Saturday, January 31, 2009

Falcons Win Third Straight

The Falcons went into DeKalb and won their third straight, two of which were on the road. It was the kind of win that good teams get...even though the game was on the road, NIU is having a very rough year and their leading scorer was suspended and did not play.

Yet, at halftime, NIU led by one, had shredded our D for 52% shooting while BG had made 10 turnovers, and were limited only by the fact they had missed 8 of their 10 free throws.

It was clear that NIU, who needed a win, was ready to put everything onto the floor to win today.

And the second half was much the same. In fact, BG ran out to a lead a couple of times, but NIU always closed it back, and with 6:50 left NIU got a steal and a layup and tied the game.

Bowling Green did what a good team does in that spot though, and what they might not have done back in December--went on a run to put the game away, as opposed to giving up a run that put the game away.

BG scored the next 11 points, including 5 points from Otis Polk (two of them on a JUMPER!!! NO, REALLY!), and that pretty much locked the game down.

So, no, it wasn't the toughest opponent, but this was the kind of game a good team wins, and we did.

When all was said and done, we are certainly capable of playing better. We were -6 on turnovers, which is a tough way to win. But, we held them to 39.8% shooting in the second half, hit 14 of our own 17 free throws, and that was enough for us to pull away with the win. Also, we were 7-15 from beyond the "long line" and that was a 9 point difference over NIU, too.

Nate Miller had 15 points and 9 boards, and Clements had 12 points and Otis 10. Chris Knight didn't score much, but did pick up 8 boards. (We won the second half rebounding battle 21-10.)

So, you don't play your best and win on the road. There is not a thing wrong with that. We are now 11-9 and 4-3, and things are looking much better. The East lost only one game to the West today, so there isn't much doubt that we are playing in the tougher division.

Huskie Note 2.....

Apparently their leading scorer is suspended from the game, as well.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Huskie Preview

Saturday the Falcons continue their tour through the Western Division with a trip to the MAC's loneliest outpost, DeKalb, Illinois.

Any conversation has to start with the idea that the Huskies are just not having a very good season. According to the RPI they are ranked #330 in the nation, and there are only about 340 D1 basketball teams. Even if you think the RPI is all jacked up, (like, it is underranking them by 10% and they are actually only the 300th team in the country), the basic point still stands.

They were smoked at home by CMU (apparently prompting Coach Patton to apologize to fans).

They are 6-12 against a very soft schedule. (On the other hand, they only won six games last season). In fact, they have not beaten a team with an RPI of 242, such as Chicago State or Indiana State. In other words, none of their wins are against teams even as good as Bowling Green. They have only beaten two MAC teams, the similarly challenged UT and EMU squards.

You could go on and on, but here is the place to click to get a better idea.

They have lost three times at home already. Statistically, it is hard to see exactly what the cause of their problem is (much like it was difficult to figure out how OU was doing as well as it was). They have a sub-par offense and a sub-par defense, but not SO sub-par that they should be this bad.

The biggest fear appears to be that Bowling Green will be able to pound the inside against them, and that NIU has a thin frontline corps. They have a 6'11" guy, but he apparently struggles to be aggressive and gets in foul trouble (sounds a little like Kevin Netter).

Oh, and NIU is the worst foul-shooting team in the MAC, which makes them a nice match up for us.

Anyway, this is a road game against a team that really needs a win, and there are no sure things on the road. Still, this is the kind of game a good team should just win. It would be really nice to see us show that we are at the point of development where we can swagger a little, get our first three game winning streak of the season, etc.

To do that, I just think we have to play our game. Get the ball inside, play killer D, take care of the ball, and score enough to win. Also, avoid those long droughts that have hurt us thus far on the road.

More football recruiting news

The Falcons have signed RB John Pettigrew, an all-state player from a smaller division in Cuyahoga county. He appears to have some outstanding numbers and has a rank of 67 on

Welcome aboard John. (His sister will also enroll as a track and field athlete). Welcome to them both, in fact.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rick Chryst Leaving MAC

The MAC has announced that Rick Chryst will leave the Commissioner's office at the end of his current term. He apparently does not have another job lined up, and feels the time is right.

I have no way of knowing if this is really what was going on, or if Chryst is being moved out somehow.

If you click above, you can read what Mr. Chryst feels are his accomplishments. Undoubtedly, these things are pluses. However, numerous times I have written about what I feel about the current state of MAC sports....which is not good.

In football, which I would guess Chryst feels is his calling card, because the press release from the league doesn't even mention basketball beyond Bracketbusters and TV coverage, I contend that the league is no farther ahead than it was when he arrived in 1999. He claims I-A status was in doubt, and I suppose it was, but it always is, even now.

Since the Meyer/Hoeppner/Pruitt/Pinkel teams left the MAC, football has steadily fallen. The conference has lost its last eight bowl games, is routinely ranked down with the Sun Belt conference, and is a sad imitation of what it was only a few years ago.

Meanwhile, in the name of being on TV, we have strained ties with our already tenuous fan base by playing November weekday games, often to get a game onto ESPNU, a less than national channel.

We are told that you have to be on TV to compete, but during the "TV years" we've only seen the quality of play fall.

Further, when asked about this Chryst was condascending and arrogant.

As for basketball, the story is even worse. Gone are the years of the MAC making runs in the tourney, and where we even got teams into the bubble for a second bid. We've been eclipsed by the MVC, and even the Horizon conference, based on this year's play.

