Monday, February 29, 2016

Flashing Again...

And down the stretch they come...coming off BG's worst loss of the season and among the worst in conference in a few years, the Falcons need to summon up some motivation to play the last two games of the season, both of which will be difficult and teams that are playing for position in the tournament.  Coach Huger was critical of the effort put forth by the Falcons at Akron, so I am going to assume he will have that corrected.

Whether it is enough to generate a win on Super Tuesday at Kent is another question.

Kent 6-1 and then 3 and 6...That coincides exactly with the loss of Xavier Pollard, before and after.  In a conference this evenly matched, there's no margin for error...WMU is a similar example.  (Kent was also missing their #4 scorer, Jaylin Walker over most of that time.  He returned for the Miami game on Saturday).

Kent is 12-2 at home.

The Flashes beat BG 62-59 at the Stroh during the Xavier Pollard Era.  As noted by the score, the game was pretty evenly matched.  The difference was offensive rebounding, where Kent had a level of dominance that is rare.  That and a couple BG turnovers were the difference.  Oh, and Kent had Jimmy Hall and BG had absolutely no answer for him.  He had 26 points on 11 of 25 shooting and 16 rebounds with 9 offensive rebounds.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that no one else has tried 25 FGAs on us and I'm even more sure that no one else has 9 O-REB against us.

So, looking at overall efficiency, Kent and BG are equal on defense, and both of those numbers rank at the bottom of the MAC.  The spread is on offense, where Kent is about MAC average (8th) while BG is 11th in offense.  There aren't any big surprises...BG is in 11th and has the stats of an 11th place team.  Kent is used to playing an average MAC pace (8th).

Kent's average offense is mostly just average across the board.  They are 8th in the MAC in EFG%,
turnover % and 6th in getting to the line.  They are, however #1 in offensive rebounding, which is what we saw at the Stroh. They are 10th in 3FG%, 8th in 2FG% and 9th in FT%.  They are not focused on the 3FG...the only team in the MAC that attempts a lower % of 3s is BG.  In BG, they relied heavily on Jimmy Hall, as noted.  BG seemed to play better inside defense against Akron and this will be a good test for Wiggins and Worrell to keep Hall from taking over the game.  BG needs to get missed shots--which clearly can be done--but then has to focus on closing the door with the rebound.  Last time, BG did only the first half of that equation.

Flipping it around, Kent is only 7th at defending the shot, 9th at forcing turnovers and 9th at preventing offensive rebounds.  They are 3rd at keeping teams off the line.  Nobody shot well in the first meeting, but there is a little room for BG to get well against the average Kent defense.  Kent's ability not to foul is not such as big deal, given that BG is last in FT%.

Individually, we have talked about Jimmy Hall, is a Junior and scoring 17PPG on 47% shooting to go with 8.3 RPG.  Kellon Thomas is 2nd in scoring (with Polalrd out) with 11.6 PPG, but he gets them very inefficiently at 32% FG shooting.  Khaliq Spencer is always dangerous.  He's only scoring 7.6 PPG but he shoots over 60% and gets 6.6 RPG and presents a possible matchup issue for the Falcons.  Their #4 scorer is FR Jaylin Walker, who, as mentioned, was injured and came back with a 20-point game in the loss against the RedHawks, from which Coach Senderhoff was ejected.

Even with Kent being an average team, this game is going to be difficult on their floor.  BG has shown the capacity to surprise, After a good road showing early in MAC play, BG has lost 5 straight on the road and, of course, 10 out of the last 12.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

MAC Reset...BG on road for MAC Tourney

Well, here it is...chaos #maction style.  There are eight teams within one game of one of the 4 byes.  That's going to be crazy.  I think this is going to be another tie breaker special.

BG is mathematically sure to be on the road, trailing the 8th place team by 3 with 2 to play.  Who we will play---that guess is as good as anyone's.  I suppose people will be figuring that out over the next few days.  If it was today, BG would play Kent, but that's still a wide open question.  BG could also still finish last, for whatever that is worth or not worth.  If I had to wish for a place to play, I'd take NIU, which I think is the weakest team in that middle pack, but we'd be an underdog against any of them.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Huger: "We did nothing well."

And he's right.

BG lost by 35 to Akron Friday night at the JAR.  It was a one-sided game where Akron completely dominated the Falcons for, more or less, the entire 40 minutes.  I love our guys, I love this team, this program, the University.  I'm excited about the future and our coach.  But you can't pretend this isn't true:  a team in our conference had its way with us tonight and, according to our Coach, effort was the issue, and that can't ever make you happy.  How our guys end up being lackadaisical after one win in 8 games...I can't understand that.  Again, we didn't lose to MSU or Kansas by 35.  A team in our conference.

I listened to Coach's presser.  I liked what I heard.  He didn't, in his words, "sugar coat" anything.  He said how it was, which was the following.

  • We came out not ready to play.
  • Our plan on 3s was to close out stronger.  "We wanted to not help on dribble penetration and we still did it."
  • "They did a good job of hitting the open man and we did a poor job"
  • "Lackadaisical attitude, think you don't have to be intense to play, that's the 35 point victory."
  • "Intensity, we had none, like it was a vacation for us"
  • "Nothing to pull out of it positive.
  • "Not one to try and sugar coat it.
  • "We did nothing well."

On the BG turnovers...

  • "We caused the turnovers, that was the turnover problem."

Lineup change was "designed to get a quicker start.  Got us off to more turnovers."

Can't give a better description than that.  How our guys decided to be on vacation is a mystery?  Glad Coach saw the problem for what it was.

Here's the statistical total.  One-sided on every front.  Akron shoots the lights out, BG shoots poorly.  Akron takes good care of the ball, BG is bad.  BG had 3...YES 3, offensive rebounds.  And BG hardly got to the line and only shot 50%.

So the beat goes on.  Akron continues its mastery over the Falcons and this one was about as bad as it has been.  BG had lost once by 35 and once by 36 in the decade-long streak, and this was right in that wheelhouse.

The bad thing is it happened.  The good thing is Coach Huger gets it and there is nowhere--NOWHERE--to go from there but up.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Zipper Problems

This is the second time we are playing Akron this year...everyone knows that the Zips just own the Falcons, winning 22 of the last 23.  You can read the litany of woe from the first game if you like, just add one more loss.  There's no reason to walk through it again.

Since leaving the Stroh, Akron has proven to be a little more mortal than they did before that.  In fact, they have lost 3 of their last 4, with all three losses on the road to NIU, Kent and Miami.  They did beat Buffalo at the JAR by 10.  They are still in first place and have three home games and no road games coming home, reinforcing their status as MAC favorites.

