Monday, January 25, 2021

Quintin Morris Entering NFL Draft


No real surprise here, but Quintin Morris has announced he is leaving BGSU to attempt to play in the NFL.  He will play in the Senior Bowl, which is the premier showcase for the NFL Draft.

Nothing but the best for Quintin.  He played 4 years here and would under ordinary circumstances have been out of eligibility this year anyway.  COVID gave him the opportunity for one more year, but he is opting to go pro.  Just as a reminder, it's perfectly reasonable to be in college for four years and then be ready to move on with your life.  In fact, that's the whole idea.

Quintin is a Texan who was recruited by Coach Jinks in the first 100% Jinks class.  He is the first non-JUCO player in that class to complete normal eligibility.  He came as a WR but moved to TE under Coach Loeffler.  His hybrid ability is what made him effective and is a skill the NFL is looking for.

He was All-MAC twice...first-team this past season.  In fact, it's a sign of respect for his ability that he made the first-team, because he caught only 20 passes in BG's 5 games.  It was clearly noticed that he was hampered by being really the only target for a team with the lowest pass efficiency in the FBS.

He caught 125 passes and scored 13 TDS for BG, with 1,529 overall yards.

Which means that BG's top 3 WRs are not coming back, as of today.  We completed 54 passes in our 5 games, and those three guys represent 40 of them.

Just a dash of realism for the 2021 season, whatever it looks like.

Thanks to Quintin for being a Falcon.  He distinguished himself in orange and brown.  Best of luck to him.

Friday, January 22, 2021

"Horrendous" Defense for Sinking BG MBB Team

 Things are not good in MBB-land today.  Not good at all.  They've got the weekend off and play NIU on Tuesday and  (see update) they need to get some things sorted out because this team is tracking toward a bottom-division finish.  They have lost 3 of 4, and by 24, 12 and 19 points.  And, yes, Akron is a decent team but Ball State and Miami are pretty average and should not have beat the conference favorites by those kind of margins.

BG has to figure out what the deal is and get it turned around.  They certainly should be better than this.  You can see Coach trying to find something...Chanler Turner played 19 minutes...Swingle played 3.  Fields played 22, Matheny 24.  But, search as he might, nothing is clicking.  (Fields was -22 in 22 minutes).  (Also, Jacob Washington DNP at all, no idea on that).

It was wire to wire...Miami scored the first 7 points and they never trailed by less than 7 for the remainder of the game.  It only got to 7 a couple times...most of the time it was in double figures.  It was a completely one-sided affair.  BG literally never challenged the Redhawks lead.

The issue was a little different than in previous games.  BG had shot very poorly for the previous 3 games--even the win--and in this one they had a 48% EFG, which is below average but better than it had been.  BG shot 51% from 2FG (which is decent) but 27% from 3FG.  BG has shot under 30% from 3FG in all of the last 4 games and in MAC play has only had solid 3FG shooting against CMU.  They are 9th in the MAC.

Meanwhile, Miami came in 8th in offense in the MAC and scored at will.  They had 1.4 points per possession, the worst against BG since that 2018 cringe-inducer at Savage Hall.  It was Miami's best offensive game against DI opposition since at least 2002, the beginning of when we have records.  So, the 8th best team in the MAC puts up a historic total.  Cannot be good.

Miami shot 68% overall, that's 65% from 2FG and 48% from 3FG.  They also won the turnover battle and the rebounding battle.  Honestly, BG lost by 19 and they had +10 at the free throw line.  That's hard to believe.

Coach Huger called the defense "horrendous."

BG has lost 5 games this year and in 4 of them the opposition shot 60% EFG or better.

Plowden had 21 points and 5 rebounds.  He shot 5 of 11 from 2FG and 3 of 7 from 3FG, which is a creditable overall game.  Turner had 20 on 4 of 10 and 0 of 3 shooting.  He made all 12 FTs, but had 3 assists and 5 turnovers.  Trey Diggs had a double-double, with 16 points (on 5 of 8 from 2FG and 0 of 2 from 3FG) and 11 rebounds and Josiah Fulcher had 11 points on 4 of 6 and 1 of 2 shooting.

