I sit (well, actually I usually stand) in a lot of Coach Orr's press conferences and I often hear him say, "The next game is the biggest game of the year." I can tell everyone for a fact that it's not just lip service. This program always treats the next game like the only game on the schedule. They don't ever get very high or low about games gone past and they certainly don't look ahead to games down the road. It's pretty amazing to me how focused they always are on the next game.
With that being said, I can't help but think about how big the Falcons' game against Buffalo is tomorrow and then how big Tuesday night's game at Kent State will be after that. For this team and where they are right now, these two games are absolutely huge.
Obviously, they are the first two MAC games of the year and that makes these games very important. But this team is playing with such confidence right now after the slow start that you can almost feel the momentum building like no other team I've ever really been around. Over the past five games, every performance has built upon the last.
It's not often that I'm right about something but I wrote in this blog leading into the Saint Louis game, "Aside from shooting the ball better, one of the big things I'm seeing is increased confidence, and especially in crunch time." I think that proved to be true again at Saint Louis as the Falcons outscored the Billikens by seven down the stretch after being behind 44-43 to get another close win and the team's first road victory of the year.
Right now Buffalo is playing about as well as any team in the MAC. They lead the conference in more statistical categories than any other team, including points for and points against, which is a lethal combination. Kent State is probably most people's favorite heading into MAC play. Getting off to a 2-0 start in league play is going to be a really, really tough task against these two teams and my fear is losing the momentum gained over the past few weeks if the performances aren't as good as they've been.
But with all that said, this team is confident. The players know what they have to do to be successful. They've used the 14-game non-conference schedule to figure out how to win games consistently. And now, it all starts Saturday. I'm looking forward to it!