The first game was a 15 point Zip win and exposed some pretty big matchup issues for BG.  The Zips were 16 of 32 on 3FGs (they only tried 57 FGS) and when they didn't feel like doing that, they were able to feed Johnson and Forsythe in the post for nearly uncontested baskets.  They scored 1.19 points per possession against the Falcons, and if they shoot that effectively again, the result will be the same.  BG just have to guard the perimeter better. Akron does a great job moving the ball and making extra passes and have lots of guys who can shoot.

Essentially, all that to say there's a good reason Akron is the 2nd best offensive team in the MAC.  BG is struggling on both ends of the floor right now....10th in offense and 7th in defense.  Akron has the 5th best defense.  This is why they are in first.  As noted before, their scoring does not come from comes from efficiency.  They play the 8th fastest pace in the MAC.

The Zips brings a potent offensive combo.  They are 2nd in the MAC in shooting and in taking care of the ball.  They aren't great at offensive rebounding or getting to the line and the only team that shoots FTs worst than them is BG.  But, if you maximize shots and are good at making them, that's the key to scoring.  They take over half their shots from 3FG range, which is first in the MAC and 3rd in the country.  They are 3rd in the MAC in 3FG% and get 46% of their points from 3FG, which is the highest number in the country.

As mentioned, Akron is 5th in the MAC in defense.  This is built on being 4th in EFG allowed and in keeping teams off the line.  They are near the bottom in forcing turnovers and giving up offensive rebounds.  They are first in defending the 3 and last in defending the 2, despite leading the MAC in rate of blocked shots.  So, while they are making 3s they are forcing the opponents to make 2s.  Anyway, BG needs to attack the basket--on drives, not post ups--and convert near the rim to have a chance to keep up with Akron (and then defend the Zips much more effectively).

Akron has four players scoring in double figures.  Isaiah Johnson is their leading scorer with 14.7 PPG on 58% shooting and 6.8 rebounds in 24 minutes a game.  He's the 2nd most efficient offensive player in the MAC, behind Antonio Campbell.  Reggie McAdams is scoring 11.8 PPG on 44%/42% shooting and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes.  Antino Jackson is scoring 11.6 PPG on 38%/35% shooting (though he was 6 of 8 from 3FG in the game at the Stroh) and is a 90%+ FT shooter.  Finally, Noah Robotham is scoring 10.3 PPG on 42% and 44% shooting to go with 4.4 assists.

They have a solid bench, too, with Forsythe, Kretzer, and Cheatam all making solid contributions.  Finally, they have only 2 seniors (McAdams and Kretzer) getting significant minutes.

The game will be on Friday on national television with CBS Sports Network.  This is a tall mountain, but who knows?  I didn't expect BG to beat OU again, either.  How it would happen won't be any surprise...let's enjoy the show.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gomez Goes

One other note from last night's win over Ohio U., BG announced that Josh Gomez had left the team for academic reasons.  He was a senior.

He never really found a place at BG.  He played 26 games for Coach Orr and 25 for Jans, both in the 5-7 mpg range.  He really didn't find a place with this year's squad, even as size challenged as they are.  He has played in only 8 games this year.  He transferred from Iona...when he did, Coach Orr had a lot to say about him, much of which is pretty humorous now.

Anyway, best of luck to Josh in his future life.  I hope he finishes his career and has a successful life.

Good as time as any to look at the roster.  BG loses Gomez, Parker and Joseph off this year's team, with one scholarship saved from last year.  They have signed two players, both PGs....Rodrick Caldwell and Dylan Frye.  This team needs players and recruiting will be as big a deal as anything in determining the success of the Huger years.

Sweet Victory! BG bests OU to get back on winning track...

I have to give a lot of credit to our guys.  Getting in a losing streak like the one they were in is really tough...the season's ending, there isn't much to play for...and you're playing a team that is as good as OU is, and you're down 9-0.  Your starters (4 of them) were benched for what we later heard was an academic issue that involved some "running"...anyway, that's a hole when a lot of teams just wallow and go through the motions.

So, I give credit to the guys.  They did fight through, never letting the lead get under 10 in the first half and even ending the half down 1 on a Lillard tip in.  OU led for the first 10 minutes of the second half, too, but our guys stayed engaged and fighting and finally took the lead for the first time with 9:40 left on a Rasheed Worrell slam.  From there it was an extremely entertaining game...good shooting, low turnovers, low fouls...good college basketball.

BG led almost the entire last 9:40.  OU took a 1-point with 3:47 left but then after the teams traded stops Wes Alcegaire hit a jumper to put BG up 1 with 2:54 left.  BG never trailed again, and the hoop was the start of a door-slamming 10-2 run that left BG up 7 inside of a minute to play and BG made 9 of 12 from the line in the last minute and the game was never a one-possession game again.

BG won the game despite being outshot.  Both teams had a similar overall percentage, but OU made 12 3s and BG only made 6.  However, BG won every other aspect of the game.  Both teams took great care of the ball, and BG was very effective on the offensive boards while keeping OU off the glass very effectively.  And BG was +11 at the line.  The Falcons shot 17 of 22 from the line, while OU was only 6 of 8 for the whole game.  The Falcons committed only 11 fouls.

BG was led by its front court and swing players.  Wes Alcegaire had a great night, scoring 20 points on 7 of 14 and 4 of 8 shooting and added 5 rebounds.  Spencer Parker also had 20 on 6 of 12 shooting, 2 of 3 from 3FG and 6 of 6 from the line.  Antwon Lillard had 15 on 5 of 19 shooting and 7 rebounds and Rasheed Worrell had 14 on 6 of 10 shooting (including a series of power dunks during the game's key phase in the last 10 minutes) and 7 rebounds.  It was a nice bounceback for both of the last 2 guys.  Lillard dropped a bagel in Buffalo and Worrell had 7 points over the last 3 games.

Ish Ali contributed 6 assists and no turnovers.

Isn't it amazing how much better things look with a win?  Incredible.  Anyway, Akron on Friday.  That's going to be tough, but HEY, they lost to Miami, right?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

OU Preview-ette

Won't be time for a full preview for tonight's game.  Basic deal is that the win at the Convo earlier this year will probably go down as the high point of the season.  Not only did BG beat a team on the road that has gone 8 and 3 in the MAC since then, but the Falcons also beat them by 16 points.  Their RPI is 82, and it is by far the biggest win for BG this year, with the next being EMU at 134.

Not much secret what is going on for BG, who have lost their last 7 games, the last four by double digit margins.  Just a really tough part of what has turned into a very tough season.

