Trey Diggs vs. Toledo 1-30-2021

Trey Diggs tries to dribble ahead of Toledo's Marreon Jackson (3) and Mattia Acunzo in BGSU's 84-66 loss to the Rockets at the Stroh Center on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021.

Basketball season has started, and that means predictions, rankings, expectations, hopes, dreams, surprises, disappointments and more. This is no different at BGSU, as many fans are excited to see the men’s basketball team again and have their own thoughts on how the team might do.

Those attempting to predict the outcome of the men’s basketball season tend to agree that BGSU is not among the top MAC championship contenders, but rather among the best of the rest.

An article on teamrankings.com has BGSU coming in fifth in the MAC, while an article from three-man-weave.com places the Falcons in third. Sports Illustrated placed the Falcons in 175th nationwide, which equates to sixth in the MAC. Falcon fans seem to agree, but some also have higher hopes for their team.

“I would predict the team’s going to be middle of the pack, might be kind of a sleeper team for the tournament,” multiplatform journalism student and Falcon Media reporter Drew Terhall said. “What I hope to see would be a top MAC team, a very competitive team, one that takes care of business, wins games they should, maybe wins a couple they shouldn’t.”

Some fans were a little more optimistic, like Nick Tomanelli, who volunteers with the BGSU Athletic Communications Department for most men’s basketball games.

“I predict we will finish top three in the MAC, and we will definitely be in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament. I think we can definitely win it as well,” Tomanelli said. “This time might be our time, we might be on the come-up here, and able to win the MAC and give ourselves a chance at making the 64-team (NCAA Tournament) bracket.”

One thing getting in the way of those lofty hopes is the departure of guard Justin Turner, who was a key contributor over his time with the Falcons. He averaged no less than 15.9 points per game over his last four seasons, while posting two seasons with at least 100 assists.

Losing Turner is unfortunate for the Falcons, but they have another player who fans are excited to see this season: senior guard and forward Daeqwon Plowden.

“Plowden staying is a big plus,” Tomanelli said.

Plowden was the second-highest Falcons scorer from the 2020-21 season and will be the one expected to lead the team, and not just in statistical categories. And with multiple players leaving, BGSU got fresh players from the transfer portal.

“This year, we had a lot of people leave. I know Justin Turner was a big loss,” Tomanelli said. “But I’ve heard we’ve had some incoming transfers, so hopefully they are going to boost our team in the big man spot and that empty guard spot that Turner left.”

Five players have joined the Falcons from other programs: guard Samari Curtis from Evansville, forward Joe Reece from Old Dominion, guard Myron Gordon from Samford, guard Brenton Mills from Binghamton and forward Gabe O’Neal from Kent State.

“I’m looking forward to seeing who steps up and can be a go-to player on the team,” Terhall said.

While it remains to be seen whether the BGSU team can replace Justin Turner, if they can’t, it won’t be for lack of trying. Three of the incoming transfers are guards, all of whom averaged at least 10.1 PPG last season. BGSU also has three incumbent guards on their roster in Kaden Metheny, Caleb Fields and Trey Diggs. Those six guards will fight for three starting roles, and barring that, playing time off the bench.

Seeing new players in a team is always fun and interesting, as is seeing stars of the team from previous years. But there is one aspect of this basketball season that BGSU fans seem to be more excited about than either of those, actually seeing games in person. The last BGSU home game that saw a crowd was March 6, 2020, and fans are ready for the atmosphere to be back.

“I’m just excited to have the opportunity to go see basketball in person again,” BGSU Athletics Strategic Communications Student Intern Pershelle Rohrer said. “Whether it’s working a game or just watching from the stands, just being back in the environment with a bunch of people again is really exciting. And to be able to have that access right here (at BGSU) is awesome.”

BGSU opened their season on Nov. 9 at Western Carolina, losing 71-79 after overtime. They return to the Stroh on Nov. 12 for their home opener against Ohio Wesleyan.

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