Sunday, December 31, 2017

MAC MBB Non-Conference Season Review

So for Men's Basketball, the MAC non-conference season is over.  Let's check out who made the most progress and who had the best November and December.

So below is what we have.  As you may know, the NCAA has altered how they rank wins for NCAA selection.  They have always gone into four categories, but before they were simply based on the opponent's ranking.  Now, as you can see, it matters whether you play the team home or away.  The system essentially rewards road wins, as it should. 

All the ratings here are kenpom.  The NCAA uses a blended rating.  Also, these ratings are based on late this week.  They change all the time.  For example, an opponent can make a run and move from a category 4 opponent to a category 3.

So, the only team with a win in either of the first two categories is Ball State.  That's their win over Notre Dame, clearly the only true upset pulled by a MAC team this year.  As you can see, no one else was able to pick one up.

Ball State and Buffalo were also the only teams to be undefeated against the teams in category 3-4.  They are also the highest ranked in the conference, which is no surprise since that's the kind of thing the ratings measures.  Even at that, no MAC team is in danger of getting an at-large bid right now.

A few notes:

  • BGSU is one of four teams to have 2 losses in category 2.  BG is also one of two teams to have only played one team in the first two categories.
  • The other is CMU.  Speaking of CMU, they had an exceptionally easy schedule.  They lead the MAC with 8 Category 4 games, winning 7.
  • BG has 3 Category 3 wins, which is tied for 2nd in the MAC.

The ultimate point of this, to me, is that this is going to be a topsy-turvy year in the MAC.  Ball State and Buffalo appear to be the best, but the next 5 are very close.  Traditional powers like Akron and Kent are having a difficult start to the year.  Even OU has bigger obstacles than expected.

It is always interesting.  And it all gets started in a couple days.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Falcons End Non-Conference Schedule With Easy Win Over Lourdes

BG wrapped up the pre-MAC season with the expected, a 97-56 win over Lourdes.  Not much more to say about that.  The game was a necessary evil and we appreciate Lourdes taking the date on the schedule. 

BG finishes at 9-4 for the the pre-season schedule, with a 7-4 record in D1 games.  At this time, BG is #235 in the kenpom rankings out of 351.  Their RPI is #217.

Here's the thing.  Yes, BG is 9-4.  On the other hand, they have played the #306 non-conference schedule (again out of 351).  This is something we identified early ...this was not a terribly challenging schedule, but this is also a young team.  We're not playing for an at-large bid.  Only Kent and CMU played a less challenging schedule, although it is worth remembering that only D1 games are counted, so EMU's four non-D1 opponents don't count against them.

BG's best win is over Florida Gulf Coast, who were about 100 when we played but now have a kenpom of 135.  BG had no other wins better than a 220 kenpom.  The Abilene Christian loss (244) is the worst team BG has lost to, though the worst performance was probably ODU, followed by Lake Erie College.

South Dakota, for what it is worth, is 12-4 with a rating of 85.  That was a really good team BG played early in the year.

On to the MAC.  BG opens with the only team with a worse rating from them and they do it at the Stroh.  Kind of odd, but you really do feel like you need that win to open up (Miami).

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lourdes Preview

So, BG has a non-anticipated matchup with Lourdes on Thursday at 5:30 at the Stroh.

First, before we get too far down the road, you should read The Blade's story about how they ended up on our schedule.  Apparently, and who knew, the MAC has a rule that you have to play 15 home games.  BG had two teams back of them in August....and had to have a home game so Lourdes is actually bailing us out by coming to play.

My belief is that it is OK to play one non-D1 team.  Any more than that is too many. Obviously, extreme circumstances are exceptions...unlike, say, EMU who plays 4 regularly.

Lourdes is in the NAIA.  They are the Grey Wolves.

They are 5-9 overall and 0-7 in their conference.  They lost 106-51 to WMU in their only D1 game this year.

They are small.  They have no regular who is over 6'6".

They score 67.6 PPG, shooting 39% and 28%.  They aren't bad on defense, allowing 69 PPG on 43% and 36% shooting.

Their leading scorer is Malik Thurman, who is scoring 11.8 PPG on 49% and 47% shooting.  Clif Snow scores 10.9 PPG on tough shooting and leads the team with 6 rebounds per game.

So, look, this game is what it is.  BG should win and by a lot.  Let's hope that's what happens and get ready for Miami to come in on Tuesday.

Report: Mickens to Kent State

If true, this means that Carl Pelini will be able to pick two new members of his defensive staff.  He was going to pick one, which is the new 10th coach and now will be able to pick a coach to replace Mickens.

Mickens was the last remaining coach from the Babers staff.  Both coaches that Babers left in BG are now at Kent--Mickens and Sowder.

MAC Football Embarassed in Post-Season

Yeah, so about that bowl season.  MAC pulls on collar.  Yeah.  Well.  You know.

Not so good.

And the Sun Belt....THE SUN throwing shade.

The MAC had really no marquee matchups...and went 1-4 in the bowl season.  But that only tells part of the story.