The obvious guy to watch is Antonio Campbell.  He's third in the MAC in scoring at 18.2 PPG, but that comes on shooting 59% overall and 44% from 3FG.  He's the most efficient scorer in the MAC and 2nd with 10.4 rebounds.  Dude is a stud and at 6'10" would be the kind of guy we have struggled to guard in the post.

This is where we stand.  OU is still in play for the overall title and only holding a bye by one game.  BG is down where we feared they might be when the year began.  That's important to remember, by the way.  Even if Jans had stayed and we had Austin and Dickerson, we wouldn't have (presumably) Lillard and Wiggins. (Update:  Or Ali or Alcegaire).  We'd still have struggled.  His big recruit, Jalone Friday, has red-shirted at Abilene Christian.  This was just set up to be a tough year, mostly from recruiting classes in the past, which we will look at over the off-season.  Anyway, point being that I still give the Huger team a passing grade for this year.  This was never going to be easy and I think that a couple of the younger players have made progress.  Looking at the patience Ball State showed in Whitlock (for example), let's see Huger build and make progress toward our ultimate goal.  We need stability, steady progress, and a center, not neccessarily in that order.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Closed for the weekend

On the road this weekend.   Good luck to the Falcons in Buffalo.  Back to catch up on Monday....

Friday, February 19, 2016

This is Bull

So BG makes the long drive out to Buffalo to play the Bulls tomorrow.  Buffalo has had an up and down season.  They were in 2nd place and 7-3 and playing really well.  Then, their best player Lamonte Bearden, was suspended and they have lost all 3 games that he missed, two of them at home.  That brought them back to the pack at 7-6.  There was conflicting info about his was going to be 3 games and then it was indefinite.  No news on his status for this week except that he is not listed as a probable starter in their game notes.

And this tweet....

Buffalo is 8-4 at home this year and has lost their last 2 home games.  BG has lost 4 straight in Buffalo.

Now, these stats included all games (Bearden and non-Bearden), but Buffalo is primarily succeeding on defense.  They are 8th in the MAC in offensive efficiency and 4th in defensive efficiency.  Note when looking at raw stats for Buffalo...they play at the fastest pace in the MAC, so that is going to jack up some numbers.

The spread between BG's offense and defense continues to grow.  BG is now 11th in the MAC in offensive efficiency, and with the stout Buffalo defense, the Falcons are going to have to find a way to consistently score to have a shot.  The good news is that a quicker pace is something we seem more comfortable with, if we are getting stops.

Most of Buffalo's numbers are pretty good.  They are 6th in shooting and 2nd on the offensive boards and in getting to the line.  They are last, however, in turnovers, and that has created the issues they have on offense.  That was an issue before Bearden left and if anything has been a little better while he has been out.  They struggle with the long shot...they are 5th in the MAC in taking them but 11th in converting.  They are 3rd in 2FG% and 7th in FT shooting for all those times they get to the line.

Defensively, they are just solid across the board.  They are 2nd in the MAC in defending the shot and 5th in creating turnovers, preventing offensive rebounds and keeping their opponents off the line.  They are 2nd in the MAC in defending the 3FG and 7th against the 2FG.  Just a very solid team which is only great in one area but bad in no areas.

So, Bearden was their leader, scoring 14 PPG on 49% on 4 assists per game.  That's really good shooting...he's not much of a 3FG so this is getting to the basket type stuff.  Their 2nd leading scorer is Blake Hamilton, a 6'6" swing guy who transferred to Buffalo from JUCO.  He's scoring 12.8 PPG on 43%/38% shooting and also leads the team with 7 rebounds.  He might be the best player in the MAC that you never heard of until right now.

Next is Willie Conner, another JUCO guy.  He's also big at 6'5" and scores 12.2 PPG and shoots 48%.

The Bulls normally have a couple big guys, but this year they play a relatively small lineup. Raheem Johnson was playing that role but is out for the season with an injury.

Last couple things.  Of course, last year the Bulls won the MAC under Bobby Hurley, who then left to go to Arizona State.  He was replaced by Nate Oats, his lead assistant.  He's actually from Detroit, coach Romulus HS and got the Buffalo job after only two years as a collegiate assistant.  They were expecting to have MAC POY Justin Moss back (he is from, cough cough, Romulus, Michigan) but he was dismissed from the team for stealing from the dorm room of another student.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Falcons Dropped Sixth Straight in DeKalb

The beat goes on....BG dropped its 6th straight and 8th in last 9 last night in Dekalb.  BG is just in a rut...this is the team we feared we have might have.  As always, you might be able to cheat your way through the non-conference season, but there are no secrets in the conference.

I was trying to remember what year this felt familiar to.  BG closed out the 05-06 season with 8 straight losses and 11 out of the last 12.  It just seemed like we ran out of gas and that's what I fear with this year's team.

There are no obvious wins yet.  The only home games are OU and Buffalo...and those are teams playing well and we have played poorly at home.  The away games are Buffalo, Akron and Kent, all pretty tough assignments.  The only game kenpom gives us a 50%+ chance of winning is the Buffalo game, and that's 51%.

Honestly, I don't think we'll lose out, but I can't see more than one win.

More when the dust settles, but I'm not discouraged about the state of the program.  Huger is paying the price for some stuff that happened two coaches ago.

Anyway, BG is now 3 games out of a home berth with 5 to play.  They are only one game out of last place,  in fact, but Miami plays a similar schedule to BG coming home.

BG never led in the game and NIU led for more than 37 minutes of the game.  They led by as much as 11 in the first half before BG closed the lead to 6 at the half.  The Falcons then came out of the locker room and went 8:11 without a FG.  By that time NIU had a 17 point lead and it never got in single digits again.  Post-game, Coach Huger said the Falcons just have to play better in the second half, saying the Falcons missed open shots and layups on their way to shooting 28% for the half.

BG lost despite having only 14 fouls to NIU's 22.  BG was strong at the line for once, making 16 of 22 while NIU made only 8 of 10.  However, NIU's shooting--while nothing special--was better than BG's, which was terrible.  The Falcons shot 32% overall and 36% from 3FG, meaning they were 10 of 33 on 2FGs.  BG also made 4 more turnovers in the game.

I  don't call our players out, but you can look at the stats...BG has two starters who are really struggling and can't get out of their own way.  Spencer Parker, who isn't one of them, had 14 points while shooting 2 of 10.  He points came on 9 of 10 FTs.  He did have 6 rebounds, 4 assists and no turnovers.

Wes Alcegaire also provided some badly needed outside shooting, going 5 of 11 and 3 of 7 on his way to 14 points.  Antwon Lillard probably had the most productive night for BG with 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting and 7 rebounds.  Ish Ali had 6 assists.