Once again, in basketball, if the TV exposure was so important, why aren't the teams better?

This sounds pretty negative, and I guess I don't think the conference is looking very good right now. I do understand that TV exposure is important. But, I think when it comes to ESPNU, we should just say, no thanks, we'll play on Saturday.

A new Commissioner has the opportunity to try and turn all this around, though he will be saddled with the TV deal that Chryst just inked.

That's my opinion.

More recruiting

With signing day less than a week away, the names keep coming in. Now, we have an 0-lineman from Detroit who comes out of high school at 282 pounds. His name is Kyle Bryant. He apparently had an offer only from EMU, FWIW.

Welcome to the Falcons, Kyle.

I think that it is safe to say that some of the players who were verbals during the Brandon period will not be part of the Clawson regime. Everyone who has verballed so far and who we have not heard otherwise about is listed to the left. Each of the players who have been known publicly since the coaching change have been "ranked" players with a grade of at least 69.

Larson to have surgery

Marc Larson is slated to have surgery on his knee, according to the BG News Blog. No timetable is known. Best wishes to Marc for his recovery and quick and healthy return.

Coach Clawson introduces (most of) his assistants

The Falcons finally announced their football assistants. There are apparently a couple more to be named after signing day, but this is the bulk of them.

Most we have heard before. Warren Ruggerio will be OC. He certainly appears to have a lot of the right credentials, and has been an OC for 16 years.

On defense, as noted, Marshall refugee Shannon Morrison will be co-DC and coach the secondary, while Joe Trainer is co-DC and will coach the D-line. He is also the assistant head coach.

Doug Phillips and John Hunter are back, and Sean Spencer will coach D-tackles and coordinate special teams. Finally, John McDonnell, who was a BCS OC at WaState, will coach the offensive line.

You know, it is a little bit like recruits. These guys look good based on their promotional bios, but who wouldn't? The proof will be in the results.

Coach Clawson noted that he went with people he had worked with when he could, and this makes good sense. There are dozens of coaches out there. It doesn't seem to me like there is any other way to really know who would be good without coaching with them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The Falcons followed up on their road win at OU with a nice home win over Ball State. As I noted in the preview, Ball State's success against their MAC West brethren notwithstanding, they have struggled this year. Still, for this team there are no bad wins, and this one was a good one to get. BG is now 3-3 in the MAC.

The 62-58 final is about what we would have expected from these two defensive minded teams. It was a close game, in fact, and was within one possession in the last :30 or so. Chris Knight showed his ability with a huge block on a fastbreak for the Cardinals in the closing minute to help keep the Falcons in the lead.  As you can see below, the Falcons led most of the way, but never by very much.

Our leading scorer was....Otis POLK!! with 13 points. In fact, he was our only player in double figures.  Otis was 5-5 from the field, and 3-4 from the line, so Otis let nine shots fly tonight and eight went through the net.  Very nice.

I don't know when else he has been our leading scorer, but everyone likes to see Otis thrive.  Admit it.  Go ahead.

As you can see in the chart below, there were a couple of facets that really helped us win.  First, we shot better than we normally do--by a lot--and we also killed Ball State at the free throw line.

A couple other notes.

Dee Brown did not play at all and Marc Larson did not dress due to injury, so we ran a considerably tighter rotation then we have in other weeks.

Erik Marschall had 7 points in 11 minutes, a fine contribution off the bench.  (He also had four fouls).

Jarrod Jones, the BSU Fr. had 15 points and 8 boards, which is pretty good for a freshmen.  I'd say he is the clubhouse leader to be freshmen of the year.

So, a nice win and a pretty nice crowd given the weather and what we have been drawing.  We are back to .500 for the season, and with a "modest" two game streak, things are looking much better.  Saturday we play an NIU team that is just not real good, and who we should be able to beat, even in DeKalb.

Ball State Preview, Mini Edition

Normally I look at our opponents a little more closely, but someone hit fast forward on the life button and I'm clinging on a little it. If the weather is OK, I hope to be at AA tonight, though.

Anyway, here's a good preview to look at from Yahoo
. Essentially, despite losing their best player (Anthony Newell), Ball State is 4-1 and with a win Wednesday would be all alone in first in the West. They play a very similar style to us in that it is very defensive. Their 4-1 record shouldn't hold up too well on the run through the East. Their season rankings are not very good.

So, check it out. I'd like to think we can get back on the home winning track in this one. Every basket will count (you know what I mean, MORE than normal).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Students Question Stroh Center Fee

In other news, students showed up at a USG meeting to question a student fee that will be implemented ($60/semester) to help pay off the debt for the facility. Other questions about the center were raised to, and AD Greg Christopher was on hand to field them. Even if you think the facility is a good idea, the students seem to have asked reasonable questions, especially given that they will be footing more of the bill than I will.

Transfer Out

Cameron Madlock, who was Coach Orr's first recruit, is transferring to a JUCO in Texas, according to this story in the Sentinel. The parting appears to have been amicable. Madlock played 80 minutes last year, and I don't believe he dressed for a game this season.

All the best to him for the future.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recruiting Update....Adrian!!! Adrian!!!

BG has a verbal commitment from Dylan Farrington of Adrian, MI. He is a d-lineman and highly recruited. He is 6'5" and there is apparently ample room on that frame to put some weight in a college program. For whatever it is worth, he has high ratings from the services.