Here are the scores:

Duke 36, NIU 14
App State 34, UT 0
FAU 50, Akron 3
Wyoming 37, CMU 14

OU 41, UAB 6

So yeah, the one win was a blow out, but the closest game among the losses was last night, when NIU stayed with 22 of the Duke Blue Devils.  The cumulative score?  163 -72.

Obviously, the worst loss is sending your conference champ to a difficult, but not impossible assignment and having App State break the paddle.  And this isn't UT-hate.  BG has had some real bowl beat downs in its time.  You had to expect FAU to destroy Akron, but I don't think the Duke game or the Wyoming game should have been insurmountable, and yet in both cases the MAC took knock-out blows.

So, yeah.  For this bowl season.....see above.  I guess they do own us.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

MAC MBB being led by newcomers

So, a guy could be forgiven for looking through the list of the most productive MAC players to date and wondering who these people are.  Of the top ten most efficient players in the MAC who are playing significantly, 6 of them are playing for the first time in the MAC.  To wit:

1Elijah MinnieEastern Michigan6-9200Jr111.8 (24.1)
2Thomas WilderWestern Michigan6-3190Sr109.2 (31.0)
3Shawn RoundtreeCentral Michigan6-0185Jr107.7 (27.2)
4Adonis De La RosaKent St.7-0261Jr105.8 (27.8)
5Paul JacksonEastern Michigan6-2175Jr105.0 (29.0)
6Tayler PersonsBall St.6-3220Jr104.7 (29.8)
7Justin TurnerBowling Green6-4190Fr104.3 (24.7)
8Eugene GermanNorthern Illinois6-0175So103.8 (33.7)
9Nick PerkinsBuffalo6-8250Jr103.3 (25.1)
10Tre'Shaun FletcherToledo6-7215Sr101.8 (29.1)

  1. Elijah Minnie (transfer Robert Morris)
  2. Wilder (MAC's only returning first-team player)
  3. Shawn Roundtree (Juco)
  4. Adonis DeLaRosa (averaged about 12 minutes in conf last year, transfer from St. John's)
  5. Paul Jackson (Eastern Kentucky)
  6. Tayler Persons (returning 2nd team All-MAC)
  7. Justin Turner (R-fr)
  8. Eugene German (returning)
  9. Nick Perkins (returning)
  10. Tre Shaun Fletcher (Colorado)

And that doesn't include Malcom Duviver (Oregon State), Teyvion Kirk (FR), 
Daniel Utomi (R-FR), etc.

You could see this coming last year when you had the normal number of graduations in the All-MAC teams added to the wholesale departure of the Akron Zips.  Only 3 out of the 15 players on the All-MAC teams returned this year.  Also, the FR of the year transferred.  So, into the vacuum, freshmen and transfers are emerging.

I got a true sense of this watching Akron play the other night.  It was so weird.  They were so stable for so long, and its a whole new team.

Should make for an interesting year, at any rate.  It also points up the importance of transfers in the MAC.  Even as teams look to use HS players to build programs, UT, Akron, and Kent have all made extensive and effective use of transfers...if only to counteract the devastating impact of graduate transfers.  Of the 10 players above, 6 started their career at another college.

MAC play starts in one week!!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas to the Falcon Nation....

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Falcon Nation. May the day bring you Peace...

The Magi (The Heart of Man is a Palace)

Oh the magi were the prophets
And they wandered through the desert
They saw the star above them
And they knew they'd find their way
Through the valley of the shadow
With the hope of human kindness
They were strengthened by the vision
Of a new and brighter day.

And the wisemen spoke of peace on earth,
Of harmony and struggle
Know you now a cycle's gone and a new one is revealed.
In the weaving of your fingers
In the whisper of a love that's born again
In the weaving of your fingers
In a promise that we made that never ends.

Well now each man is a pilgrim,
Yes, we all must make the journey
And it seems that time is telling us to be all that we can
To help lift up the fallen, we must sow the seeds of goodness
The torch is passed among us now to light the way of man.

For the heart of man's a palace
And his dreams are as the sunlight
They burn away the darkness, as they warm the freezing cold
As an eagle flying higher, as a river through the canyon
The diamond star shines down upon, a pathway to the soul


In a promise that we made that never ends.
In a promise that we made that never ends.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Falcon MBB Gets Road Win

When last we saw the Falcons, they were leaving the court in Norfolk after their worst defeat in 10 years.  After a long break, they rallied last night and beat Green Bay on the road in overtime, a game they easily could have lost but instead finished strong and closed it out and gave themselves a positive push heading into conference play.

Green Bay is a rebuilding team, just like we are.  They are the 300th most inexperienced team in D1 and BG is #340 (out of 351).   Even so, this was a game BG could have won or lost and they got the win and it was very pleasing.

BG led for most of the first half, extending it as high as 8 but then the Phoenix went on a 12-0 run in the last few minutes of the half to lead by 5 at the break.