On to Buffalo.  The Bulls are struggling (3 losses in a row) since their PG was suspended.  No word on if he will be back for the game on Saturday.  For whatever it is worth, I think BG is better than they have played in February.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Huskie Preview

BG will now match up with the team that might be the biggest mystery in the MAC.  And if there is a team that has had a worse last three weeks than BG, it is NIU.

At one point, NIU was 16-3 and 5-1 in the MAC, winners of 9 out of their last 10.  It appeared that they had been rewarded for the patience they have shown in their Coach, Mark Montgomery, as he has rebuilt a program that had sunk pretty low.

Then, well, something happened.  They lost five in a row...@AK, @Miami, Buffalo, @OU and @Kent.  Now, that is a looong road stretch, and they came out of it by beating Akron at home in their last game.  Even with all those road games, you can't lose at Miami and claim to be a conference contender...they have had two seven-game winning streaks and a 5-game losing streak.  At 6-6 in the MAC, and would be the #7 seed if the tourney started today.

Unsettlingly for BG, they are 14-1 on their distinctive home floor.

Overall profile here is a team that is 10th in the MAC in efficiency and equal to you get an idea what they are working with.  However, NIU is third in defensive efficiency and stronger than BG by a little.

On offense, working left to right, most important to least important, we see a team that is 8th in shooting and 9th in protecting the ball.  They are pretty good at offensive rebounding, though, at #4 and they are #5 in getting to the line, so those are strengths.  Honestly, their numbers are pretty consistent with BG's defense, so we have a good idea what to expect.  They are pretty much average elsewhere, near the middle of the pack in the rate of taking 3s, the rate of making them and also making free throws.

Defensively, they make their progress in the chart.  The are 9th in defending the shot and 11th in letting teams get to the line.  They are 3rd in causing turnovers, 2nd in rate of steals and 2nd in keeping teams off the offensive boards.  I'd look to that last one as a good point of battle, since it has been one of BG's stronger points this year. BG is last in the MAC in FT shooting, so it will remain to see if BG can capitalize on what appears will be a foul-plagued game.  Teams have taken a lot of 3s against NIU--highest rate in the MAC, though they have only slightly higher than average success.  NIU is vulnerable to the 2FG, at 9th.

Finally, NIU is 4th in the MAC in tempo, so that will be interesting.  BG is stronger if they are getting rebounds and can play in transition as opposed to half court.

Their leading player, by far, is Marin Maric, an Eastern European player who is 6'10" and scores 13.5 PPG and 8.8 rebounds.  He shoots 46%, which isn't great for a big man.  He was in a slump part-way through the MAC season, but he is hot right now, having double-doubled in the last four games.  Next is Aaric Armstead, who is scoring 12.9 on 43% and 38% shooting.  Their PG is Travon Baker, who scores an inefficient 12 PPG (39% and 35%) and 3.5 assists per game.  Finally, they feature Marshawn Wilson, one of the MAC's top FR, who is scoring 11.9 PPG in only 19 minutes, shooting 47% and 41%.

This is a young team, featuring only 2 seniors and 2 juniors.  I still think they are moving in the right direction and their mid-season struggle might be as much a string of road games as anything else.  This is a tough matchup for a struggling BG team, but maybe that old road magic can kick in.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Frustrating Afternoon At the Stroh, BG loses to WMU

A tough MAC season got a little bit tougher for the Falcons yesterday as they lost at home again, this time to WMU in an angry, contentious, poorly officiated game in which BG failed to make FTs and lost a game they could have won.

Just to dispense with the trends, that's 5 straight losses and 7 in the last 8 games.  BG has lost 5 straight at home...their last home win was January 5th.

It was a little bit of a familiar story.  BG came out of the locker room completely unready to play.  WMU blew out to a 9-0 lead that stretched to 13-2 only 4 minutes into the game.  The Falcons woke up a little bit and chopped the lead to 5 a number of times in the first half but the Broncos finished the half on a 9-3 to lead by 11 at the half.

The second half saw Western Michigan lead by more than 10 for almost the entire first 14 minutes.  The lead clipped into single digits here and there, but it was pretty much a double-digit lead until about 6 minutes left in the game.  BG used an Alcegaire 3 and a Wiggins hoop to cut the lead from 10 to 5 with 5 minutes left.

Just inside of 3 minutes, there was an exchange that should have been decisive.  BG had a strong defensive possesson, getting two blocked shots including one by Ish Ali.  Ali pulled the ball out of the melee and hit Spencer Parker for a transition hoop that made the score 68-65.  On the other end, Wilder turned the ball over, was called for a foul trying to get the ball back and then Anthony Avery came into the middle and took a swipe at somebody, which he was T'd for.

So, with 1:56 left, BG was down 3 with 4 FTs coming and then the ball.  You just can't leave that situation without the lead...which BG did.  Parker split his pair and then Ali split his pair...and BG was down 1 with the ball.  Probably the game's key possession, BG got the ball to Parker who didn't hit and then WMU cleared the rebound.

BG got a stop on the other end, so with less than 90 seconds to play once again had the ball down 1, but this time Pep Joseph made a bad pass and turned the ball over.  WMU was not in the bonus yet, so BG had to foul twice.  With :45 left Thomas Wilder split a pair of FTS and BG had the ball back, down 2 now.

With :35 left, Ish Ali was fouled and had 2 shots.  He is normally a very good FT shooter, but he missed them BOTH.  BG fouled and WMU made both FTs this time to lead by 4.

It went on and on.  BG turned the ball over again and it looked to be over, but WMU missed the front end of a 1-1, Pep Joseph was fouled and he split his pair to get the lead back to 3....but on the miss BG ended up with the board.  Spencer Parker had the ball in the corner and the WMU defender closed hard on him.  Parker only had to get the ball out of there and BG would have had a shot to tie, but instead he leaned into the defender and kind of lumped up something that I assume was supposed to look like a shot attempt, but that's a bail-out you aren't going to get.

WMU was fouled from there and made 3 more FTs in the final minutes to win 74-68.

It was an angry, contentious game.  If you read here, you know I don't carry on about the officiating.  There are going to be bad calls and MAC officitating is sub-par and has been for years.  It works for you and against you.

Having said that, this was a putridly officiated game, not only for bad calls BG didn't get but for an atmosphere of chaos and a general lack of control.  Huger was given a bench warning arguing a call...don't remember the call but I remember him being right at the time, and then a couple minutes later he was standing with his feet a little over the line while the play was in the other half of the court and the ref ALL THE WAY on the other side sees it and T's the coach up.

Later, Coach Hawkins did the same thing if not worse, and got a bench warning only after the fans were up in arms.  The ref was clearly not going to do it.  There was a period where everything went against BG and then it switched and everything started to go against WMU...a classic hallmark of MAC officials.