Welcome aboard Mr. Farrington.

There are other rumors I have not been able to find from an independent source. They are:

Aunre Davis.
A D-back from Warren
A TE/FB From Youngstown.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Football Verbal

Via, Jordan Roussos, Dlineman from Pittsburgh has verballed to Bowling Green. Always love to see us get guys from this area. Boys in this area are in a helmet before they are fed for the first time.

He's 6'4" and projected to play on the end. He has a Scouts grade of 74, which is pretty good for the MAC. He had some interest from Pitt, which understandably his first choice, and Army, which speaks well of his grades and discipline. He's also a good wrestler, which seems like a good thing, though I have no idea why.

I watched his video and it looks great, but everyone's does.

Anyway, welcome to the Falcons, Jordan.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Biggest Win of Season for Falcons

The Falcons picked up their biggest win of the season to date today at the convo, in a 52-51 thriller that I think Coach Orr would say pretty much represents his view of how the game of basketball is supposed to be played.

As you can see here, the game was tight all the way. This would have been an easy one to lose. With 2:50 left, OU was holding a 2-point lead on their floor, and it was gut check time for the Falcons.

Clements then nailed a trey, putting BG in the lead, but Tillman got to the line and hit two FTs, and with :50 left, the Bobcats were back in the lead. But Clements got into the paint and hit a jumper, and with :46 left BG was back in the lead.

First, Marc Larson committed his fifth foul and OU had two free throws. They missed them both, and OU fouled BG on getting the rebound. However, BG was not in the bonus, and had a possession to either run the clock out or extend the lead. We didn't score, though, and OU had a couple chances in the last few seconds. Chris Knight had a huge block on Tillman.

Say it however you like, we were able to hang on and get our first road win of the season.

There were other reasons why this win was a good one and against the odds....

We committed an astounding 24 fouls in the game. Larson fouled out in 15 minutes and Polk in 20, so our ability to stay with them on the inside game was severely compromised.

Along the same lines, OU was 19-25 from the line. Conversely, BG was 6 of 8. I doubt if there are too many games where a team holds an 11 point FT deficit and wins the game.

How did we do it?

Well, the first thing is OU shot 26.5% from the field for the game. This is pretty much a dream game for our defense. Coach Orr felt that we contested a lot of shots. In general, I think a FG% that low has to include some good looks that didn't fall, but it doesn't matter. We know our FG defense is strong, and we had to have played a role in getting that good a result. (Tillman was 3 of 15 from the field, and shot 13 free throws, consuming a huge amount of the OU possessions).

We didn't shoot very well--36%--but in this case, it was good enough to get enough FGs to win.

Nate Miller had 15/6, continuing a very productive senior season for him. Otis Polk and nine boards in his 20 minutes, which is actually very productive. Daryl Clements had 8 boards and our last five points. Moten was back in double figures with 11 points.

So, on this Saturday in Athens, our team did win without scoring or shooting well, and won before nearly 11,000 fans in Athens. It just has to be a confidence booster for our team.

So, now we head to the West, where we hope to make up some ground and at least get some victories under our belt.

I am always amazed how much better things look after a win. This is especially true with a win like that. And getting the road monkey off our back....that just can't be measured.

In the post-game, Coach Orr talked about perseverence. And this team has certainly not done that. He also talked about how the team was not desperate, with so much time to be played. Still, a 1-4 record would have made things really tough. This one earned back one of the home losses.

As I said earlier, we exceeded expectations in this one, after kind of doing what was expected for the few weeks. Looking forward to seeing more from this team.....

Well, that should help with the old confidence!

More later, but the Falcons exceeded expectations for the first time in a while with a very nice win at the Convo against the OU Bobcats, earning three stops in the last minute to put the game away.

That certainly should do wonders for their confidence, and I hope it is something for the team to build on.

Cue the banjos, Bobcat Preview

The last step on the Falcons is this trip to lovely Athens Ohio for a game with the Ohio University Bobcats.

This just doesn't get any easier.

The Bobcats, winners of 6 of their last 7, feature Jerome Tillman, early favorite to be MAC POY. He is, at the very least, the most statistically productive player in the conference, leading in scoring and rebounding. He is an inside presence, and the Falcons are going to have to have the interior D really tuned up to keep him off his game.

Beyond that, playing in the Convo in Athens is never easy. When the Bobcats are good, it gets even harder. They are 7-0 at home this year, to go with 13-1 last year. So, you know, they are tough at home.

Coming into the year, they had Jerome Tillman and that seemed like it was about it. But Justin Orr and Steven Coleman are also scoring in double figures (Orr is a sniper from beyond the arc), and their PG Michael Allen is doing a great job handling the ball.

According to this write up,
if they have a weakness, it is that they seem to always end up in heart stopping finishes, no matter how far ahead they are. Hmmm.

Anyhoo, things are good enough that Groce is actually tightening up his player rotation.

OU's numbers have improved significantly since MAC play started. Their offensive efficiency, for example, is well above what it was for the season on a whole. They shoot very well, and that includes lots of 3fgs. They are near the top in most key statistics on offense, though their defense is not as highly ranked.