Green Bay had the game in control for the first half of the second half.  They blew the lead out to 8 and BG got it back to 1 and then they blew it back out to 8 and BG got it back to 1 again.  With about 5 minutes left BG broke through to take the lead and had it up to 5.

With 2:47 BG was up 3.  A critical phase of the game ensued.  BG had 2 chances to extend the lead but missed 3FGs--one a shot too quick in the possession and a Frye 3FG that was well short of the trim--and then GB hit a 3FG to tie the game with 2:00 left.  The teams traded baskets until there was :40 left when GB took a 2 point lead.  BG had a possession to tie it up and Turner missed a shot but Wiggins had the board and was fouled and made both of the FTs to tie it.  The Phoenix had a last possession but never got a shot off and it was OT.

BG did a great job of finishing the job in the overtime.  They were up 8 with about 2 minutes left.  GB then chipped it back to 1 point with :34 left.  Lillard had fouled out and the Fox had taken his place and they fouled him.  He was in a tough spot, cold and shooting 2 with :24 left but he hit both of them to put BG up 3.  They missed a 3FG and BG cleared the board and was fouled and Caldwell made 2 more FTs and BG was up 5 with :15 left and at that point the game was over.

In fact, BG was 10-10 on FTs in the overtime.  BG also made 4 out of 5 from the field and 1-1 from 3FG in the OT.

GB is struggling offensively and for the first time in a while, BG kept them struggling.  GB scored only .86 points per possession. BG had a rough night on the scoring front as well, but, as mentioned, hit their stride when they needed it with 19 points in the overtime.

The game was won at the FT line.  As you can see below, the first 3 categories were evenly matched to a slight GB advantage.  BG got to the line 33 times and made 27 (over 80%) and Green Bay got to the line only 18 times and made only 10.

FT shooting is worth noting.  BG's style is to attack the basket and they get to the line.  For the first two years, BG was a poor FT shooting team.  They made about 66% for each of the first two years.  This year they are making 75% which is in the top 60 in D1.  That's been very important and got BG this win.

Demajeo Wiggins had a double-double to lead BG.  He had 13 points and 16 rebounds.  Justin Turner also double-doubled at 21 and 10, on 7 of 16 shooting and 3 assists.  Caldwell had 21 points on a rough 4 of 14 shooting and 10 of 11 at the line.  Dylan Frye had a really tough night.  He was 3 of 15.  You know you are a shooter when you are as cold as him and you take 15 shots.

Anyway, a nice win for BG.  MAC play begins on 1/2 and this was a nice way to end the pre-MAC season.  This remains a young team that is still finding its way.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Green Bay Preview

Hey, look.  Men's basketball is back.  After a long break following a disastrous outing, BG is on their way to Green Bay to play the Phoenix.  This is a return game from last year at the Stroh, when Green Bay beat BG 77-61 in the middle game of a three-day Fracktival.

This is a very different Green Bay team from that one.  They return only one player who started even one game last year.  They lost 6 seniors (all of whom played) and two transfers on top of it.  So, this Phoenix team was slated for a rebuilding mode, but still picked for 5th in the Horizon.

They are 5-6 this year, but they have three wins against non D1 opponents and one against Florida A&M, one of the 10 lowest ranked teams in D1.  Their best win was over Eastern Illinois in Green Bay, 59-57.  EIU is ranked a little ahead of BG this year.  For the losses, they lost by 20 to NIU in DeKalb, @Mississippi, @Missouri, @Indiana State and at home to Stetson (#302) by 12.

So here is what we have.  Green Bay is really struggling to make baskets.  That right there is a rough number.  BG is really struggling to prevent baskets.  That is also a rough number.  So we shall see.  On the other side, BG has been decent on offense and Green Bay has been less than decent on defense, so that should be pretty even.  The question is, does BG allow Green Bay to find its offensive groove, as happened in the San Jose and Evansville game.

The Phoenix do not do anything well on offense.  They are among the 30 worst shooting teams in D1 to date.  They make only 41% of 2FGs (among the 20 worst) and 33% from 3FG.  Now, whether they find their market against the BG defense, as seen below, will be key.  They also turn the ball over a lot, don't get many offensive boards and get to the line less than average.  When they do get to the line, they are very good at 77%.

When the Falcons have the ball, we see that BG is actually not a great shooting team.  BG gets its offensive efficiency by taking care of the ball, being decent on the offensive boards and getting to the FT line.  GB does force some turnovers and really keeps their opponents off the line, but they aren't great at defending the shot or on the defensive boards.

Individually, they have only one double figure scorer, which is Khalil Small, who is their sole returning player from last year.  He's scoring 16 ppg on 45% and 46% shooting, so he's efficient.  He also leads the team with 6.4 RPG.  Kamer Hankerson is scoring an inefficient 9.9 and TJ Parham is scoring 8.9 per game.

Three notes. 

First, GB is coached by Linc Darner.  He's the real deal, won a DII national title.

Second, they will also add Sandy Cohen III, a Marquette transfer who is eligible starting with this game for the first time.