The other thing that bothers me about BG's game was our defensive coaching.  For weeks, teams have been abusing BG in the low post.  We just do not have players who can defend guys like Fosythe, Johnson, or in this case Drake Lamont and Seth Dugan in the post.  Most of the 9-0 lead was built feeding the ball low to Lamont and watching him score.  When they needed baskets in the second half, WMU went to the same thing.

Two things.  First, BG does not help or double-team in this situation.  If you remember the crowds that (for example) A'uston Calhoun to draw everytime he got the ball, that would be the opposite of what you see here.  You have 1-1 post play, with the big man dribbling the ball and backing in and there's no help for our post defenders who are just not sized to handle guys like this.

So, if you aren't going to help, you at least need to be in the zone.  In fact, BG went to a zone against WMU and it got back them back into the game, started generating stops and getting some plays in transition.  Then, for reasons I don't understand, BG switched back out of the zone.

I do understand that when you are double-team that opens other things up, but right now we just watch a guy back in and make an easy shot.


From a stats perspective the game was pretty even, as you can see here.  WMU had trouble with turnovers, but shooting, rebounding and GETTING TO THE LINE were pretty even on this measure.
And therein lies the issue.  BG got to the line an amazing 32 times.  And they made only 15 of those.  That's 47%, almost exactly the same as their FG%.  You're not going to win a game that way...which Coach Huger said after the game.  WMU tried 22 FTs and made 17...incredibly a +2 advantage.

Individually, Spencer Parker led the team with 16 points.  That's 6 of 10 shooting and 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 of 4 from the line, the only miss being the one in that technical foul sequence.  Wes Alcegaire had 15 points on 5 of 9 shooting.  Demajeo Wiggins had a really nice night.  He scored 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting and added 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.  He might have had a career night were it not for a regrettable 3 of 11 from the line.

Rasheed Worrell started but only played 5 minutes.  Don't know if that was a benching or if there were health issues.  He was in the post defense early against Lamont.  Zack Denny played only 18 minutes.  He continues to be in a shooting slump...he was 0-6 last night.  BG's point guards were a collective 2 of 10 shooting as well.

So, an angry and contentious and frustrating night at the Stroh.  The loss all but ensures BG will play on the road in the MAC tourney.  BG is 2 games behind CMU for the 8th spot, and would lost a tie breaker to them.  BG is at NIU Tuesday and that's a team we are 2 behind and could catch.  Biggest issue is that there are only 2 home games remaining and BG has to play @Akron and @UB. Hard to see it happening.  In fact, BG is only 1 game out of last.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Dieter to Graduate, Transfer

Finally, the story is over.  Gehrig Dieter will graduate from BG in May and then transfer to play football for the University of Alabama.  This was the most widely spread rumor in town, going back to when I first heard about it from  Didn't report anything here because I didn't have any factual information and I'm not a reporter....I'm writing about  my observations and opinions, but I don't have sources, etc.

Anyway, a few days ago Dieter pulled BGSU off of his twitter handle and the die appeared to be cast and today, during the basketball game, it was made official.

First things first.  I wish him well.  It isn't like he's transferring to Toledo.  He's going to the top program in the country where he will be having a chance to play for the national title, be on a bigger stage, develop his skills further in the SEC.  It is his life and if this is what he wants to do--and it is 100% within the rules--that's his call.  Roll Tide.

Do I wish we lived in a world where someone like Dieter was excited about taking a new QB under his wing and playing with the teammates he knows and leading BG back to the MAC title?  Sure.  But that isn't the world we live in and Gehrig Dieter didn't make it this way.

We can't even rail against the graduate transfer rule since we have used it for a starting punter and a starting safety, at a minimum and might well try to use it this year if the chance comes up.

Honestly, if it was your kid, what would you tell him to do?

Now, looking to the 16 season, this is a pretty big deal.  BG has now lost Johnson, Greene, Lewis, Burbrink and Dieter off last year's offense.  With Dieter and Moore back, you would still have had the basis for a pretty good receiving corps, but now it turns much more into a question mark, especially with the biggest question mark at QB.

After Moore, the next returning receiver is Teo Redding with 13 catches.  This is why the Darrion Landry signing was so important for BG, because he has JUCO experience and can hopefully step in.

Also--I can hear you out there--it presents the perfect opportunity for Robbie Rhodes, who has every needed physical tool but caught all of 3 passes last year.  If he can reverse that--and it is on him--he could literally make us forget we ever had this conversation.  But, you want to talk question marks?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Broncos Ride to Town....

On a cold Saturday, the Western Michigan Broncos will arrive at the Stroh Center to take on the Falcons.  The game will feature two of the bottom four teams in the Mid-American conference...and therefore a game where both teams will be eyeing the other as a chance to pick up a rare and badly needed win.

This is the second time the teams will meet.  BG beat WMU in KZoo 79-78 in better days for our season.  BG was 13-7 and 4-3 walking out of University Arena that night....and in fact have not won since, losing four straight.

In the first game, Matt Fox hit a huge 3 in the last minute to win the game WMU had led most of the way but BG never let them pull away and played outstanding defense down the stretch to win the game after battling to get back into it.  Wesley Alcegaire (14), Rasheed Worrell (11), JD Tisdale (11) and Spencer Parker (10 and 12) led BG as the Falcons were led by different players than normal.

The difference in the game was offensive rebounds and turnovers.  The team's were similar in shooting, but BG tried 15 more FGs and the extra possessions allowed BG to make up for being -12 at the line.  BG committed 24 fouls and WMU committed 17.

Since that game, WMU is 1-3.  They beat EMU, lost @UT and @BSU and then lost at home to Miami in a 45-44 leather ball game.

When we look at the stats, we do not see any surprises.  WMU is 9th in offensive efficiency and 10th in defensive efficiency...while the Falcons are 10th and 7th, respectively.  These are the numbers you expect from teams in the bottom of the conference.

Looking at the four factors, WMU is only bad at one of them....shooting.  They are strong in turnovers, offensive rebounds and ft rate...but they are 11th in EFG%.  The factors are placed here as most important, left to right.  The Broncos are 4th in the MAC in FT% but only 8th in their rate of attempting them.  They are the worst 2FG% shooting team in the MAC at 41%.  The first step for the Falcons is to keep WMU from getting well from the field.  BG is 6th in the MAC in defending the shot and that needs to assert itself.

Flipping it around, WMU is 11th in the MAC in defending the shot and only 10th in forcing turnovers.  The question here is how well positioned BG is to take advantage of that weakness, as the Falcons are #10 in the MAC in shooting.  WMU is 11th defending 2FGs, and that's where BG likes to shoot, so that might be the real opportunity.

