Falcon Hoops Year In Review...Oh, the Humanity!
Anyway, let's embark on a long overdue exercise--reviewing the Falcon men's hoops season. It ain't pretty, and its worse than it looks. More on that later.
First, at the beginning of the season, I do a little exercise where I try to predict the result of every game. It's fun and humbling, like playing whack a mole.
So, let's take our medicine. How DID we do? I had us 13-13, 7-9 in the MAC. (I didn't call the tourney game or the bracket buster since we didn't know who we were playing).
I got 17 right. 9 wrong. Not so bad, considering. I missed the (surprising) wins @ Marshall and Wright State, as well as the home win over Southern Alabama. At the same time, I thought we would beat Central Arkansas. I correctly called the 0-for-the-road in the MAC. So there.
11/11/06 vs. Denison Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
11/16/06 at Arkansas State Jonesboro, Arkansas L RIGHT
11/19/06 vs. Furman Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
11/25/06 vs. South Alabama Bowling Green, Ohio L WRONG
12/02/06 vs. Troy Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
12/04/06 vs. Arkansas State Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
12/09/06 vs. Central Arkansas Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
12/16/06 at Wright State Dayton, Ohio L WRONG
12/19/06 vs. Northern Colorado Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
12/22/06 at Marshall Huntington, W. Va. L WRONG
01/07/07 vs. Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
01/11/07 at Ohio Athens, Ohio L RIGHT
01/14/07 vs. Akron Bowling Green, Ohio L RIGHT
01/17/07 vs. Miami (Oh) Oxford, Ohio L RIGHT
01/20/07 at Kent State Kent, Ohio L RIGHT
01/24/07 vs. Western Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
01/27/07 at Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, Mich. L RIGHT
01/31/07 vs. Ball State Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
02/03/07 at Toledo Toledo, Ohio L RIGHT
02/07/07 at Northern Illinois DeKalb, Illinois L RIGHT
02/10/07 vs. Eastern Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
02/13/07 at Buffalo Amherst, N.Y. L RIGHT
02/21/07 vs. Ohio Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG
02/24/07 at Akron Akron, Ohio L RIGHT
03/01/07 vs. Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio W WRONG (What was I thinking?)
03/04/07 vs. Miami (Oh) Bowling Green, Ohio W RIGHT
Now, to the body count. Here is what I said at the beginning of the year. (Note the highlights I have added below as evidence of some foresight).
- The out of conference schedule is very weak. Yes, it is all Division I, (not true, actually) but Arkansas State (who we play twice), Troy, Furman, and Central Arkansas are all picked to finish low in sad sack conferences. Further, more of these games are at home, so we should hit Christmas in pretty good shape.
- If the MAC tourney doesn't work out I think we will qualify for the Sun Belt tourney.
- On paper, every team in the MAC is better than us. I'm not picking us to win in the MAC on the road, and we probably will, but I'm also picking us to beat Kent at Anderson near the end of the year (on the hope we have brought around the team by then), and that might not happen, either.
- I think I've picked near the upside. If anything, we could drop some of those early home games.
- It is possible we are on the verge of turning this around. I hope so. But I cannot find a valid reason to think this group of players will produce this season. If they give me one, I am happy to take it.
Now, let's do the autopsy.
In the past, I have just run the season-long stats and looked at how we fared compared to our conference peers. But, given that we played among the weakest OOC schedules in the country, it seems like that might make the crash of the Hindenburg look a little bit more like the crash of a twin-engine Cessna in a snowy field in South Dakota. (Just kidding). So, I have printed out the MAC-only stats, for a more apples-apples comparison.
We were 10th in scoring offense @ 64.9 points per game. This has some significance, because we had the MAC's leading scorer on our team. So, we didn't get much else from other guys--at least consistently.
We were 11th in team defense, giving up 73.3 points per game. Remember when defense was the hallmark of our program under DD? Man did that fall by the wayside. This is an absolute disaster.
It goes without saying that at -8.4, our scoring margin was the worst in the MAC. By three points.
Let's break it down a little more.
When we had the ball:
- FG% 43.6% (7th)
- 3FG% 30.4% (11th)
- 3s made 5.5/game (9th)
- FT% 66.7% (9th)
- Assists 13/game (6th) (Note, I have long suspected that Mary Poppins keeps assists at BG. Witness John Floyd's numbers if you want further evidence).
- Turnovers 15.2 (8th)
- Off rebounds 9/game (9th)
OK, now for the defense.
- We defended the FG well (43.5%). (4th).
- Not so the trey 37.9% (12th).
- We had the worst rebounding margin as well (-4.8) (12th)
- We forced 13.8 TOs/game (9th)
There's one more reason. And it is something the MAC is loathe to publicize, and that is fouls per game. They simply don't list that, probably to try and protect its horrid officiating program. With that in mind, I went to the NCAA site. BG had 23.1 fouls per game. Out of 325 Division I teams, we were 319th.
So, that seems to be a problem. Let's go a little deeper.
BG shot 581 free throws and made 393
Our opponents shot 850 free throws and made 599.
Yes. They made more than we shot. We lost 6.6 points per game on the line alone. (That's for all games.)
In MAC games, we lost 8.8 points per game. More than our scoring margin.
Are you shitting me?
Yes, I know that could be a little magnified because we were constantly behind and fouling late in the game. OK? But let's be serious. Fouls crippled any chance this team had to win.
Aside: if you are interested, we were 289th in the country in rebounding margin.
So, you have a team that:
- Shot poorly
- Murdered on the boards
- Gave up 8 points a game on the free throw line
- Did not defend the three well.
- Finished in last place.
Not much more to say than that. We'll look to the future soon....admittedly a difficult task given the uncertainty in our program. If you look at the turnaround Central had this year, that is, in my view, about the best we can hope for.