So, the Falcons have their work cut out for them tomorrow at the Convo. OU is looking like they could make a run, and the place is likely to be hopping. If we're going to find a place for a first road win, this is about as unlikely a spot as it could be. Still, that's why they play the game.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nice article on Coach Clawson in Toledo Free Press

Ryan Fowler has a nice article on Coach Clawson in the Toledo Free Press, talking about NFL talent he coached at Villanova and Richmond, including Tim Hightower, the Cardinals RB. Definitely worth a read.

MAC takes non-conference beat-down

I know I post this kind of thing often, but I just feel strongly about it.

The quality of play has gotten worse in the last few years in basketball and football, and the problem is much worse and much sadder in basketball. We were, within recent memory, kind of the thinking man's mid-major. I think we were considered pretty much on par with the Missouri Valley Conference and certainly the Horizon conference.

Maybe we weren't, I don't know. But I know we aren't today.

The MAC, in their Basketball Daily, publishes the record of conference teams against each opposing conference. It just isn't pretty. I do give them credit for publishing it, however.

In total, in D1 games, the MAC has 54-90, .375.

Now, I know what the argument is...we play so many games on the ROAD. It just isn't a fair comparison.

And, obviously, playing on the road is harder. HOW much harder, of course, is up to debate.

  • But, in D-1, home games, we were 33-24, or .579.
  • In road games, we won less than a quarter, at 16-53, .232.
  • There were 18 neutral games, however. If you think those represent a fair test, well, we were 5-13 in those.

Obviously, the road games we play are likely to be against really tough teams, but, to be fair, the teams that we get to our gyms are likely to be on the weaker side, too.

Here, based on the conference RPI ratings at, are the D1 conferences, and our record against them.

  1. ACC 0-0
  2. Big Ten 0-7
  3. Big East 0-7
  4. Big 12 1-2
  5. Pac-10 0-1
  6. SEC 0-3
  7. Mountain West 1-3
  8. Missouri Valley 2-6
  9. Atlantic 10 5-13
  10. Conference USA 1-2
  11. Horizon 9-12
  12. WAC 0-0
  13. MAAC 4-2
  14. West Coast 1-1
  15. Colonial 3-6
  16. America East 0-2
  17. Sun Belt 1-3
  18. Southland 3-2
  19. MAC N/A
  20. Southern 2-2
  21. Big West 0-2
  22. Big Sky 1-1
  23. Ohio Valley 4-4
  24. Big South 3-0
  25. Patriot League 2-1
  26. Summit 2-3
  27. Atlantic Sun 0-0
  28. Northeast 2-1
  29. Ivy League 1-2
  30. Mid-Eastern 2-0
  31. Independents --
  32. SWAC 1-0

Not a good picture, is it? Place it on top of the record in Bowl Games, and you just start to see a pretty weak picture.

A few observations:

  • The MAC is 1-20 against BCS conferences...
  • and 10-44 against the top ten conferences.

The best conference we have a winning record against is the MAAC, at #13.

We had winning records against only 7 of the conferences we played, 4 of them in the bottom 12 conferences.

I could go on, but I think that the point has probably already been beaten to death.

There is parity in the MAC--but, we are not competing against the other D-1 conferences, even the ones we should be able to compete against. Somehow, over time, we've ended up at the little kid's table.

Don't get me wrong, conference basketball inside the MAC is entertaining as hell, competitive and tough. And I enjoy it a lot.

It would just be nice to see us do better against our peers and occasionally get a high quality win, even on the road. It would just make what is good even a little better.

That's all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mixed Metaphor Alert

So, I finally had a chance to listen to Coach Orr's post-game press conference. (As an aside, why don't they broadcast the presser like they do in football? Right now they have the assistants go on).

Anyhoo, it was interesting. Coach Orr views the team as building. He sees parts of the game against Miami as building as well. His point is that you have to emphasize the positive, and we did rally from a deficit and shot better than we have in the past.

He continues to harp on the defense. Says we give up too many easy shots. Anyway, give it a listen. It is a very interesting perspective.

In terms of this year we're digging a hole. I hope we're building too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Continual Trickling of Football News

Via, here are the co-defensive coordinators for Coach Clawson:

Joe Trainer, from Rhode Island with some strong I-AA ties, and Shannon Morrison, who we are rescuing from Huntington, WV, America's Butt Crack.

(Note: Morrison has been confirmed by outside media, in fact).

This co-deal seems to be a trend. It doesn't sound to me like it would work, but I guess you're dividing up a huge set of tasks, and you can slice them up however you like. And, you might have gotten somewhere here with the title.

Official announcements are expected pretty soon.

Falcons Continue to Dig Hole

Last night's game can be explained pretty simply, which is just that the RedHawks are a winning team, and made the plays they needed.

After a tight first half, they blew to a big lead by getting the first 11 points of the second half. Things stabilized from there with 10 left, they were still up 13. Showing some significant resilience, the Falcons scored the next 11 points over 3:00 or so, obviously scoring and getting s0me stops. (Nate Miller had six of those points, and the run included two old-school three point plays and one bomb).

Play was tight from there on in. Nate hit another 3 to cut the lead to one with about 3:00 left, but Miami had one of those long possessions and ended up with Bramos missing a 3, but the RedHawks grabbed the board, and their Sasquatchy center got the hoop and foul and converted. From there, it was never a one possession game again.

What would have happened if BG had won that battle of the boards, and come back down the floor down 1 with a chance to take the lead, and get the mojo going at home? Who knows? Miami can be stifling on defense.

