcons were eighth in the nation in total rebounds in the country and second in the MAC only behind Buffalo. There is no one that the Falcons have that can directly replace the loss of production on the boards brought by Wiggins, so it is going to have to be a team effort. 

Plowden and a few other returners such as Taylor Mattos and Marlon Sierra are going to be key in making sure that the Falcons continue to win game on the boards, a key element to their success last year.

When it all comes down to it though, the Falcons overall just need to focus on winning games. Let’s take a look at what their schedule has in store for them this season. 

There are a lot of winnable games in the non-conference for the Falcons this season and it starts with a season opener against Tiffin. The only teams that I see this BGSU team losing to in the non-conference are LSU, Western Kentucky, Oakland and possibly one more in the Paradise Jam which includes teams like Cincinnati, Louisville and Baylor. 

In conference, the Falcons start off pretty mild getting two tough opponents in Kent State and Miami at home. Then traveling to play a couple of weaker opponents. Their first huge test should come against Toledo away, and it’s one that I think they lose in a close game. That starts a rough stretch where the Falcons have to play Buffalo on the road a few weeks later. All in all I think the Falcons should live up to the hype this season and compete for a MAC Championship despite all eyes being on them. 

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