He played 21 minutes and Chandler Turner played 19.

It is time for everyone to take a close look at themselves.  Toledo has 1 loss, Akron, Kent and Miami have 2 and BG, Buffalo and Ball State have 3.  I'd put BG in 6th place right now, behind Ball State if you just look at the loss column.  Also, BG has played the most MAC games (9 of 20) and thus has less control over its destiny than the other teams.

Obviously, what matters most is one game in Cleveland.  Just hard to be optimistic about that right now.  Can still be fixed.

Update:  BG's game with NIU Tuesday has been postponed due to NIU's pause.  As of now, BG's next game will be Saturday against Le Rocket.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Red Hawk Preview

 So next up on a quick turnaround are the Miami Redhawks.

Miami is at an all-time low in men's basketball.  From 1980-2000...they won the MAC 7 times.  Now?  They have 9 straight losing seasons in MAC play. That's the end of Charlie Coles, the John Cooper era and now the Jack Owens era.  No one has been able to turn it around.

Miami is 5-4, 4-4 in D1 play, and 2-2 in MAC play.  They beat NIU and Ball State and they lost to UB and OU.  They also lost by 24 to Wright State, a team that also smoked BG.  Their 3 non D1 wins are against teams with a kenpom over 300.

So, they don't appear to be much better this year.  It certainly isn't a quantum leap.

They lost Nike Sibandie (transfer to Pitt), which didn't help things.

They also had a 12-day pause for COVID.

So, you know, not a great time in Oxford.

They might be glad to see BG show up.  They have won 4 of the last 6 against BG and one of the BG wins was that crazy game from the Stroh last year.  Those of us who lived through the Miami Whammy just understand this as the normal state of affairs.

They are 8th in offensive and defensive efficiency in the MAC.  As you can see, they score more than BG is allowing and they allow more than BG is scoring.  That second one is good news.  BG is really struggling to score right now, and it would be nice to see that come around a little bit.

When you look at the Miami offense, they are 8th in the MAC in shooting, so about average.  They help that by being #4 in not turning the ball over and #4 at getting to the line.  They try 36% of the FGA from 3FG and they are 4th at making them.  They are #11 in 2FG% and 8th in FT shooting.  The biggest weakness is that they don't get any offensive rebounds.

Their defensive profile is interesting.  They are EASY to shoot against.  #10 overall in the MAC.  They are 12th at defending the 3FG and 10th at defending the 2FG.  So how to they get to #8 overall?  They lead the MAC in forcing turnovers and on the defensive boards and are #7 at keeping teams off the line.

So, you can see where the differences are.  This would be a good chance for BG's shooting to come around  BG is #10 in the MAC in shooting.  The other test will be turnovers.  Miami forces turnovers and BG takes care of the ball.  If you see BG missing shots and turning the ball's going to be a rainy night in Oxford.

Miami is led by 2 double figure scorers.  Mekhi Lairi is scoring 12.5 PPG on 50% and 39% shooting, which is really efficient.  He also has 18 assists over 5 turnovers.  Dalonte Brown--Falcon Killer--is also averaging 12.5 PPG on 43% and 91% on FTs.  He also leads the team with 4 rebounds.  All-FR Dae Dae Grant is scoring 9.5 PPG.

So here we go.  You try to avoid losing streaks in championship seasons.  BG is faced with the "bounceback" challenge for the second time in a week.  Let's see them get it done.

Jerry Roberts in Portal

More portal news, this time Jerry Roberts.  Roberts red-shirted in 2017 and then played in 18-19-20, making him a redshirt junior.  He played in 16 games over the past two seasons (out of 17) at LB and was in on 93 tackles and 1.5 sacks. 

As such, he's was a significant contributor on an already undermanned defense.

Some of these guys have come back after announcing they were in the portal, so perhaps time will tell.  Either way, best to Jerry!

Zips Beat Poor Shooting Falcons (MBB)

So two games ago BG was smoked by Ball State as their offensive attack fell apart.

