Friday, December 02, 2022

Morgan State MBB Preview

 So, BG hits their next game with a five-game losing streak and playing pretty poorly.  This is a game you'd expect to win, but you never know...

The play in the MEAC.  While they made their tournament in 09 and 10, they were 13-15 last year.  They were picked #4 in the conference this year in their official poll.  Blue Ribbon had them #2.

They are 3-5 overall, 1-5 in D1 play.  That win was over a decent Utah Valley team (148) in OT.  They lost @Akron by 6 and to Queens by 10 on a neutral floor. 

They have played BG once, with BG beating them in 2016 at the Stroh by 90-58.  Matt Fox (!!) led BG with 18 points.

They are coached by Kevin Broadus, who rained scandal down upon Binghampton.

When you look at their numbers, it is important to keep an eye on their schedule, which is #28 in the country, excluding the non-D1 games, which are also excluded from the team stats.

Profile-wise, they are not a good offensive team, scoring .91 points per possession.  Even adjusted for their schedule, it is .95.  They are #333 in the country in offense. The primary issue is shooting, where they are #309, which is bad but not as bad as BG.

They take only 27% of their shots from 3FG, which is the 13th lowest in the country. They actually aren't bad on the 3s they do take, at 35%, which is probably a reflection of decent shot selection.  They are terrible on 2FGs at 43% and #332 in the country....worse than BG. 

Unlike BG, they combine poor shooting with 22% turnovers, #317 in the country.  They also do not get to the line and make only 65% when they do.  The only positive offensive stat is offensive rebounding, where they get 33%, #70 in the country.  BG is really good on the defensive boards, allowing only 24%, so that should be an interesting part of the battle.

But, big picture, if Morgan State is making shots we have a problem....and BG is #312 at defending the shot.

On defense they are not as bad on defense, at 102.7, which is #202 in the country.  Of course, BG is #267 in scoring. They are really good at defending the 3FG (#75) but not good at the 2FG, which is #274.  Importantly, they force turnovers on 26% of possessions which is #17 in the country.  So decent against the shot and a lot of turnovers.  What could go wrong?  Well, they are #362 in protecting their defensive boards (probably due to their pressure defense) and they are #358 in allowing teams to the FT line.

They are led by Isaiah Burke, a 6'1" Sr. G who also has been at Morgan his entire career.   He is scoring 17.7 a game at 45% on 2FG and a scorching 48% on 3FG and 9 rebounds a game.

Next is Malik Miller, scoring 15 a game, but at 44% and 11% shooting.  He is a 6'4" SR G and has played at Morgan State his entire career.

Their next leading scorer averages 8 a game.

So, we shall see.  BG is playing poorly.  At home, this should not be a discussion, but it is.  

Thursday, December 01, 2022

MAC Football Awards

The MAC Football awards are in and it was a good day for four Falcons, who received recognition that was well-deserved.

Karl Brooks was BG's only first team selection.  He lost out on defensive player of the year to Jose Ramirez of EMU, who actually led the MAC in sacks and TFL.  We didn't play EMU, so we aren't familiar with him but he also had a monster year.

On the second team were Odieu Hilaire, Taron Keith as a returner, and Christian Sims as TE.

BG had no one on the third team.

Congrats to all of them.  These awards are well-deserved.

As the BG release points out, the Falcons had the lowest number of honorees despite being one of five currently bowl eligible teams. It is odd.  I looked through the stats.  We don't have guys who have big numbers, even on defense.  These are the coach's rankings, so you wouldn't expect them to be too number driven, but it is a fact. 

Based on PFF rankings, Jakari Robinson was the #8 lineman in the MAC, and Jordan Anderson was #5 D-back, both using the 50% usage threshold.  FWIW.

And I agree that DJ Irons is a poor pick for #3, McDonald and Schlee both could have made strong arguments for the spot.

In fact, Karl Brooks was a PFF All-American and graded out the highest in the MAC on the d-line.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

MBB Defeated Again

 BG MBB fell again last night, their fifth straight.

We lost to Queens University of Charlotte, a team ranked higher than us on kenpom.  They were a DII team last year, but this is a well-coached team with good players.  They beat Marshall (picked #6 in Sun Belt) and are #206 in kenpom.  They also beat Morgan State, who we play Saturday.