But that's not what happened. Miami made the play and won the game.

It wasn't the only time. If there was one difference between our team and theirs is that Miami is absolutely deadly when they get around the basket. They shot 55% for the game, and finished really well around the basket. Our guys....ah, not so much. We just don't convert in the vicinity of the basket like we need to in our offense. As hard as we work for shots, to miss those has just got to suck the life out of the team.

It wasn't a terrible performance. You certainly wish we had come out of the locker room stronger, but we had our own run in their too and got the game back within reach. We didn't foul as much, and took care of the ball, at least in the second half.

One thing I noticed. We won the rebounding battle 19-9 in the first half and then virtually reversed those numbers in the second half. I'd have to go back and look, but that isn't the first time that's happened this year. We have been struggling to sustain that effort over the past few games, at least.

Obviously, you knew this was going to be a tough one. Miami is a battle-hardened team that plays their style really, really well. They also have a very good player in Michael Bramos, and their defense is very solid, and they always seem to have another defensive gear when the game is on the line.

And that's what winning teams have, and based on the MAC schedule, we are not there yet.

The Falcons are now 1-3 in the MAC. When you start with 3 of 4 at home, you can't afford to go 1-3. Especially for a team already struggling on the road. With 12 MAC games left, and only five of them at home, it doesn't take a Math Major to figure out that even a .500 record will be an accomplishment right now, and something along the lines of last year's 13-17 is not impossible. (For the record, we lost only two conference games at home last year total, and won only one road game).

Yes, I know we might feast on the East a little, but then again, so will everyone else.

But, that's how things stand right now. This is a marathon race, and there is time to try and rectify this situation. I don't think we are as bad as we look right now. Certainly, a season that is not improved over last year, with all of our players returning, would be a serious disappointment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Attending Falcon Basketball Game Elicits More Sighing....

We go to 1-3 MAC, even .500 season looms as big challenge. More tomorrow.

Orr, Moten, Clements on Obama inauguration

Excellent story in today's Blade talking to Louis Orr, Daryl Clements and Brian Moten about the inauguration of the first African-American President. It is very moving in fact, especially as Coach Orr remembers his parents, their activism, and what today would have meant to them.

Also, the story concludes with Clements explaining the Fordham incident as a "misunderstanding" and that he and Coach Jackson are closer than they were before the incident. Which takes us back to all the people on the Internets who were calling for "zero tolerance" and for Clements to be disciplined. Coach Orr knew what had to be done. This isn't a movie about people's lives---it is people's actual lives.

RedHawk Preview

Tomorrow is one of those points in a season. You can kind of just feel it.

On one hand, you have a Miami RedHawk team. One of the MAC's perennial power, and probably the best team in the conference to date. They've played a brutal pre-season schedule, and they play our kind of ball only, you know, better. Michael Bramos is probably the best NBA prospect in the MAC.

And on the other hand, you have the 1-2 Falcons, at home, and at risk of falling to 1-3 after having three MAC homes games in the early going. A team that has looked good at times, but has looked very weak in the last two games. This is a Falcon team that needs a win.

We'll see if the Falcons can turn those circumstances into a win. It is the kind of test that can define a team.

Miami is simply really tough. Their RPI is 36, and they have played the 18th toughest schedule to date, based on the numbers. Their losses this year are to UCLA, Pitt, Xavier, West Virginia, and OU, with only OU qualifying as a bad loss.

They are the most efficient defensive team in the MAC, and they are very solid against the FG, on the boards and fouling. They don't create a ton of turnovers. I have written before that I think this is the model Coach Orr has for our team.

On offense, they are stronger than us. They are the second best effective FG% team in the MAC, and have the second most efficient offense in the MAC, too.

Not to make this into a love fest, but they also have four road wins.

Michael Bramos is their top player, scoring over 17 points a game. Their second leading scorer, Kenny Hayes, however, is out for the season. Tyler Dierkers and Antonio Ballard are their top rebounders.

OK, I'm trying to make a point. If BG plays its game, I think they can win this one. For all their good losses, Miami is short on big wins, too. We're at home, and we need a win. If we "play better" as Coach Orr says, score some points, and play the game we both play BETTER than they play it, we can pick up a much needed win.

Much needed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recruiting News

Well, based on, there is at least one new Falcon coming on board. The WR Jordan Hopgood of Cincinnati Princeton. Yes, a WR named Hopgood. Great name, huh?

He had originally verballed to EMU, but switched off that. He had 51 catches and 805 yards with 3 TDs his senior year. He was all-conference, which, as you know, is something I like to see.

The article also confirms that Dwayne Woods is still planning on coming to BG, which is good news. He was an earlier verbal from the Brandon team.

The rumor is the Aunre Woods, an ATH from Bridgeport OH is coming to BG, but I can't find it confirmed anywhere. MAC schools are all over this guy, who is QB being projected to CB. We will keep an eye on it.

"We didn't play well. We have to play better"

These words kicked off Coach Orr's post-game presser. I guess you can't sum it better than that. He noted missed layups, poor shooting, and seemed at a loss to explain.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I did not know that....

Steve Spagnuolo is the genius-in-waiting, and soon to coach the Rams, leaving the NY Football Giants. And, he was an assistant at BG for two years during the Blackney era...