Then they bounced back with a big win in Buffalo.

And then they had another terrible offensive game against Akron...making it two out of the last three.

BG scored .81 points per possession, actually worse than the Ball State game.  That's a non-winning number...we haven't won at that level since that 2013 46-44 debacle with EMU.  Under .9, we are 2-12 since 2018.  You just don't defend your way out of that.

And we didn't.

It wasn't a total blow out.  UA had a 16-8 lead halfway through the first half and BG got it back and took the lead.  BG trailed by one heading to the last minute but then UA nailed two 3s to lead by 7 at the break.

They started the second half on an 8-2 run to go up 13.  BG battled back again, taking the lead and with 8 minutes left the game was tied at 45.

From there it got ugly.   Akron scored the next 10 and the game was never closer than 10 during the last 3:30.  The run started with 2 3FGs by Bryan Trimble.

BG struggled to score but did play decent defense, holding UA to .98 points per possession.  Again, you can't defend your way out of that kind of offense.

The worrisome thing is that is BG's third straight poor shooting game.  In fact, BG shot WORSE against UB...but salvaged it with 27 FTs.  UA defended BG without fouling...BG shot 5 FTs last night.  Beyond that, BG had a turnover advantage but UA did have a big game on the offensive boards, which helps the shooting %.  They didn't shoot well, but good enough.

BG needs to get the shooting turned around.  It is always hard to win if you shoot poorly, but this team will find it even harder if they can be defended without fouling.

Daeqwon Plowden led the team with 14 points and 8 rebounds against 7 of 16 shooting, 0-4 from 3FG.

Metheny had 14 on 4 of 8 3FG shooting.  Turner had 13, shooting 2 of 11 from 2 and 2 of 5 from 3FG.  5 rebounds and 6 assists.

BG has a number of guys in shooting slumps.  They are under 32% from 3FG in every game since Robert Morris when they weren't playing CMU.

BG is now 6-2 in the MAC, tied with Kent and Akron with 2 losses.  UT has only 1.  Tomorrow is at Miami.  Not a great team, but they did beat Ball State.  Winning a title is hard and the test continues for the Falcons.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Falcons Meet the Zips

 And now the Zips come onto the schedule.

For a while, this would have been a heart-stopping moment of terror for the Falcons, who at one point lost 24 of 25 against the Zips.  Things have improved...BG is now 3-4 against the Zips over the last 7, a significant improvement.  Last year, Akron won by 15 at the JAR and BG won by 18 at the Stroh, in the year's signature--and final, as it turned out--victory.

Akron had a lot of issues with COVID in their early schedule.  When they started MAC play, they had only played one D1 game, a 7-point loss to a really good St. Bonaventure team.  They opened MAC play like gangbusters, blowing OU (with Preston) out by 20 and then Kent by 4, then losing to EMU and NIU and then rallying to beat UT in OT in their last game.

So, big picture...go figure.

Even the UT game is a little misleading.  They more or less stole it, as you can see below.  (Chart from kenpom, used without permission).  When the red line is above the green line, it means UT had a 50%+ chance of winning and the top of the box is 100%.  As you can see, UT was highly likely to win for most of the game.  Akron at one point had a 3.5% chance of winning, the 39th lowest number by a winning team this season.  UT was ahead by 7 just inside 2 minutes and up 3 with :20 left in OT before losing the game.

So, let's take a look at the matchup.  First, the MAC is the 2nd most efficient offensive conference in D1.  The MAC is at.1.058 per possession and the D1 average is 1.017.  Tempo is #11, FWIW.

So, the teams are very similar in offense...BG is #4 in the MAC and UA is #5.  The big test will be on defense.  Akron is good on defense, but #6 in the MAC, while BG leads the MAC in defensive efficiency.  That will be the key...can BG get stops.

