Wednesday, February 20, 2013


The Falcons have a two-game break from MAC play this week and the first game is at home against the New Orleans Privateers.


You want to see a team that is in a tough spot, you might look at these Privateers, whose athletic program has been the center of the most chaos I can ever remember seeing.

To wit:

  • In the beginning:  UNO was a charter member of the Sun Belt.
  • December 2009:  due to Katrina-driven enrollment losses, UNO decided to move its athletic program from Division I to Division III.
  • June 2010: Approved by NCAA Division III Membership Committee.  They were supposedly adding football, along with women's golf and women's soccer.
  • June 30, 2010:  UNO left the Sun Belt and competed as an NCAA Division I Independent during the 2010-11 academic year as part of the transition away from Division I. 
  • Then, they decided to compete in Division II starting in 11-12 and join the Gulf Coast Conference in 12-13.
  • March 2012:  They decided to stay Division I after all and join the Southland Conference next season and play as an independent this season.


Anyway, they are playing as an independent this year, and that is a really hard road.  You get no actual games guaranteed and have to pull together a schedule mostly of  games like coming to Bowling Green in the middle of February on a Thursday night.  It is very difficult to get players when you are sub-Southland.

It shows.  There's no nice way to put this.  New Orleans is 8-14, but based on RPI they are the #346 team in the country.  The only worse team is 0-23 Grambling.  They are also ranked #346 on kenpom.

You might say, hey, 8-14 doesn't sound so bad.  One of those wins was over Blue Mountain (an NAIA team), one was over and Central Baptist (also NAIA) and two of them were over Champion Baptist, a member of the Association of Christian College Athletics--they sponsor two varsity sports and schedule JUCO teams.

Their marquee win was over San Jose State in New Orleans.  San Jose has an RPI of #242 and fired their coach.  They also lost @San Jose State--in fact, they have played a couple home and homes IN THE SAME SEASON this year.

They are winless on the road.  They did stay within 13 of Butler.

The first thing is these guys play fast.  Very fast.  They are averaging 75 possessions per game which is #2 in all of D1.  (The other thing to keep in mind is that their stats include 3 NAIA games and one sub-NAIA game).

They aren't very good at it, but they do play fast.  They average only .95 points per possession.  They don't like to shoot the 3.  They are 3rd from the bottom in D1 in 3 attempts and 3 made.  There's  a good reason why they don't like to shoot them....the only make 15%, also among the 3 worst in the nation.

So, they get the .95 points on field goals and free throws, and they aren't a great free throw shooting team.  I would assume, therefore, that we will see them attack the rim.

They turn the ball over a lot--even given their high number of possessions.  In fact, only 22 teams have turned the ball over on a higher percentage of possessions.   They are about at the NCAA average for offensive rebounding percentage.

They are not a terrible defensive team, allowing 1 point per possession.  That's largely built on turnovers--they force turnovers on 23% of their defensive possessions which is in the top 50 in the country.  (I am assuming we will see Havoc-style pressure from them).  If you do get a shot off, they allow an effective FG% of 51% (not good) and don't defend the offensive rebound especially well.  For a pressure team they don't foul too much.

They have one double figure scorer....6'6" Sr. Lovell Cook.  Lovell started his career at Gillette College, went to Northern-Oklahoma Enid and then found his way to UNO.  He is scoring about 15 a game this year on 56% shooting.

Rarlensee Nelson is their second leading scorer at 9.7 PPG with 7 assists per game.  He's a senior who played JUCO and will provide some comfort to Jordon Crawford.  Nelson is 5'8".

Cory Dixon (6'7") is their leading rebounder.  Also a JUCO player.

In fact, their website shows that of the 17 players on their roster, 10 of them transferred from another school.

And they have one guy from Anchorage.

So, the Privateers are among the worst teams in college basketball.  You just gotta win this game.  They do play a different style which can be difficult to deal with when you don't see it.  You just don't want to see an L show up against these guys on your own floor.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't point out that UNO has 4 NCAA appearences since 1987, which stands in contrast to BG's 0 since 1968.  They were a #7 seed in '87 and won a game and then put a scare into Kansas in 1991.  They were a #8 in 1993 and last made the 1996 tournament.

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