Third, based on a Blade story, Derek Koch sounds doubtful to play.  They are trying to make sure he is healthy for conference play.  He would play this week or next week against Lourdes, but it didn't sound likely to me.

This is a close game.  Yes, GB is not great but neither are the Falcons and the game is on the road.  It would be great to see BG bounce back after the worst defeat in 10 years.  They've had a chance to work on the defensive side of the ball.  Anyway, will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Signing Day "Over"

So signing day is over.  Coach has done his presser.  The NLI are in (though there could be more during the next couple days).

Here's the upshot.  BG signed 17  18 players today (Henderson signed since this post went up).  Coach says he is expecting to get 6 more in February and may not need to get on an airplane to do it, as players are in the general area.  Anyway, he has a list of targets, and has a couple slots open for "best availables."  He says February will be the "wild west" which means that players are being told to be in a holding pattern by P5 schools who may then not want them and they could be cut loose without an option and interested in BG.

It is a good class.  A few notes.

Of the original players we have been tracking, only Orlando Barrow and Jevon Henderson have has not signed to date.  Coach noted that some players have opted to wait and take their full complement of official visits, but he obviously can't talk about those guys specifically since they didn't sign.

Of the 17 who did sign, there were a couple new guys...or new to me.  One is Cooper Lee, who was one of best JUCO punters to fill the hole left by Joseph Davidson.  The other is Rico Frye, of Clarksville, GA, who is a RB and a 3-star recruit according to 24/7.

Coach said that in general he wants to build with HS players, but that some positions required the immediate help a JUCO provides.  He specifically called out LB Brandon Perce, who he says is an explosive player we were "lucky" to get.

If you are interested in the de-commits, Patrick Lupro went to WMU and Ra'veion Hargrove is, to my knowledge, still unsigned.  Thomas Rush did end up rowing the boat.  And Pinegar, the K, went to Penn State.

Coach was asked about the D-line, and said that there aren't any in this class because he felt like it was addressed last year.  He would like a long pass rusher and apparently they are on the case.

Lee, Perce and HS QB Bryce Veasley will enroll early and be eligible for fall ball.  That's important, because the first two should have key roles and Veasley is likely our backup QB.

Just from my opinion, this looks to be a very good class.  Of the things you can doubt about this staff, you can't doubt their recruiting.  They are bringing in players that other teams want.  Coach said after the season that he was going out to make sure he held onto the guys we had, and he got it done.  He deserves credit for that.  Today, he said he also wanted to persuade them to sign early, which he had a high success rate at.

And he did that coming off a 2-10 season and a lot of negativity in the air.  Clearly, he has the ability to communicate a vision and build confidence, and that's really important.  People wondered if recruits would defect and they did not, despite what had to have been negative recruiting out there.

Recruiting is a big part of college football, but not all of it.  While other questions remain unanswered, this one is clearly a strength.  I remain hopeful that the defense will be shored up next year and the offense will continue to mature and that we are a couple years away from relevance.

Lastly, Coach had identified one more recruiting task, which was to "recruit" his wife and keep her "in the boat."  Hopefully, she doesn't have to row.  It's a funny end to the presser, but this coaching gig has got to be tough on a marriage.

For reference, here is the Blade's coverage and BGSU's official release.

Follow BGSU Football Signing Here

So, today is the big day...the first early national signing day.  Going to be very interesting to see how this plays with February...I'm guessing this gets to be the big day...but time will tell.  Anyway, the BG twitter feed will stream below if you want a central place to follow it.  Jinks presser at 11 which can be watched on Facebook Live.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Falcon Football Verbal WR

Falcons have an additional football verbal ahead of signing day tomorrow.  This young man is Julian Ortega-Jones of Fort Worth, TX.  He's 6'2" and 185 pounds, and he's a 2-star recruit on 24/7, which says he once committed to Louisiana-Monroe, and also had offers from Army, Illinois State, Navy, New Mexico State, and Utah State, along with some FCS.

I'd go into the whole thing, but we'll have a full bio on him tomorrow.

Welcome to the Falcons, Julian. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Wagner: Carl Pelini to be Falcon DC UPDATED

So you wanted a new defensive coordinator?  How do you feel about Carl Pelini?  A guy who never, in his life, has worked in the state of Texas.  In fact, who is from Ohio.  Well, that's who it is going to be.

Carl Pelini ticks a lot of the boxes that people have been looking for.  Unlike the rest of the staff, he's been a D1 assistant for 13 years.  He was DC at Nebraska for his brother, was a head coach at FAU and then has been the DC at Youngstown State, also for his brother.  So, you know, he has actually held the job that he is taking at BG, I believe the only coach on our staff who can say such a thing.  He also coached at Ohio U (for Solich), which gives the staff badly needed MAC coaching experience as well.

So what have the results been like?   Well, they were #20 in FCS in scoring defense this year (19 ppg), were #12 the year before that and #45 the year before that.  This year, they were #9 in pass defense, #1 in passing yards allowed and #20 in total defense.