Oh yeah, based on the numbers there are going to be a lot of FTs shot.  WMU is 6th in the MAC in FT% and BG is 12th.

Individually, Thomas Wilder, a SO G, is having an All-MAC season.  He leads the MAC with 21.2 PPG in MAC play on 44% shooting, 39% from 3FG and 79% from the line.  He also adds 4.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists.  He's the 4th most efficient player in the MAC and the top guard.  He scored a bumpy 17 in the first BG game, shooting poorly but making 10 of 12 FTs.  Tucker Haymond is their only other double figure scorer, scoring an inefficient 14 PPG and adding 5.3 rebounds.  AJ Avery leads the team with 6 rebounds in 25 minutes.

So, this is a team BG beat and now has at home, where the Falcons have had nearly no success.  Both teams look at this game to get a win they are hungry for.  Let's hope it is the Falcons.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Zips Continue to Exert Their Will Over BG

Akron continued their mastery of the Falcons last night with an 83-68 win over the Falcons.  The Zips are just too much for BG.  Their shooting is ridiculous from 3FG, and when they get tired of that they have the ability to go into Johnson and Forsythe and we have no one in the post who can touch those guys either.

The Falcons battled, made a couple impressive runs, but just could not sustain the level of play that would be needed to beat Akron, who simply have the superior team.

BG started off great.  The Zips were having trouble getting shots to fall and BG led 20-9 with 12 minutes left in the first half.  Less than three minutes later the game was tied and with 5 minutes left in the half Akron was up 8 and then up 14 with a minute left.  That right there is an 11-minute 32-7 run.  That's an astounding amount of points to give up in 11 minutes.

BG hacked it down to 9 by half and then came out hard in the second half, tying the game about five minutes in.  A 10-1 run put them back up 9 with 11 minutes left.  BG was still battling and got it back to 2 with 8:23 left.  From there, Akron closed the door.  They went on a 24-11 run over the last 8 minutes...with BG again allowing 3 points per minute and getting more or less locked down on their end.

The difference for the game was 3-point shooting.  Akron set a Stroh Center record by making 16 and with ridiculous efficiency...a straight 50%.  That helped them to a 1.19 points per possession, which is well above their average in MAC games.  It wasn't just that, Isaiah Johnson was 6 of 7 before leaving with what was reported as a sprained ankle that Dambrot called "not good"  Meanwhile, BG shot decently at 48% overall...the 33% from beyond the arc isn't great, but basically BG had an average shooting night that was nowhere near good enough.

In fact, BG finished with .98 points per possession, which is below average.  BG did manage to goose the tempo a little bit to almost 70 possessions, which is faster than Akron likes to play.  It is amazing.  Early in the game, they were perfectly willing to pound the ball until the clock was down to 6 before running any offense at all.

BG took good care of the ball, nobody did any offensive rebounding, but BG was especially weak, and nobody really got to the line either.  The game came down to Akron's ability and they have it.  If you are wondering about BG's defense, there were certainly times where Akron landed contested looks.  They were also plays where they had open looks.  The are excellent passers...they look like the Spurs...they would get dribble penetration and kick out to the corner.  BG would close out on it and there would be one more pass to a player on the wing who would be wide open.  Great team basketball, how it was designed to be played.

Individually, Spencer Parker had a big night for the Falcons.  After a game where BG was struggling to shoot and he took only 6 shots, this time he was assertive and strong.  He scored 23 points on 6 of 12 shooting and 8 of 11 from the line.  Rasheed Worrell also had a nice game, with 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting while operating in the presence of two huge human beings.  He's an important part of BG's future and he has been in double figures three of the last five games and it would be great to see his game continue to grow from here until the end of the season.

Zack Denny had 7 rebounds to go with 7 points.

Last thing, there were only 1,554 in the Stroh last night and that can't make anybody feel good.  BG has lost their last 5 home games...have not won at home since January 6.  This season was expected to be a struggle and while BG exceeded some early expectations, they've now lost 4 straight and 6 out of their last 7.  BG has an RPI of 220 which is 10th in the MAC, ahead of only Miami and WMU.  BG is currently one game out of where they would have to be to get a home game, and we play that team on the road.  In BG's last 7 games, they play Akron once and Buffalo twice and at Kent.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Akron Juggernaut Rolls Into Town

So, this sentence has been bad news for BG over the past, oh, 10 years or so:

We're playing Akron.

Bad news.  Like, 21 out of the last 22 games have gone to the Zips.  Except for one game in 2009 when Brian Moten hit a wild 3 to put BG in position for its only regular-season title in the post-Dakich era...except for that, Akron has rolled over BG with merciless efficiency over the past 22 games.  The last two at the Stroh have been close, one of them a 1-point deficit and another a 2-point deficit.  But, the record is pretty pure.  I doubt BG has a similar losing streak to any team in its long history.

To make matters worse, the Zips are good.  They are 19-4 and 8-2 and they have an RPI of 47, the only MAC team in the top 50.  By that measure, they will be the best team BG has played this year the minute they walk onto the floor.  UC has an RPI of 67.

The Zips have won six straight since losing to Toledo in the middle of January.

Not to be doom and gloom, but BG will need their best performance to make this one work.  But, hey, things like this happen in college sports every night.  Why not this one?

Akron has the kind of point advantage you'd expect out of an 8-2 MAC team.  They are #2 in the MAC in offense at 1.13 points per possession while allowing 1.05 points per possession, which makes them the 6th best defense in the MAC.

So, how does Akron get to those 1.13 points per possession?   Well, it is interesting.  They actually have fewer FGs than their opponents...but they make up by living and dying (mostly living) on the 3FG.  They lead the MAC by taking 51% of their FG attempts from beyond the arc, and they are 4th in converting them.  They score 44% of their points from 3FG, which is the highest in the MAC and 2nd in the country.  You are going to have to guard out there.  They are 2nd in the MAC in effective FG% and also 2nd in turnover percentage, which is a potent combination...lots of shots and you are good at converting them to points.  From there they can afford to be average, #8 in offensive rebounding and getting to the FT line.  They are also 9th in FT%.

This is far from the best defensive team Dambrot has put on the floor.  They are 6th in defending the shot, but 11th in forcing turnovers and 8th in defending the defensive boards.  They don't give up a lot of FTs--they are 4th in keeping their opponents off the line.  They are 2nd in the MAC in defending the 3FG and last in defending the 2FG, despite leading the MAC by blocking 11% of the shots against them.