So, when Akron has the ball, the key test will be shooting.  They are the 2nd best shooting team in the MAC...they lead the MAC in rate of 3FGA and are #6 in 3FG% and #1 in 2FG%.  Meanwhile, BG is the 2nd MAC defense against the shot.  Otherwise, they are nothing special, they are 10th in rebounds, 7th in offensive rebounds and 10th in getting to the line and 6th in FT%.  So, the key will be shooting.  Akron is helped by their unconscious shooting night against OU, and when they shoot like that they are unbeatable.  Anyone would be,

So going the other way, Akron is #6 against the shot and last at forcing turnovers.  Since, BG rarely turns the ball over, they should get a lot of shots.  UA is good on the offensive boards and is about average at keeping teams off the line.  BG is #2 in the MAC in getting to the line and #1 at making FTs, so if they are getting to the line, that's a good sign. 

Individually, it starts with Loren Cristian Jackson, last year's MAC Player of the Year and the probably favorite this year.  Although, in conference games Turner is scoring more, with better FG shooting, more rebounds, fewer turnovers, a better A/T, and better FT% and more steals.  LCJ is better in 3FG and A/G.

Anyway, Jackson is very good, scoring 21.2 PPG, shooting 43% from 2FG and 40% from 3FG.  Their only other double-figure scorer is Bryan Trimble on 13 PPG on 43% overall shooting and 42% on 3FG.  Trimble is a transfer from St. John's.  Sophomore Enrique Freeman is averaging 7.8 RPG.

This is an excellent test for BG.  Coming off their best win of the season, it would be great to string a couple together.  This will be a very interesting game and one BG should be able to win.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Portal Update and Early Enrollees

So, we are entering the middle of January.  Here's a quick football update....

First, the new semester has started.  BG has five guys starting in January 2021, based on the info from signing day.  As noted, teams like this because the freshmen get the benefit of Spring practice.

  • Drew Gunther, QB
  • Jaylen Lawson, WR
  • Diego Neri, LB
  • Jaison Patterson, RB
  • Zach Russell, TE

Second, there has been additional new with the portal.  Two were starters...DeMonate Haigler and Julian Ortega-Jones.

Haigler was a JUCO transfer.  He made 12 starts as a Falcon with 4 sacks, playing DT.  He was among the players listed in our virtual senior day (that did not happen).  Like all of them, he was eligible to come back....and could still come back.

Julian Ortega-Jones is also in the portal.  He would be a R-SO..made 13 starts and caught 14 passes in 2020 to be BG's #2 WR. He could come back as well and there would certainly be playing time for him if he did, given BG's shallow WR corps.  If he does not come back, he will leave just 5 players from the 2018 recruiting class.

Rodell Rahmann is also reported to be in the portal.  He is one of 4 players who was indefinitely suspended in late November.  He was a transfer from Urbana.

In other news, BG's starting C, Cameron Stage, has announced that he will play at WKU.

Noah Massey, WR, will be transferring to Angelo State...(alma mater of Mike Jinks). Angelo State plays DII ball.

Honestly, while we can use everybody on this team, the portal activity has been lower than I anticipated.  There's still plenty of time for things to change, but given the year these guys went through, nothing to date can be described as a mass exodus.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Falcon MBB Vanquishes Bulls

 So BG MBB comes off the debacle against Ball State.  You can't let it turn into a losing streak and you're facing a team you played a competitive game with when they were without a top-flight player.  You are on the road, whatever that means.  (Home teams are 50-50 in the MAC so far, and that's actually 12th in the nation out of 36).

It was set up to be a big challenge.  Could the Falcons rebound.

And they did.  It was a very sweet victory on a national cable is the kind of win you want to see as you are trying to see if your team has what it takes to compete for a title.

BG took the lead with 17:17 left to play....and led the rest of the way.  That's a measure, to me.  You led a team for 37:17 straight minutes, that's a pretty good performance.  Not that there weren't some ups and downs.  At the 8 minute timeout BG was up 9 and from there on in they pressed the lead to 16 at the break.  They took advantage of some horrid UB shooting, some of which was good defense and some of which was shots not going down.  UB shot 23% overall in the first half.