In short, this is a guy who has shown that he has the ability to create effective defenses, again, more so than anyone else on the BG staff.

I have to say, when I first saw this on twitter a few minutes ago, I was very pleased.  Seems like the perfect guy to me and represents a serious effort to shore the staff up.  I think our offense is on the right track and even an incremental improvement in defensive play significantly changes the team's outlook, even as talent continues to be rebuilt.

UPDATE:  The Blade's story is out, including that BG has not confirmed the hire.  To that point, both Jordan Strack and Thomas Schmeltz reported on twitter that the deal is not done.  Their reports say that there have been talks and a decision could come soon....that Pelini is the first choice but that he hasn't made a decision yet.

We shall see.   We have seen.  The deal is officially announced.

Also, it is worth noting that when Pelini left FAU there were allegations of drug use against him.  According to The Blade, he has passed drug tests at Youngstown State.

Football DeCommits

A couple de-commits from the football front.  Per the Blade, Luke Sowa, a JUCO TE who only recently had committed is now heading to Iowa State, and DE Antonio Smith from Westerville is headed to the Air Force Academy.

Best of luck to both of these young men.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Football Opponents Released

Getting back into the swing of things...a few days ago the BG football opponents for 2018 were announced.  It looks just slightly more manageable than last year's schedule, maybe.  But not that much.  Schedule-wise, BG will continue to have a hard time posting a winning record.

The big news is BG will have a Big 10 opponent at the Doyt, which is always fun.  Last time that happened was the "train has left the station" win over Indiana.  This time, it is Maryland on September 8...of course, BG beat Maryland as well in 2015.  Maryland is coached by DJ Durkin, who played for us, as well.

The season opens at Oregon, which will be Mario Christobal's first regular season game as head coach.  Maryland is Week 2, followed by Eastern Kentucky at the Doyt.  They were 4-7 last year.  BG will round out the non-conference schedule at Georgia Tech, which plays an offensive style that we traditionally have struggled with, see 2015 GoDaddy Bowl for reference.

Anyway, that's not as tough as this year's schedule was.  It's not easy, but not as bad as this year.  Oregon is not what they once were, Georgia Tech is not MSU or Northwestern.  On the other hand, there's no G5 team in there.  Maryland at home will be interesting...but the Terps will still be heavily favored, especially since BG lost all their home games in 2017...BG could still leave that first set of games 1-3.

In conference, BG draws tough cross-over games.  Of course, for teams in the East right now, all the cross-over games are tough.  EMU and NIU are replaced by WMU and CMU.  Toledo is a protected rivalry, of course.  We play WMU at home and CMU and UT on the road.  All those are going to be tough.

For the East, Buffalo, Kent and Miami will be at home.  Kent's issues have been well documented and Miami appeared to be on the mend this year but took a step back and I think Buffalo has a good shot at breaking out this year. Kent and Miami were BG's only 2017 wins.

For the road games, BG will play Akron and Ohio, the two top teams in the East this year.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Davidson Makes Second-Team All-American

So big news for the Falcon football program, as Joe Davidson was named second-team Academic All-American.  It is the third time he has been an Academic All-American.

He is the 7th Falcon to win the award three times.

He was a terrific Falcon, on and off the field.  He finished fourth in NCAA history in punting average among those with at least 250 career punts.  He made our program proud.

In fact, 10 Falcons made All-MAC Academic, including Davidson.

Caleb Bright, Bowling Green, R-Freshman, 3.555 GPA, Criminal Justice (Urbandale, Iowa)

+Clark Clancy, Bowling Green, Senior, 4.00 GPA, Master's in Business Administration (Troy, Mich.)

+^#Joseph Davidson, Bowling Green, Senior, 3.957 GPA, Finance/Mathematics (Findlay, Ohio)

+^#Ryan Hunter, Bowling Green, Senior, 3.831, Criminal Justice (North Bay, Ontario)

Cam Jefferies, Bowling Green, Sophomore, 3.380 GPA, Supply Chain Management (Painesville, Ohio)

+^#Nate Locke, Bowling Green, Senior, 4.000 GPA, Psychology (Canton, Ohio)

Grant Loy, Bowling Green, R-Freshman, 3.303 GPA, Pre-Construction Management (New Washington, Ohio)

+James Morgan, Bowling Green, Sophomore, 3.871 GPA, Individualized Planned Program (Green Bay, Wisc.)

+^Trevor Roop, Bowling Green, Senior, 3.838 GPA, Public Health (Convoy, Ohio)

Gabe Skrobot, Bowling Green, R-Freshman, 4.00 GPA, Biology (Zanesville, Ohio)

+ 2016 Academic All-MAC Selection
^ 2015 Academic All-MAC Selection
#2014 Academic All-MAC Selection
* 2013 Academic All-MAC Selection

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Falcons have WR Commit

So, BG has a new commit, a WR from Houston, TX named Noah Massey.  A few things.  First, he's listed on 24/7 as a 3-star composite recruit, which is good.  Recruiting is the thing going well, and it is good to see Coach continuing to recruit high-quality players despite the evident lack of results on the field to date.