Football "Update"

Word on from somewhere claiming to be a Falcon player's mother says that the assistants were introduced to the team last night, and an off-season schedule set, etc. Another poster says that on 2/4, recruits and new coaches will be introduced at the same time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sigh.....that's a shame

Well, Akron got the win they really had to have, and Bowling Green lost a home game they couldn't afford to lose. Plus, thanks to a nice promotion on campus with the hockey and women's game, we had 2,300 or so there, and that's our biggest crowd since I don't know when, and we lose. That was a nice opportunity to get some of those people back.

I was worried about turnovers, but we did OK on that, but we shot absolutely terribly. I don't care what we think about how good we play defense, if we don't shoot better than 28% we are going to find out that you can't play good enough defense to win like that.

We had 48 against Kent and 52 against Akron. Further, it is the second half that continues to cause us problems. 15 points at Kent, and 21 against the Zips tonight.


Not to belabor the point, but you play 40 minutes and get 15 FGs?

I'm not going to go through the guys who didn't shoot well one by one. You can find the boxscore for that. Nate Miller was 6-12, and everybody else was bad, especially some people we are counting on to be able to shoot. Some of the numbers are really bad.

Ultimately, this is a team problem. We played good enough defense to win, but we just couldn't score at all.

Well, at 1-2 in the MAC and down one home game, things are going to have to improve a lot for us to get back into the race. Miami is next week, and that's going to be a tough one. It might look like a score from the 1920's.

Zips Continue Mastery Over Falcons

That's eight in a row.

More later.

Zip Roo-View

The Zips are coming to town tonight. The absolutely great thing about MAC Basketball is the unremitting pressure. It just never stops. Twice a week, you're facing a game in a very evenly matched conference, and one where the other team is under the same pressure you are. And there is only one bid to the dance on the other side of the pipe. This tension exists, frankly, regardless of whether the level of play is high or low, so long as your team is competitive.

The Zips have got to be feeling some pressure. They are 0-2 in the MAC, and a loss here would put them 0-3, and that's a tall mountain to climb if you are looking for one of the byes and a chance to run in the tournament. BG, at 1-1, and with no proven ability to win on the road, knows it absolutely has to defend home court.

That's the make up of a narrative for a pretty good game.

Akron's body of work this year is much like Bowling Green's, with one exception--they do have three road wins. I would point out that two of those wins (Fairleigh Dickenson and UNC-Greensboro) were against teams that are below 300 in the RPI, but that would only cause us to remember Savannah State and Central Arkansas, each with its own tale of woe.

Akron has a nice win against Niagara, on the road. So, they have proven they can win on the road.

Overall, they are 8-7. They schedule ranking to date is about where Bowling Green's is. They have lost to very good Pitt, Dayton, VCU and Rhode Island, along with a not-so-good Eastern Kentucky and, of course Miami and Buffalo. The loss to Buffalo was at home--BG does have a win at home vs. Buffalo.

Their wins, beyond the ones listed above, are over Canisius, Withrop, North Carolina A&T, St. Francis (NY) and Urbana.

So, like BG, they have lost to some good teams and beaten some lousy teams.

Teams shoot OK against Akron (46.5% EFG), but their points per possession is .92, which is, you know, really good. Why? Because they are forcing turnovers on almost 30% of their opponent's possessions.

Yes, that's right. No team in the nation has a higher %.

This has a chilling effect. If you miss a shot, you have (if you are BG) a 37.5% chance of getting the rebound and another chance. If you turn it over, you have 0%. And, backcourt turnovers often lead directly to baskets or fouls.

Furthermore, the pressure takes a psychological toll on your team. Possessing the ball seems to take a higher priority than working for shots. That, of course, is the idea.

We are better against pressure than we were a couple years ago. It used to be downright painful to watch our PGs bring the ball up against pressure. Still, we have succumbed to pressure at times this year, and we are not as good at taking care of the ball as we would like.

In my opinion, this is the primary challenge for us today. Akron is very similar to us offensively and not very good on the boards. If we can take care of the ball and get some good shots, and play 40 minutes of D, we can win the game, but I feel like this one will be a dogfight.

Obviously, Joe Jakubowski is key to beating pressure, but it also seems to me that Nate Miller is an important ball handler against pressure, and can take advantage of the overplays and finish around the basket. The same could be true of Chris Knight, though I haven't seen him in this role too much.

In terms of individuals, their three leading scorers are B. McKnight, "Humpty" Hitchens and Linhart, each of whom is averaging 10.7 or 10.6 points per game. (In other words, similar to us, maybe a little worse in terms of go-to scorers). Linhart is their leading rebounder, and they don't really feature a playmaking player averages more than 2 assists per game.

Linhart is a 6'8" senior, but he is the only senior getting significant minutes. The Zips roster features 12 FR or SO.

That this young team is getting anywhere is a credit to Keith Dambrot, who may well prove that he can coach people who didn't shower with LeBron James.

Again, Akron is certainly not bullet proof. They did lose at home to Buffalo. At the same time, they are the type of team which has been trouble for us in the past, so it represents a nice challenge for us.

Other stats on site courtesy of

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bowl Ratings---MAC Style

Here's a great post on Bowl Ratings from the Wiz of Odds. Overall, bowl viewership was up 3%. As it relates to the MAC....

In news that no doubt will draw a sigh of relief in Kalamazoo, the Rice and WMU Texas Bowl Game on NFL Network drew virtually no viewers.

