So you are no doubt acquainted with BG's losing streak to UT in football. You may be less acquainted with the streak when you add men's and women's basketball in. It isn't good. Toledo has won the last 5 and the last win for BG at Savage was in 2011.
At the end of a pretty down presser after the NIU loss, Coach Huger had a laugh about it, saying that BG usually comes to play against Toledo, but it would depend on which BG team shows up. He said it would make us hard to prepare for, because "if I don't know, they sure don't know."
One thing....as far as I can tell when Chris Kingston left we got to unburden ourselves from #talonsup and all the coaches could stop saying "the school up North," which was stolen from Woody Hayes anyway. So, maybe that will help us turn it around. The football team certainly brought its "A" game into the Glass Bowl, but, alas, it wasn't enough.
Whether it will be on Tuesday remains to be seen. If the BG team shows up from the EMU and NIU games, I can 100% guarantee you it will not be enough, but let's hope Coach is able to get these guys to bring their games around. Right now, we're not any better than we were when he got here.
UT is 9-8 on the year and 2-2 in MAC play. In common opponent land, they beat Detroit, as BG did, and they also beat Evansville, which BG did not. They also lost to Green Bay, which BG also did.
In the MAC, they beat Buffalo and Miami at Savage and then lost @WMU and @CMU. They have a kenpom of 139 as opposed to BG's 249 and they are heavy favorites in this one.
That fear is reinforced here. They are very strong offensively. They are the #75 most efficient offense in D1, and, as you can see, BG's defense has continue to slip in MAC play. (BG is #222 in the nation). This is exactly what Coach Huger was complaining about during the NIU presser. Anyway, the problem is UT scores well and we are currently easy to score against....AND then the reason UT is 9-8 and 2-2 is that they are relatively easy to score against (worse than BG) but BG's offense is #251 in the country, so will the Falcons be able to take advantage?
Note. UT plays at NCAA-average tempo, so it is an execution thing as opposed to a tempo thing.
On offense, UT excels really in two areas...they are a very strong shooting team (#54) and they are really good at getting to the line (#30)....and average at making them. They combine that with not having any real weaknesses....on turnovers and offensive rebounding they are right on the national average. The worrisome thing is the shooting, because BG has been poor in that area. The other areas are pretty close and if playing well, BG would hope to keep them off the line.
As for shot selection, UT takes a normal amount of 3FGs for a D1 team. They 35.2%, which is a little above average. Where they excel is shooting the 2FG, which they are #39 in the country at. In 3 of BG's last 4 games, the Falcons have been terrible defending the 2 and they had better have that sorted out....this team is not NIU.
UT is also easy to shoot against. They are #306 in defending the 2FG and it is my view that this is the challenge for BG. The Falcons just have to get this part of the game going. I know Coach Huger says we need stops to get the offense going and that's fine, but BG isn't going to beat anyone scoring like they did (or didn't) last week. UT also rarely forces turnovers--they are among the bottom five in the country in that stat. However, they take good care of the defensive boards (#20) and don't let teams get to the line (#97).
The top player for the Rockets is Steve Taylor, Jr. The Marquette transfer is scoring 15 PPG on 53% shooting and also averaging over 11 RPG per game. He's #5 in the nation in rebounds, #2 in defensive rebounds and #3 in double-doubles. He's 6'9", 240 lbs and a SR...and projects to be a lot for BG to handle. Jonathan Williams is #23 in the nation in scoring at 21.1 PPG. He is efficient, shooting 47% and 39%, both of which are really good. Also, 80% from the line.
Jaelan Sanford--a 6'4" SO from Evansville--is scoring 14 PPG on 42% and 36%, which is obviously less efficient.
So there you have it. Rivalry game. Be a GREAT time for the Falcons to get well. And it is certainly possible, with a new focused team, if Coach Huger can get them there. A win is badly needed. A loss means you fall to 1-4 and even a home game in round one starts to get unlikely. Lots of basketball to be played, though. Still time to change what direction we are headed.