The thing you notice first is his size.  He is 6'3" and 215, which is a good size for a WR.  Apparently, on the tape he has online, he plays on the line like a TE, as well as on the slot and outside.  That's pretty interesting.  Obviously, a guy of that size who can run routes presents matchup issues for defenses, and you'd have to think the slot and red zone would be good examples of where you could put that to work.

24/7 only reports him as having two offers:  North Texas and Texas Southern.  Sometimes those aren't complete or accurate.  As a JR, he caught 27 passes but had 617 yards on those catches, that's 22.8 per catch, and 6 TDs.

This was a good HS team.  They were undefeated and lost in the state playoffs on 12/2.

Welcome to the Falcons, Noah

Monarchs Put Falcons in Pit of Misery

Ouch.  There's not much of a way to make that any better.  ODU, a high-quality veteran team took a very young Falcon team to school last night in Norfolk.

The final score, 88-46, was exactly indicative of the game that occurred.

It was BG's worst defeat since 2008 (the first Orr year), when they lost to a Buffalo team that ended up with only 3 MAC wins on the year.  Their .65 points per possession is the worst since that 45-36 game against NIU in 2014.

It was 29-21 with 4 minutes left in the first half.  In 24 minutes, they outscored BG 59-25.

The stats are what you would expect in a game with this kind of margin.

Justin Turner had 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting, but beyond that everyone pretty much struggled equally.

A couple notes.  Derek Koch did not play due to injury.  If there has been anything on his prognosis, I have not seen or heard it.

BG now has a long break for finals, which are next week.  BG's next game is December 21 at Green Bay.  I'm sure they'd rather jump back onto the horse.  Anyway, not much more to say about this one.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Monarchial Preview

So, BG heads back to Norfolk for what, on paper, is their toughest assignment of the year.  The Old Dominion Monarchs are #75 in the country and the highest ranked team on BG's schedule.  They play in C-USA, where they were third last year and picked 4th this year. 

They were 19-12 last year, and have 3 starters back from that team.

They are 6-3 to start the year.

Wins over Towson (105), Dayton (109), Indiana State (178), Richmond (213), @James Madison (260),  and Maryland Eastern-Shore (343).

Losses to Temple (42), @William & Mary (186), @VCU (86).

This is going to be a very tough assignment, beyond more than their ability.  We saw what happened when BG played Evansville, and they are very similar to the Purple Aces in style plus they are better plus the game is on their home floor.

They are the #87 offensive team in the nation and the #53 defensive team.  As you can see here, their offense is as good as the BG's defense has been bad, but they are very, effective on defense, where BG has excelled.

So what do they do well on offense?  They are just a touch above average on shooting but they take excellent care of the ball and are a good rebounding team.  They are not great on FTs....they don't get to the line that much and are below average at making FTs.

As for their shot profile, much like Evansville, they are 308th in 3FG attempts and #215 in making them.  If you see them starting to drill them like crazy, you know the same game is at it again.  The other battle point will be on the boards.  They are very physical and if BG can complete stops with the defensive rebounds, they can try to influence the tempo.

On defense, they are on the plus side of everything.  They are #78 on defending the shot, #101 in forcing turnovers, #94 on their own defensive boards and #39 in keeping teams off the free throw line.  They allow only 41% on 2FGs, which is the 9th best in the country.

Their leading scorer is 6'5" R-Jr BJ Stith.  He is a transfer from Virginia who is scoring 14.2 PPG on 47% shooting overall but 48% from 3FG.  He also averages 5.9 RPG.

Next they have Ahmad Caver, who is scoring 12.3 PPG.  He's not an efficient scorer, shooting 40% overall and a very poor 28% from 3FG.  He's the PG, getting 6.2 APG.  He is a 6'2" JR who was third-team All-CUSA last year.

Their third leading scorer is 6'10" R-Jr Trey Porter, who transferred from George Mason.  He's scoring 11.7 PPG on 63% shooting, 4.7 RPG and 20 blocked shots in 9 games, averaging only about 21 minutes.

Randy Haynes is also scoring in double figures at 11.7 PPG, pretty inefficiently at 42% and 32%.  He is a 6'4" JR G who played JUCO ball.

Brandon Stith is their leading rebounder at 6.3 RPG.  He's a 6'7" R-SR who transferred from East Carolina and is the brother of the previously mentioned BJ Stith.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Purple Aces do "Whatever they want"

Last night was shaping up to be an excellent look at where we truly are, as BG faced off against one of their better non-conference opponents, a team that barely beat us last year.  That's a team without their leading scorer, that came in struggling to score points...but also a team that is well coached and knows exactly what they want to do, which is employ old-school Indiana motion offense and man to man defense and just shred Bowling Green, especially on defense.

