The basketball season tips-off for Air Force on University of Colorado at Colorado Springs on November 14. The non-conference slate is full of games against these lower rated teams which were scheduled for a reason since Air Force has struggled ever since Jeff Bzdelik left in 2007.
Since Bzdelik left, Air Force has had a significant drop off in production. In Bzdelik's two years he won 50 games, advanced to the NCAA tournament and the 2007 Final Four of the NIT. Current head coach, Jeff Reynolds has not won that many games in his three year tenure. The drop off in production was drastic with year one the team dropped from 26 to 16 wins, and then the bottom fell out with win totals of ten for each of the following season and only one conference win over the past two years.
The Falcons have set up a weak non-conference schedule in hopes to build up confidence in the 2010-2011 season. The only team to be any good last year was UTEP who made the NCAA tournament, but the rest are some teams that Air Force could beat.
The team has already suffered injuries to their top two big men which will be an issue once they reach conference play. Injuries were a big reason that the Falcons were not that good. Last year they lost players to to injury for 61 games.
Air Force returns two starters off of last years team, and they are Evan Washington who was the teams best player with this stat line of 10.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.0 apg. The other is Grant Parker at 12.7 points per game, but beyond that the talent and depth is not very good.
Even though Air Force never has had superior talent they have relied on scheme and hustle to beat out teams. Even when the Falcons had great teams in the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons they never had great talent. They had good shooters and above average talent, but not superior talent. The Falcons run a slow pace of basketball to limit possessions to keep the game close. This can work for usually for a half on even good teams, but they do not have the athletes to compete with the best, or even the middle pack, of the Mountain West.