I think you had to figure that UB was going to shoot better than that in the second half and close the gap.  And they did.  UB slowly chipped away at the lead and didn't get it into single digits consistently until just before the 12 minute timeout.  Past BG teams might have been in real trouble, unable to adjust themselves to being back in a competitive game again.  BG held the line in this case.  It was inside 7 minutes when Javon Graves nailed a 3FG to cut the lead to 1.

The interesting thing is that BG punched back, outscoring the Bulls 17-11 over those last 6:40 to post the win.

It was good drama.  Once the game got to 1, the teams traded 3 empty possessions.  BG had the ball and Justin Turner brought it up and he launched a ridiculous 3 and made it, just when we had to have it  His toes might have been in the Falls.  That was with 5:38 and BG went up 4.  Oh yeah, it was the only 3FG he made in the game.

UB called time.  BG got stops on the next two possessions--and didn't score on their own--and then Mballa split a pair of FTs to make it 3 points with 4:33 left.

And Justin Turner came down and made a shot in the paint and BG got a stop and then Jacob Washington did the same and the lead was 7 with 3:19 left.  

That sequence decided the game.  BG's lead was never less than 5 again as they closed the win out.  Which is also worth noting, based on some past BG teams.  The Falcons had a 7-point lead against a good team with 3 minutes to play and the Falcons held them at arm's length the whole 3 eternity in previous seasons.

BG won the game despite getting outshot and not having a great offensive game.  BG scored 1.01 points per possession and UB scored .92.  BG made 35% from 2FG and 22% from 3FG.  

And still won. It was BG's worst shooting in a win since a 2008 upset of Ohio U at ANDERSON ARENA.

UB actually outshot BG.  You rarely win a game when you are outshot.  How did that happen?  First, BG had a slight turnover edge.  BG was unbelievable on the offensive boards, though.  That's their highest OREB% since 2012 in MAC play.  UB was also good on the offensive boards, but not as good.  And then, BG had an advantage at the line.  BG was +10....27 of 37 against 17 of 26.

Coach Orr always said you can't let your shooting percentage determine your winning percentage.  Here's a game where BG shot poorly and got the job done.

Justin Turner is just an incredible player.  He had 25 points on 50% shooting.  That will work any day.  He made 6 of 8 at the line and had 5 rebounds and 5 assists.  He did have 3 turnovers.  And, he had 5 points in BG's decisive run, including that landmark 3 that changed the tone of the game.

Daeqwon Plowden had 13 points and 8 rebounds on a night when he was 2 of 10 from 2FG.  Caleb Fields had 12 on a night where he was 2 of 9 from the field.  He made all 6 FTs.    Also 8 rebounds.

And Jacob Washington.  Jacob is in his first year here and has had an understandable adjustment period.  He played 22 minutes, had a 10 point and 11 rebound double-double and 2 steals.  Those are all career bests.  He was also 4-4 at the line.  I think there's no doubt that BG has a good nucleus of guys who can score the ball, but getting production like this from Washington is just an extra insurance policy for the team for times when they don't want Plowden guarding a 5.

As for offensive rebounds, Washington had 7 and Plowden had 6.

It was a really good victory for BG, for all the reasons listed above.  This is a sweep of UB--a good team, in my view--and a bounceback win after a poor performance.  Coach Huger was extra motivated, actually pumping his fists at times.  It is the kind of thing that winning teams do.  And the performance down the stretch was also something you look for in teams that win conference games.

BG is now 6-1 in the MAC.  No rest for the weary, as the MAC looks to jam games in when facing an unknown future.  Only UT is undefeated and no other MAC team has 1 loss.  BG has a big one at home against Akron on Tuesday, then it is @Miami on Thursday and then NIU at home the next Tuesday and then the Rockets at home the following Saturday.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Buffalo Redux

So, BG gets its second shot at UB tomorrow in Alumni.

BG won the first affair with BG winning by 8.  The game was tied with about 3 minutes left and then Justin Turner scored 9 on the road home and UB scored 0 and BG had the win.  Turner ended up with 33.  You can see how it played out below...neither team shot great, BG had a slight advantage on turnovers, gave up possessions on the offensive boards and made 31 of 40 FTs (+13 at the line) to make the difference.