The final was 91-76.  Yes, the Purple Aces benefitted from incredibly hot shooting, but to focus on that would minimize the number of times they had wide open layups and 3FG shots.  They would get into that rhythm with the motion offense and just keep working in and then sooner or later someone would miss an assignment and then the motion would kick in and they move the ball really well and it would find someone who was wide open.

It was BG's worst defensive game of the season, and exceeded last year only by UC and the football player OU game.  Even after that, you could see this trend coming.  BG allowed 1.3 points per possession in this game, but Abilene Christian got 1.25 and Lake Erie 1.21.  San Jose State turned into an offensive juggernaut for part of the game, as did Norfolk State.

As Justin Turner told The Blade after the game, "we've got a lot of cleaning up to do on the back end."

Now that this is on film, it is going to be exploited, especially in conference play.  It is a good time to remember how young this team is and that while we can see promise they are still young.  How young?  Based on kenpom, we are the 8th youngest team in D1.

The Evansville shooting was absolutely incredible.  They shot 80% from 3--12 of 15--and 61% overall.  That's an EFG of 71.4%, exceeded last year only by the football OU game and then before that in 2012 by Morehead State.

That's how well they shot.  Here's another thing...they did turn the ball over too much and they didn't get to the line a lot and they were nothing special on the offensive boards, but none of that could counteract their shooting.

BG's offense was pretty good.  BG had 1.08 ppp, a good total though their lowest since the FGCU game.  BG's field goal shooting was 47% and 32%, which are not awful numbers.  They took excellent care of the ball and got to the line a ton (I swear Evansville fouled every time we got downcourt), but that couldn't make up for it.  For one thing, BG only got a few offensive rebounds and made only 67% of their free throws as opposed to 85% for Evansville.

If we don't see Dru Smith anytime soon, that's OK with me.  Guy had 25 on 11 of 13 shooting, 8-8 from 2FG, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.

For BG, Justin Turner scored again, getting 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 6 from 3FG.  Frye had 14 on 5 of 10 shooting, but was 1 of 5 from 3.  Dude slips down the baseline like a piece of paper slipping under a door.  He also had 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

Cummings had 13 off the bench on 4 of 9 shooting and Koch had 11 on 4 of 6 shooting.  Wiggins had 11 of BG's 22 total rebounds...of course, you don't get many defensive rebounds when the other team doesn't provide any missed shots.

One thing I heard from Coach Huger and online was that the 2-day turnaround is tough for a young team to prepare for a team like Evansville.  I suppose that was a factor, but I do think that they seized on something that has been emerging as an issue.  I know this is a focus for Coach, so you'd like to see that improve over the course of the year.  Conference foes will relentlessly go at a weakness like this.

BG does not play at home again until December 28.  In the meantime, they continue their commute to Norfolk with their second straight weekend trip there, this time to play Old Dominion, the top-ranked team on the schedule (and hopefully on a home-home for next year).  There's a trip to Green Bay to play a down team and that's it between now and Christmas.  Hopefully, with some practice time freed up, Coach can address some of the defensive issues.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Purple Ace Preview

So, next up are the Evansville Purple Aces.  This is a very interesting matchup and I'm looking forward to it.  First of all, this is an iconic mid-major program from the heart of basketball-land.  Two years ago they had back to back 25+ win seasons, they won the CIT in 2015.  Plus they used to wear t-shirts as their uniform.

What will be truly interesting today is that they are going to present a stylistic challenge to the Falcons.  More on that in a second.

They were 8th in the MVC last year, lost 3 starters from that team and were picked to be 8th again.

BG played them last year in Evansville.  It was a very tough game with the score tied with 2:32 left but then the Aces pulled away to win by 3, with BG rimming out a three at the buzzer that would have sent the game to OT.

They are 6-2 this year with a Kenpom of 151.  They have five relatively non-descript wins, over Arkansas State, North Carolina Central, SMO, Binghampton and Oakland City, all at home.  They played in Cancun and really represented, beating a really good Fresno State team and losing in a close game to a very good Louisiana Tech team.  They also lost @New Mexico by 19.

That last one is significant because it is the first game they played without their leading scorer Ryan Taylor, who is out six weeks with an injury.

Here's why I think the styles will be interesting.  BG has played an uptempo game this year.  They are #38 in the nation in possessions per game.  Conversely, there are not enough Ooooooo's in sloooooooooww to describe how Evansville plays.  They are 330 out of 351 in possessions per game.  They are tied with Wisconsin....that's how slow we are talking.  So that's one.

The other is that BG has been successful by scoring points and making baskets.  BG scores 1.1 points per possession, which is #69 in the country.  Evansville allows .93, which is #38 in the country.  On the other side, they are also a below average offensive team whereas BG is below average defensively.

Evansville--even with Taylor for 6 games this year--is not a great offensive team.  They are 200th in EFG, #288 in turnovers and #215 in offensive rebounding.

They don't take a lot of 3s (#318) but they are #8 at making them when they do.  After our experience with San Jose State (and their similar approach), this should make us nervous.  Beyond that, the Aces do get to the line and make an excellent 77% when they are there.

