Ladies first ...
-Combined, UT and BG have won 20 straight (Breakdown: BG 13, UT seven). You're going to see another excellent, well played game between these two. I say that without any hesitation. What concerns me about UT is its relative inconsistency. This team is better than it was a month ago, maybe even much better, but there has been a handful of ugly 5-10 minute spurts in recent games that make you wonder whether they're capable of taking down a BG team that has won 19 of its past 20 games. I agree with BG coach Curt Miller that his team is more consistent than UT but that UT, when it's hitting on all cylinders, is the better team. UT needs to find a way to play well the entire game. No lulls allowed.
-Can BG defend Yolanda Richardson with just one player? I ask, because UT's offense has been deadly against teams have doubled down on Richardson. In the past two games - wins over Akron and Kent State - Courtney Ingersoll and Haylie Linn have combined for 15 3-pointers. I'd guess Miller will position sophomore Alexis Rodgers, a Duke transfer, to guard Richardson. This will be a key match up.
-Eastern Michigan, whom UT is tied with atop the West, will likely beat Kent State on Saturday in Ypsilanti.This game of anythingyoucandoIcandobetter against EMU could come ultimately be decided Feb. 21 when UT travels to Ypsilanti.
Now for the men ...
-Starting guard Dominique Buckley sat out practice Friday with the flu. Coach Kowalczyk expects him to be good to go, but will he be on top of his game? We'll see. Buckley has struggled of late, attempting just three shots in each of the past two games, but UT can't afford to be down any bodies, especially a starter.
-Coach Kowalczyk thinks BG is the most athletic team in the MAC. He's especially respectful of guards Jordan Crawford and Dee Brown, and forward A'ustin Calhoun. UT assistant Angres Thorpe said Brown has an "old man's game," which is a way of suggesting Brown doesn't have superior athleticism but that he's effective by changing speeds well. You know exactly the type of player Thorpe is talking about. He's 45-50 years old, plays at the YMCA or at the park, and people half his age pick him to their team because of his understanding for how to play the game.
-I thought this quote by Kowalczyk was intersting. "Overall, I think this team has gotten better and will continue to get better down the stretch. I think we're playing as good as anybody in the league right now. That's important when you're in February." As good as anybody in the league? Had they beaten Buffalo, coupled with the OU win, I'd be inclined to agree. A win Saturday would be further evidence of UT progressing and signify that it will be a tough draw for anyone in the MAC tournament.