Individually, it is important to remember that Dambrot spreads minutes very evenly.  Only one player on the team averages 30 minutes a game and even he barely makes it.  That said, their leading scorer is Isaiah Johnson, a 6'10" and 295 lb aircraft carrier.  He scores 13.9 PPG on 60% shooting and also gets 6.9 rebounds per game, which would be impressive enough if he wasn't doing it in 24 minutes a game.

Next is Reggie McAdams, who is scoring 12.4 PPG on 46%/42% shooting as well as 4.1 rebounds per game.  So. G Antino Jackson--who is 5'11" and from Houston--averages 11 relatively inefficient points a game.  He shoots 37% and 31% and adds 3 assists per game.  Noah Robotham is scoring 9.7 PPG on 47% and 44% shooting and 4 assists per game.  Off the bench, they have Jake Kretzer, FR Josh Williams (40%+ 3fg) and Kwan Cheatham, Jr and Pat Forsythe, both of whom average a blocked shot per game.

Look, on paper you'd expect this game to be just another in a long line of Akron wins.  They have a style that makes them hard to beat and they are very deep and experienced.  BG is playing poorly on top of that and has struggled at home.  But, hey, everything has to change sometime.  Maybe this one is now.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Falcons Continue Slide in Oxford


That was a very long afternoon in Oxford.  In a game that might have set the #maction cause back by 50 years to a day when there were laces on the ball, BG and Miami traded missed shots and turnovers in a game that was eventually decided because BG was whistled for 24 fouls and Miami was only whistled for 10.  Yeah, that's definitely going to leave a mark.

Anyway, the final was 55-51.  It is BG's 3rd straight loss and 5th in the last 6th.  This is a rough patch of the season--most times there is one.  We are seeing the team we kind of feared we might have over the past couple of weeks.  Having said that, there's still time to flip it around and not close out with a string of L's like we did in some of those awful Dakich years.

BG actually shot less poorly than Miami did yesterday.  BG shot 35% and 31%--both of which are awful--but Miami shot 31% and 20%.  It was a low tempo game (67 possessions), so BG with 16 turnovers and Miami with 14 is also pretty weak.  Miami crashed the offensive boards, (good strategy for any team that missed that much), but despite having 15 offensive rebounds, they had only 6 second chance points.  As mentioned, the difference is here to the far right.  Miami was 19 of 29 at the line while BG was 7 of 12.  That's +12 for the RedHawks and was the difference in the game.  In addition to rarely getting to the line, BG only made 58% when there.

I watched the game...I felt like that was a string of weak calls at one point but in general I thought BG was getting out of position and did commit a lot of fouls.

Individually, Demajeo Wiggins led the Falcons.  He had 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting and added 9 rebounds while playing only 20 minutes.  Spencer Parker had 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting and 5 rebounds.  He also had 4 turnovers and this was a game where you might have liked Parker to manage more than 6 shots for his struggling team.  Antwon Lillard had 10 on 4 of 8 shooting.

BG's relative position didn't change...BG is still in the 9th spot in the MAC, although it was previously a tie and now the Falcons have it all to themselves.  BG has two games with both of the top teams in the MAC remaining, so it won't be easy coming home, starting Tuesday with Akron at the Stroh.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Miami Part Two Preview

So BG makes the trip down to Oxford to play their second game of the year against Miami.  BG won the first game 73-62 at home...their only home win of the year.  The chart below shows the stats for the game...BG had an average shooting night while Miami was absolutely awful.  BG took good care of the ball--Miami likes to force turnovers.  The Falcons were very poor protecting the boards, and shot 18 FTs in the last 2 minutes as Miami tried to climb back in.

Zack Denny scored 20 for BG in that one.  Lillard had 16.

To date, Miami is the worst team in the MAC.  They are 1-8 in MAC play, their only win coming (oddly enough) at Millett against NIU.  In their last game, EMU beat them by 25 in Ypsi.

They have the stats of a last place team.  They are last in the MAC in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.  They also play at the MAC's slowest pace.

The beat continues on offense.  They are the worst shooting team in the MAC and 9th in turnovers...and they are last in getting to the line.  Their one strength is offensive rebounding, where they are 4th.  They are 10th in the frequency of trying 3FGs and they are 10th in making them.  They are 11th with 43% on 2FGs.

On defense, they are also worst in defending the shot.  They are 3rd in forcing turnovers--their sole strength--and 9th in allowing offensive boards and 9th in allowing teams to the free throw line. The key to beating them is to take care of the ball and then take advantage of a team that is easy to shoot on.  They are last in the MAC in defending the 3FG as well.

Their unquestioned leader is G Eric Washington, who is scoring 17 per game in MAC games.  He's shooting 44% overall and 46% from 3FG.  He adds 2.8 assists to that.  His fellow G is Geovannie McKnight, who has 13.6 ppg on 46% FG shooting and 86% FT shooting...along with 2.7 assists.  Their top rebounder is Chris Bryant at 4.7 RPG....which isn't a lot but he has played only 20 minutes per game.

FWIW, says Miami has a 50% chance of winning this game...and then projects them to lose out for the remainder of the season.  This is certain to be John Cooper's last year in Oxford. As bad as they are, they will graduate their top three scorers.  Much like the football program, this is a proud historic program in our conference that is circling the drain.  There's no reason a new coach can't turn things around.

On the other hand, Kenpom only projects a couple more wins for BG. As noted, if the MAC tourney started today BG would be on the road.  If that's going to turn around, you just have to have this one.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

National Signing Day Recap

OK, so the dust has settled and National Signing Day is now done.  Let's recap....

First, I think BG did as well as they could do given the coaching change.  They kept 11 of the Babers recruits and picked up some players who appear to be good in the short time they had to work with.  The rankings were among the lower in the MAC (that I have seen), but I don't worry about that too much.  Recruit classes sort themselves out in years, not today.

You can read the official release here.

I watched the Coach Jinks presser.  He said he wasn't going to reach in this time frame, which I applaud. There's always time to get the right guys next year once we get acclimated.  In the meantime, there isn't much Jinks can say.  Every coach in America is going to say he is high on his class, got playmakers and good character guys...

Coach said that there could be some more JUCO guys, though I thought he sounded cautious on the idea.  He recognizes the possible downside, especially since the more qualified JUCO guys sign mid-year like Skattebo did.

He talked about how recruiting as a Head Coach was different than as a position coach.  That's something that has concerned a lot of us, but that's the course we've charted, top to bottom.

He also said that we went to our older haunts to get the guys we did get, which is obvious when you look.  That's Florida and Texas.  However, Jinks is committed to building relationships in our backyard.  This will be his first big test, given that he starts from nearly ground zero.  The goal is to get Ohio and Michigan guys in the future.