As identified, here is the key place for the game.  BG's offense meets the Purple Ace defense.  As you can see, while Evansville is pretty good guarding the shot, they really excel at forcing turnovers and not sending teams to the line, which is an unusual combination.  They are #32 in forcing turnovers and #20 in keeping opponents off the line.  Those happen to have been two things BG has been really good at.  BG is #32 at not turning the ball over and #92 at getting to the line.  Again, this has the potential to be a pretty interesting matchup.

The Ryan Taylor thing is nothing to sneeze at.  He's averaging 21 a game and will be out.  They have only two other double-figure scorers.  One is Blake Simmons, who is scoring 10 PPG, including 49% 3FG shooting.  The other is Dru Smith, who is scoring 10 PPG on 61% shooting.  Since Taylor's injury, KJ Reilly has picked up some of the slack.  Danius Charkevicius is a 6'9" Lithuanian who leads the team in rebounds.

So, this will be a good match up.  Looking forward to seeing it unfold.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

MAC Bowl Lineup

Dollar General (Mobile):  UT vs. App. State (8-4, Sun Belt Champ)
Bahamas Bowl:  Ohio U vs. UAB  (8-4 in C-USA after resurrecting program)
Potato Bowl:  CMU vs. Wyoming (7-5 in MWC)
Boca Raton:  Akron vs. FAU (10-3, C-USA Champ)
Quick Lane:  NIU vs. Duke (6-6 in ACC)

So, there's the lineup.  This was a year with a surplus of bowl-eligible teams---there were three extras, and the teams not to advance were Buffalo, WMU and UTSA, which is heavy on the MAC.

The biggest thing I am seeing is that fans are not understanding why the MAC didn't fill the Camellia Bowl with one of those two teams, given that Camellia is a bowl tie-in.  Jordan Strack commented on twitter that the MAC might have traded the Boca Raton bowl for the Camellia bowl, which is fine though I don't know what makes one better than the other.

Maybe more will come out on that.  Of course, the Boca Raton bowl is now a Florida Atlantic matchup that will feature Kiffin vs. Bowden, which I suspect is something that they think might attract some kind of audience.

There is just one P5 hookup, and that's in Detroit at the Quick Lane Bowl, with NIU playing Duke.  This is what you get...a good G5 team or a mediocre P5 team.  This is winnable.

The UT-App State game promises to be a good one.  They played a highly competitive and entertaining 2016 Camellia Bowl.

I'm a little nervous about the FAU-Akron game.  Might be a good story, but I fear an Owl rout in that one.

UAB is an interesting story in that their program was shut down only a couple of years ago, and yet the program has eight wins and is back in a bowl game, which is impressive.

Wyoming is interesting in that they are coached by Craig Bohl, who won 3 straight NCAA titles at North Dakota State.  They were 2-10 a couple years ago but won 8 games last year and 7 this year.

So, that's the lineup.  Actually, in the sense that there is only 1 Sun Belt game I think it marks an upgrade in bowl opponents.

Falcons Nab JUCO LB

So, with the early signing period, we are starting to see some activity, not unlike the last couple of weeks before the February signing date.  BG has its second JUCO commit of the day.

This young man is Brandon Perce of Rochester Community and Technical College, which is in Rochester MN.  He's a MLB who lists himself as 5'11 and 220 pounds.

He's a highly productive player.  In his sophomore year, (this year), he averaged over 14 tackles per game with 4.5 sacks and 3 Fumbles forced.  His FR year he had 90 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 INT.  Those numbers were racked up in 9 game seasons.

His twitter profile says he was a 2x NJCAA All-American LB.  In 2016 he was honorable mention All-American for NJCAA.  The 2017 is from "Gridiron RR" which named him 2nd team All-American.  The NJCAA list does not appear to be out, so he might make that team, too.

According to this, he is the #11 MLB in JUCO ball, and had offers from BG, Marshall, Prairie View and Alabama A&M.

He is a December graduate, so will be in BG for Spring Practice.  Obviously, with Nate Locke's graduation, BG is in need of a MLB.  It will be interesting to see if he steps in right away.

Welcome to the Falcons, Brandon.

Falcon FB JUCO Verbal

BG has a JUCO Commit announced above a little while ago.  Luke Sowa is a TE who is 6'3" and 245.  According to his profile on Twitter, he went to UConn as a preferred walk on, earned a scholarship which he then lost during a Coaching change.  His bio at UConn indicates he was a LB there.  He went to Butler Community College, which is in Kansas and played one year.  He played in 7 games and caught 3 passes.  It could very well be that he is slated to be the Skattebo/Folkerstma TE/H-back type guy.

By the way, his last HS in NJ was The Gunnery, which sounds totally bad ass but is actually just founded by a dude named Gunn in 1850.  (Alumni include Edsel Ford II and recently-in-the-news NBC Chief Andrew Lack).

Based on the timing, I'm expecting him to be in for January and spring ball.

Welcome to the Falcons, Luke.