The issue isn't Queens...only 5 teams in the MAC have a better kenpom today...the issue is why is BG ranked #286, our lowest in the history of the ranking.  Why aren't we beating the #206 team in the country on our floor?  It doesn't matter if it is Queens, Norfolk State (similarly ranked, also on our schedule) or High Point...whatever.

I listened to Todd Walker and Coach Huger after the game.  They discussed what appeared to me to be the difference in the game...which is that we don't finish at the rim and Queens did.

The Royals made 51% of their 2FGs and BG made 46%.  You could see it...BG just doesn't make what Coach Orr called "zero footers."  We just don't make those shots and it costs us games.

Here's why.  We are a terrible 3-point shooting team. The NCAA average is 33% and we have made under 30% for each of the last 5 games. Last night it was 19%.  We are #327 in the country in 3FG shooting.

Which means we need to score with 2FGs. Across the NCAA, 38% of shots are 3FGs.  BG takes 34% and took 30% last night.  That's logical, given our lack of success from 3FG.

To succeed that way, you need to make 2FGs at a good clip.  The NCAA average is just under 50% and as mentioned, we made 46%.  We have been over the NCAA average only once this season.  And that's the succeed with our shot mix you'd need to be above average.

We had this same dynamic when Orr was here...heavy 2FG focus and not making them at a high rate.

To illustrate, Ayers, Towns and Turner were 8 of 27 on 2FGs last night.

The other issue is just winning basketball.  After playing a lackluster first half, BG actually played with some energy in the second half.  We trailed by 9 at the half, but several times got the game within 1 point in the second half, but never tied or took the lead.  There was always an untimely turnover or missed shot and then Queens would come down and score.

But the key illustration came with :39 left.  We are down 3.  Get a stop and we have a shot to win the game.  Apparently, there was some confusion and one of our players thought we needed to foul and did foul and that was it.  We lost by 6.

Coach talked about it after the game.  We need to be smarter than that, he said.  Claims it was talked about in the huddle.  

I would just ask this....would Kent, Akron or Toledo have done that?

It's discouraging. That's 5 losses in a row...yes a couple tough games but winnable home games as well.  The schedule gets even softer from now until the end of the year...and it's possible BG only loses once from now until then.  It's also possible BG hits conference play 5-8 with 3 D1 wins.

Monday, November 28, 2022

MBB Preview: Queens University

So, if you never heard of Queens University until they popped onto our MBB schedule, that would make two of us.

They are located in Charlotte and are the Royals.

It was a woman's school that changed its name to Queens in 1912 and then started to admit men after World War II.

It is a small school, with 2,400 students.  

Like USI, they are in their first year of D1 competition, and will be eligible for the NCAA tournament after Ohio State goes through two more Presidents. 

They qualified for the DII tournament 15 times, making the final four twice, most recently in 2018.  Last season they made the regional final.  Their previous coach, Bart Lundy, is now coach at Milwaukee.  Grant Leonard, his longtime assistant, is now head coach.  He got off to a rough start, getting a DWI right as the season was beginning and was suspended for the first five games.

They play in the ASUN, where they were picked #13 in the pre-season poll. 

They are 5-2 this year, but 3-2 against D1 competition. They beat Marshall (115), Green Bay (358) and Morgan State (266), with losses to LaSalle (201) and George Mason (130). Their kenpom is 211.  Kenpom gives BG a 51% chance to win.  Queens is 0-2 on the road.

They play at 67 possessions per game, which is slower than the NCAA average.  As you can see below, they are a strong offensive team--top 100 in D1.  BG, as we know, struggles to defend.  On the other side, they are not great defensively and BG is not great at scoring.  I guess you could look at it like we know how the left side will go....about 72 points per the Royals and can BG get to 72.

They combine great shooting and great offensive rebounding to get their points. They shoot a lot of 3FGs--44% of their shots.  They aren't great--32% of them are made, below national average.  However, they make 56% of their 2FGs, which is #38 in the country.  They are #18 on the offensive boards, which makes up for a terrible record on turnovers. They do get to the line.