Since that first game, UB is is 3-1 in D1 games and 3-0 in the MAC.  The loss was in overtime to Syracuse.  They have been playing well, beating Miami by 18, Ball State by 17 (undermanned) and WMU by 16.  Now, those aren't top-flight MAC squads in two cases, but they have been winning and winning easily since they last saw BG.

Also, they played without Josh Mballa in the game at BG.  He's back and averaging a double-double in MAC play.  Also, they have added Keishawn Brewton, a transfer from Coastal Carolina who became eligible after the BG game and is scoring 8.7 PPG, albeit in poor shooting.

Their big three had a game at BG...Graves with 23, Williams with 19 and Segu with 22.  They are also leading them team in scoring, with Mballa 4th but still averaging over 13 PPG.

One thing to note is that UB leads the MAC in defensive efficiency right now.  As noted, they haven't played the toughest opponents.  I think that's going to be the key battle.  BG's offense was dreadful against Ball State and they need to respond with confidence to outscore UB.  The Bulls play the fastest pace in the MAC and are 2nd in 3FG shooting, without taking a tremendous number.

This is a real test for our guys.  Coming off a bad loss, long road trip against a team that played you tough without their big man.  It's an excellent chance to see what we are made of.

Ball State Thumps BG MBB

Well, Ball State delivered a good old-fashioned butt-kicking to BG on Tuesday at the Stroh.  It happens.  If BG is to be a championship team, they have to rebound from this--their first conference loss--and get back to playing winning ball on a quick turnaround at UB.  

It was ugly and really no contest.  BG was up 1 about 8 minutes in and then Ball State set the tone for the rest of the game with a 9-1 run.  That was with 9 minutes left and a couple minutes later they were up 11.  BG drove the lead down to 2 with 2 minutes left in their last meaningful run of the game.  Here, they had a shot to change the direction, to finish the half-close or on top, but the Cards outscored BG 7-2 over the last two minutes to lead by 7 at the half.

They came out hot in the second half, outscoring BG 8-2 in the first 1:47 before a BG timeout, with the Falcons down 13.  They had it to 18 by the media timeout at 16, and it was over.  The lead never got inside 10 and ended up at 24 for the final score.

It was a thorough ass-kicking.

You can see here how it unfolded.  First of all, BSU made baskets with impunity.  Ball State ended up at 1.19 points per possession, which is really good.  They shot incredible....better than Michigan did earlier this year and the best against BG since that Akron loss on the run up to the 2019 MAC tournament.  They shot 63% on 2FG and 46% on 3FG...and 46% of their FGA were from 3, which is really high.  You're going to win, even if you have turnover issues.

Meanwhile, BG shot terribly.....86 points per possession, and 44% EFG, which is down in the territory of the Wright State game.  BG shot 21% on 3FG, their worst this season.  BG failed to take advantage of Ball State's defensive rebounding issues and the Falcons had unusual turnover issues.  And BG got to the line 26 times but made only 17, for 65%.  It was a game where everything that had gone well went badly instead.

Justin Turner led BG with 18 points, moving him into 3rd on the all-time scoring list.  He had a decent game, shooting 50% overall.  He added 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 turnovers (obviously not a good ratio) and 3 steals.

No one else was in double figures.  Swingle had 8 on 3 of 4 shooting in 8 minutes, though he struggled on the other end of the floor.  Washington had 9 on 4 of 5 shooting in 9 minutes.  Plowden had 8 rebounds.  But a lot of guys struggled.  Those numbers don't come out of nowhere.  Metheny, Plowden, Fields, Diggs and Fulcher all had trouble making baskets.

BG has been playing well and did not in any way play well in this one.  They were just outright beaten.  Two things.  First, BG needs to figure out how to score if they aren't making 3FGs, because it will happen.  And BG needs to bounce back and put together a winning performance Friday.  You don't want to string bad games together.