Overall ranks, of 34 games:

  • Motor City 24th
  • International 27th
  • GMAC 27th
  • Independence 30th
  • Texas 33rd

You might be surprised at the Motor City Bowl, with its oh-so-unappealing-matchup, leading the pack. I just think that day after Christmas slot is perfect, and people are starving for something to watch. It was still 9% down from last year.

Ratings were significantly (70%) higher for Ball State than for the Falcon-Tulsa matchup last year. That's a Nate Davis premium.

The International Bowl was up 29% over last year, when Ball State was actually in the game. No explanation, other than possibly having a metro area included (Buffalo).

The Texas Bowl was down 67%, the largest decline by far for any game....which is good news in Kalamazoo.

Finally, there is a graph that shows the rankings for each conference. There are three conferences which did not reach a 2.0 rating on average for its bowls. No surprises...the MAC, the Sun Belt, and Conference USA. So, when we want to know why we don't get bowl bids over Big 10 teams, even when the Big 10 teams blow, here's why.

Is this the scoring for the BG/Kent game or my retirement fund?

Kent just put a plain, old-school style whupping on the Falcons last night. Even worse, the game was tied at halftime, but I think all Falcon fans were in a wait-and-see mode on that one.

Kent burst out of the gates in the second half. We scored with about 16:00 left and were still down only 2, and then did not score at all for the next eight freaking minutes. Over that same period of time, Kent scored 19 points, and I would love to see the stats on teams that give up a 19-0 run and win a game. It has to be really, really rare, and even rarer in the second half.

We shot 23% in the second half and only scored 15 points, missed 10 3s (2-20 for the game). I could go on, but what would that accomplish?

I haven't listened to the post-game with Coach Orr, so I don't know what he said. It certainly didn't sound like we were getting the kind of offensive opportunities we want to get. Also, without seeing the game, I don't know if we were getting good looks and just not hitting them or if they were playing especially good defense.

Here is what their coach said, though....

"We weren't locking them down at the tune of blowing them out," Flashes coach Gino Ford said. "They missed some good looks by some guys who are 40-percent 3-point shooters. Moten, Clements and Jakubowski are all 40-percent shooters and they shot [1-for-13]. We can take a small amount of credit for that, but they just had a tough night shooting it and that's not going to happen often to them."

Kent also shot 56% in the second half, which is not in our game plan, and made free throws at 90%, which is about 30% better than normal.

You knew this would be tough--maybe not this tough--but tough.

Some individual points:

  • Otis had 10 boards in 25 minutes.
  • Chris Knight had 15 points and 6 boards in 24 minutes.
  • I think Scott Thomas is going to be a player. He had 9 points and 5 boards in 20 minutes of play. He is fearless, and I think when he develops he is going to be a very solid MAC player.
  • Despite foul trouble for our big men, Erik Marschall only played 7 minute.

It doesn't get easier. Akron is next, but at home. The nice thing is that in basketball you always get a quick second chance.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kent Victory is Second Half War Crime

The Hague has been notified. More later.

Interesting article from Tennessee on Coach Clawson

I know it is just a media interview, but I continue to like what I hear from Coach Clawson. This is an article looking back on his one year at Tennessee. In it, I think he takes a realistic and humane approach to what happened during what had to have been an awful year.

"Too many people's lives were negatively affected by what happened last season, so I don't think it's appropriate to put it in terms of who has landed on his feet and who hasn't," Clawson says.

"It was different from what Tennessee had run before offensively, and that presented some problems," he said. "I knew it would take some time for the players to learn it, grow into it and execute it.

"I never anticipated that there was the possibility we would be one-and-done. If I had known that, maybe we could have adjusted some things."

One last thing, note that his offensive scheme is considered somewhat complicated, just in the "what can we expect" category.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nate Davis Goes Pro

I don't know, I kind of thought that as poorly as he played in his last two games, he might try to come back and show what he could do. I just looked, he is listed as the #4 QB, so this isn't exactly what Omar Jacobs was facing when he came out.

When you have a really good year, it is really tough. If you do as well the second year, you get this sniffed over feel, like you have topped out and aren't going to get better, and if you do worse, well, you're done. And doing better is a really tall assignment, especially because you are not certain what you have coming back, new coach, etc.

And, QBs will fall in the draft.

There also may be a lockout the following year, and he can get money this year, unless he sinks in the draft pool.

Over the Pylon writes on this today too, making the best use of the phrase "prison shower justice" in the history of the blogosphere.

I have never been quite so high on Davis' pro potential, but I don't think he hurts himself coming out now.

Flash Preview

The Falcons make a trip East to Kent for a game tomorrow against the Flashes, the MAC's signature program. Ask any fan or coach what they want to be, and they will say, Kent. And, if anyone says you can't sustain consistent success in the MAC, Kent proves it can be done, and not at a premier MAC venue.

Kent has ten straight 20 win seasons, spanning across four coaches. Through each transition, the progress has continued. And, of course, there's an Elite Eight run in there, too.

It is a transition year again in Kent. Jim Christian left for greener pastures, and former OU guard Geno Ford is the coach there now.

This may be the year the streak comes to an end, but it doesn't mean Kent won't be going back to the Big Dance. They are 7-8 with 15 games left, so obviously, the numbers are against them. They could easily with the EAST and the MAC Title, however, even without twenty wins.