They are not great on defense. They are easy to shoot on, don't force turnovers and are pretty average on the offensive boards.  They don't give up many FTs.  They are more vulnerable to the 2FG.  The question here is whether BG can make shots.  BG is #310 in the nation in EFG.

Individually, their leading scorer is Kenny Dye, who scores 16.7 PPG on 57% on 2FG and 42% on 3FG. He also averages 5 assists per game. He's a 6'0" SR G.

AJ McKee is their second leading scorer at 12.6 PPG on 56% and 33% shooting. He's a 6'2" G.

Jay'Den Turner is scoring 11.9 PPG on 51% and 27% shooting and a 7.1 RPG.  He's a 6'5" Jr.

Gavin Rains gets 9.5 RPG and is number 64 i the country in offensive rebounding. He's a 6'7" Jr.

Look, this is similair to USI.  This team is new to D1 but brings a track record of success from DII, have DI wins this year and should give BG all it can handle tomorrow.  That's not a great statement about where we are, but it is an accurate expectation.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Past and Future Opponent Land

There are 79 bowl eligible teams right now, with UB playing for eligibility against Akron.  So 2 or 3 five win teams with make a bowl.  MAC has 5 bowl eligible teams right now, could have 6.

CBS has BG playing Utah St. in the Potato Bowl

UCLA--(9-3) Beat Cal

EKU--(7-5)  The magic run of the Colonels ended in the first round of the FCS playoffs

Marshall--(8-4) The "could win out" Herd beat Georgia State

Mississippi State--(8-4) Won the Egg Bowl

Akron--(2-9) Blast NIU.  Suspect maybe the Huskies didn't feel like playing 

Buffalo--(5-6) Lost to Kent

Miami--(6-6) Beat BSU

CMU--(4-8) Lost to EMU

WMU--(5-7) Beat UT

KSU--(5-7) Beat CMU

UT--(7-5) Lost to WMU

OU--(9-3) Beat BG

East Vs. West: East 11, West 7

MAC vs P5: 2-19

MAC vs. G5: 6-9

MAC vs FCS: 10-2

Rough Afternoon at the Stroh for MBB

 It is tough to imagine a rougher start for BG's MBB team.  They are now 2-4 and on a 4-game losing streak where no game was closer than 9.

I talked about Southern Indiana in the preview.  This is a decent team, would be competitive in the MAC etc.  I just didn't want people to think that it was a walk-over.

Having said that...big picture, our program should have a team that beats them in our arena.  That this team lost to them was not a surprise, but we should have a team that beats Southern Indiana at home.

The first half wasn't too bad.  BG led for 11 minutes and trailed by 3 at the break, with the Falcon's largest lead at 7.

USI bolted out on an 11-4 run to build the lead to 10.  From there, it was never close again. BG got it to 7 once but most of the time it wavered between 8 and 12 points and BG never made a serious run at the Screaming Eagles.

It was a tough watch.  BG scored .8 points per possession, which was what they did against OSU this year.   Since 2002, BG has won once when scoring at this level. (2013, EMU).  It is BG's worst offensive game in the losing streak, during which we have been at our below 1 point per possession in each game.

BG shot the ball terribly. They took 40% of their shots from 3FG and made 29%--their best 3FG shooting game during the losing streak.  They made 39% from 2FG, worst of the season.  Then, add in a poor turnover game, below average offensive rebounding and not getting to the line much and then only making 62%, and you have a terrible offensive performance.

We are #243 out of 357 in offensive efficiency.  We are #306 in shooting, with #274 in 2FG and #295 in 3FG. We are #319 in getting to the line.  All of which are no surprise.

USI didn't have a great game, at .97 points per possession.  They outshot BG by a lot and made 47% of their 2FGs, which while not great was good enough.  THey also took better care of the ball, neutralized rebounding and FTs ended even.

Chandler Turner led BG with 12 points. He was 2 of 5 from 2FG and 2 of 4 from 3FG.  He also added 7 rebounds. Sam Towns had 10 on 5 of 6 shooting and 5 rebounds in a head-scratching 24 minutes. Ayers had 10 on 3 of 7 and 1 of 4 shooting.