I keep hearing how all you have to do is listen to him talk and you'll be impressed, I haven't actually seen anything as impressive as that.  Seems like he's a pretty average talker.  Anyway, I don't really care if he can talk, but other people keep bringing it up.

We went heavy on o-lineman, picking up 4 of them.  The only other position with more was at WR, where BG picked up surprise there.  The one position I feel like we are kind of upper classmen-heavy on is RB.

One late guy we hadn't heard about or talked about was Marquis Zimmerman from Lakeland FL.  He was all-state in his division.

The day's biggest disappointment was Jordan Williams.  He was originally a UT recruit from Texas...and BG felt that they had flipped him.  It was in The Blade, there was veiled Twitter gloating, and then he went back to UT.  That's obviously not great but the young man can go where he wants.

Anyway, for today, I think things are as good as could have been expected.  Look forward to seeing what we have in the Fall!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

BG Stops Making Baskets, Loses at Home Again

And the beat goes on...the home floor disadvantage continues to haunt the Falcons, who lost their fourth straight at home in what (as we will see later) was maybe the most disappointing of all.

This is unusual.  In the 2000's, BG has only had a losing record at home twice.  We're not there yet...BG is 6-5 right now, but Akron is next....anyway.

This one stings because BG has been struggling to make shots...and came out 54% in the first half...and BG put itself in a position to win the game against a team they should beat at home...the Falcons led by 14 with 15:00 left to play in the game.

You lead by 14, you'd want to win that game.

Everything that happened after that was back to being the team we were trying to avoid.  BG scored 17 points in the last 15 minutes.  That includes THREE field goals.  BG's last FG came with more than 6 minutes left to play.  BG did not score at all over the last 2:51.

That's just a disaster.  In the post-game, Coach Huger said he felt like we were getting open looks and just not making them.  That was true outside and inside...BG missed a ton of close-in looks, especially on second chances. It was just so fast...BG was shooting well and then in one second they couldn't make anything.

You can see it right here.  Ball State shot 50% from 2FG and 3FG which left them with an eye-popping 64% EFG, while BG was 38% and 38%.  Not good.  The shooting difference was so severe that it allowed Ball State to make up for being badly out-rebounded and the fact that BG was +10 on FTs,  Yes, BG lost a game by 8 points and they were +10 a the line.  The rebounding is a good example...Ball isn't great on the boards and BG was able to get rebounds but only had 7 second chance points, which isn't much to show for all that.

The sole offensive bright spot for the game for BG was Zack Denny, who broke out of a shooting slump and scored 20 points on 6 of 13 and 4 of 9 shooting.  He also had a career-high 13 rebounds.  Alcegaire scored 12, but on 3 of 8 shooting.  Spencer Parker had an especially long night, shooting 2 of 12 with 5 turnovers.  In fact, not counting his shots, BG shot 44%.

BG has a chance to get well on the road against Miami and they need it. As you can see here, BG right now would be on the road for the MAC tourney and still has two games with Akron and Buffalo, the top two teams in the MAC right now.  (I know we might be better off on the road for the tourney, but let's not shoot for that!)

National Signing Day!! Follow it here....

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Falcon De-Commit

Never feel bad losing a young man to the service academies.  Go get 'em Josh.

Blade Reports 8 BG Commits

John Wagner of the Blade has the news on commits to BG over the weekend, with a total of 8.  I don't want to steal his thunder, so hop on over and check it out.  Some of them we had here and some I had heard about but this provides confirmation.

Look, I always say that we can't really tell about a recruiting class until they get to their senior year.  Having said that, I do think there are signs that these guys might turn into good players.  Recruiting like this after a coaching change is lose guys and meanwhile you are starting from the beginning with new guys and a lot of the players are committed.  As our staff's first test, I'd say the early scores are good.  More tests to come.

All will be revealed tomorrow.  Wagner says to expect 20 signees tomorrow.

Monday, February 01, 2016

MBB! Ball State Preview....

Tuesday will bring the Falcons and the Ball State Cardinals together, two teams who are 4-4 to date.  Like BG, BSU bolted out to a 3-1 record before losing 3 of their last 4 to end up at 4-4.  They are 2-2 in the conference on the road--winning @WMU and @EMU (both of which BG did as well) and losing @Buffalo and @OU (which BG did not).  At home, they have beaten Miami (as BG did) and Toledo (which BG did not), and lost to Akron and Kent.

The Cardinal program has been in a historic doldrum for the last couple of years.  In the previous two seasons, they were 12-48 and 4-33 in MAC play.  I have always liked James Whitford, their Coach, and they have given him time to rebuild what was a true mess.  This year they are making some progress.

They are pretty much what you would expect overall, about average with the ball and without it and pretty much where BG is as well.  One note, they like to play at a very slow pace...66 possessions, which is 11th in the MAC.

On offense, their strategy is very clear.  They are the best shooting team in the MAC and this is due to them being the top 3-shooting team in the MAC.  They lead the MAC in making 3FGs (41%) and are 2nd in taking them as a portion of FG attempts overall.  They are 2nd in percentage of points coming from the 3.  They are also good at shooting the 2 (3rd as well).  The reason they aren't better offensively is they don't help themselves out in any other way.  They are 11th in taking care of the ball, 10th in offensive rebounds and 11th in getting to the line.  In addition, they are last in the MAC in allowing steals.

Flipping things around, we have a team that is pretty good defending the shot and getting turnovers--4th in both--average on the offensive boards (6th) and really only show a weakness at the foul line, where the Falcons have been inconsistent at best this season.

Three Cardinals score in double figures.  Their leading scorer (MAC Games only) is Ryan Weber, a transfer from Youngstown State who is 6'6" and scoring 11.9 PPG.  SO G Jeremie Tyler is is scoring 10.6 PPG on 39% shooting.  Bo Calhoun is scoring 10.4 on 45% shooting and leading the team with 8.6 rebounds per game.  Francis Kiapway, of Hamilton, ONT, is their leading 3FG shooter, hitting 46%.  Their assist leader is  Franko House with fewer than 3 assists per game.

BG is 1-3 right now at home in MAC play with the only win coming over Miami.  This is one on your home floor that you need to win.  If they let BSU shoot like CMU did in the first Stroh game, there's not going to be anything better happen.

BG Gets Safety Verbal From Florida

There's another football commit to BGSU...this one is Torrian Hampton, a safety from Florida.  He's got good size at 6'4".  He had an offer from Middle Tennessee, Liberty and Florida A&M.  He is from Lakeland (nickname:  Dreadnaughts, which is bad ass).   There are also reports that South Carolina was in to see him.

He was class 7-A Honorable Mention all-state in Florida.  He made 85 tackles and had 7 pass breakups.

Welcome to the Falcons, Torrian.