Agee, who had been starting, had 7 rebounds in 14 minutes but missed all 6 of his shots. Curtis and Metheny struggled with their shots as well.

Just a rough effort.  BG just doesn't seem to have enough good players and lacks a strategy for putting them in a position to succeed.  Let's hope things improve or it will be a long season.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Southern Indiana MBB Preview

So, the Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles are coming to town.

First, a look at who these guys are because they are fairly new to us.

USI is outside Evansville with about 10,000 students.  Founded in 1965, it started as a branch campus of Indiana State and became its own unit in 1985. 

They are re-classifying to DI from DII, but will not be eligible for the NCAAs until 26-27.  They are playing in the OVC.  This is their first year in DI.

They were no joke in DII.  They made the tournament 29 times from 1978-2021, won it once and made the final four...four times, most recently in 2019.  They made it last year and won once before bowing out.

They are picked 7th in the OVC, with one player on the All-OVC pre-season team.

The OVC is the 28th-ranked conference.  They are often higher, like in the low 20s.

They are coached by Stan Gouard, in his second year.  He played at USI and was a two-time DII player of the year. He coached Indianapolis in GLIAC for 12 years and won 66% of his games, including numerous tournament appearances and one sweet sixteen.

They did have NCAA violations in 2009 or so and once had a post-season ban imposed by GLIAC.

They are 2-3 for the year, with 1 DI win.  They are, however, representing. They beat Southern Illinois (#98) by 18. They lost to Missouri by 6, St. Bonaventure by 14, and Notre Dame by 12.  Their kenpom is #204 and kenpom has them with a 51% chance of winning tomorrow.

They like to play fast. At 74 possessions, they like to play faster than BG does at about 71.  So if you like the pace, it will be a good game.

As we will see, USI shoots the ball really well.  However, they are just average at overall offensive efficiency--no better than BG.  They are not great on defense, where they pretty much match BG.  You can see here why it is expected to be a close game.  Because of the "Gotham Classic" we have a higher proportion of common opponents than normal.

So, USI is a really strong shooting team matched up against a BG team that is easy to shoot against. USI takes 41% of their FGA from 3FG, which is a lot. They make 39%, which is #35 in the country. They are below average on 2FGs.  They end up average on scoring because they turn the ball over a lot, they don't get offensive rebounds, and while they get to the line, they only make 67%.  

As you can see, BG doesn't really force turnovers, so we will have to see how we take advantage of them being prone to turnovers. If you see the Screaming Eagles taking care of the ball and making shots, you know we are in trouble.

USI is less good on defense.  Whether BG takes advantage of that is another matter.  This is a typical BG offensive profile.  Below average shooting...and below 30% on 3FG for the year...combined with taking good care of the ball and being good on the offensive boards.  We are not getting to the line, which I see as a reflection of impact offensive playmakers. We do make 74% when we get there.

I have to say, I am worried about whether there is a path for us to be a better-than-average offensive team.

They returned 3 starters from last year.  Jelani Simmons, their pre-season OVC player, is their leading scorer.  He's 6'5" and a SR. from Columbus. He's scoring 14.5 PPG, shooting 68% on 2FG and 43% of 3FG. 

Jacob Polakovich is the #2 scorer.  He is a 6'9" Sr. from Grand Rapids, MI. He scores 11.7 PPG on 68% shooting and 8 rebounds per game.

Trevor Lakes is also scoring 12 PPG. He is 6'8" and a grad transfer from Nebraska, where he was not really a contributor.  He played for Gouard at Indianapolis before that.  He is shooting 52% from 3FG, where almost all his shots come.  He adds 5 RPG.

Their other double-figure scorer is Isaiah Swope.  He's a 5'10 SO.  He scores 11.4 PPG, but is less efficient, making 50% on 2FG and 22% on 3FG. He shoots a lot.  He also has 5 assists per game, with a 1.7 ratio.  They have another guard off the bench with a negative ratio.

So, well-distributed scoring.  Some good length.  An experienced team.  This is a quality team.  But, to make Cleveland, we need to beat teams like this.  At home, only a win projects to BG having a successful season.

Thursday, November 24, 2022