Kent has three very good players
....Al Fisher, Chris Singletary, and Tyree Evans. In fact, Evans, who is a transfer, has carried the team offensively over various times this year. However, they do not have a terrific amount of depth, and this has been a weakness for them. This was made worse with Rashad Woods (who they were counting on to contribute) deteriorated and then was suspended.

When you look at their season, they don't have any real big wins or bad losses. They beat a decent St. Louis on the road, but wins over North Carolina-Central, UNC-Wilmington, Youngstown State, UNC-Greensboro, Shawnee and @Hampton are less stellar.

On the other hand, their losses are to @Kansas, (improved) @Cleveland State, @Temple, (n)Texas A&M, St. Mary's, (n)Illinois, and @OU, along with a home loss to Western Carolina, probably their most disappointing result thus far. They had a five-game losing streak at one point this year.

If Kent can win the MAC, it is mostly because of their strong upper classmen, because their team is hardly bullet-proof. To win, via

They are a slightly more offensively-oriented team, 2nd in the MAC in points per possession and third in effective FG%. They are 12th in turnover% however, and 8th in offensive rebounding. They also don't get to the line much and are a terrible free throw shooting team (59%).

On defense, they are fourth in MAC in points per possession, and defend the shot well, with only a couple teams allowing a lower effective field goal%. They are 7th in defending their own defensive boards. They do lead the MAC in creating turnovers on the defensive end, so this is something the Falcons will need to watch.

They are certainly tough in their gym. Over the past two seasons, they are 21-2 at home, including a 16-0 record last year.

This will be a huge win if the Falcons can pull it off. Certainly, Kent is not showing itself to be unbeatable, and their swagger seems to be waning a little. Still, they have three really good players, need a win, and are at uphill climb for the Falcons.

To win, BG will need to take care of the ball, play lock down D, and exploit average rebounding from the Flashes. Our biggest advantage is depth. If we can get Kent into foul trouble or get them tired late in the game, we might have a shot.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Football Assistant "Update"

In addition to the reports of Warren Ruggierio being the OC, the Falcons have (according to inked Purdue OC Ed Zaunbrecher to coach the O-Line.

Revised Final Blogpoll

Upon further review, I don't know what I was thinking having Penn State ahead of Alabama. I also moved Texas Tech up over the Nittany Lions, too.

1 Florida 1
2 Oklahoma 1
3 Texas --
4 Southern Cal 2
5 Utah 3
6 Alabama 2
7 Texas Tech --
8 Penn State 3
9 TCU 2
10 Oregon 4
11 Boise State 2
12 Ohio State 2
13 Georgia 4
14 Cincinnati 2
15 Oklahoma State 2
16 Oregon State 4
17 Missouri 2
18 Virginia Tech 4
19 Florida State 4
20 Mississippi 1
21 California 5
22 Brigham Young 7
23 Michigan State 5
24 Georgia Tech 8
25 Rice 1

Dropped Out: Boston College (#24), Pittsburgh (#25).

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Well, so much for prognostication.

A game that looked 100% like it was going to be a defensive struggle turned into a shoot the Falcons won 86-82 on a snowy day in Bowling Green, OH.

In many ways, it was typical of a number of games the Falcons have played this year. They had a big lead--21 points with about 13:00 left--and then watched it melt away. This time the Falcons ended up winning, but I have a feeling if this had been a road game, we would not have been so fortunate.

We played about as good a first half as we can play, I think, shooting 65.5%, holding Buffalo to 31%, making only 4 tos and drawing even in the rebounding battle.

The second half was not so good. The Bulls shot 60% this time while BG shot 41%, the Bulls had a +7 rebounding margin, especially pronounced on the offensive boards.

Here's an idea how the game flow went:

From 12-9 minutes in the second half, Buffalo seemed to turn up the defensive intensity and used a 9-0 run to move the lead from 19 to 10. Coming out of the 7:15 media timeout, BG battled back, getting a stop and then scoring the next 17 points.

In retrospect, this probably won the game. At the time, it wasn't so clear. Buffalo kept fighting, and had the lead at 6 with 1:22 left, and then eventually got it to 3 inside of :15, but Clements hit a free throw and the game was finally won. Buffalo never had the ball with a chance to tie.

The story of the game stats is pretty well told here. Buffalo badly dominated us on the boards, but BG shot free throws really well and Buffalo was under 60% (+4 net gain for Falcons in free throws). Both teams took care of the ball really well, and the Falcons had enough shooting muscle to win the game.

Individually, Chris Knight had a nice night again. He scored 22 points with 5 boards, 4 assists and 9-14 from the field. He played a huge role in the Falcons jacking up the lead in the first place, and that's ultimately when the stage was set to win the game. Brian Moten had 20 points, 3 treys and five boards. Joe Jakubowski had 14 points and five assists against one turnover.

Time will tell how this win shakes out, but I will say this. Buffalo was playing well, as well as anyone in the conference, and this is a quality win for us. Some Falcon fans will be concerned because it had its flaws, but we did win the game, and played a great first half getting there. For today, that's something we will take. We defended our home floor.

It gets even tougher on Wednesday, as the Falcons travel to Kent to take on the Flashes. More on that game in the coming days.

Great First Half

Great first half for the Falcons. I'm stuck at home in the snow listening to the game (and Todd and his engineer), but it sounds like the best half we have played all season. Shooting well, but also getting some transition work, and finally breaking Chris Knight loose. If he (or anyone) becomes a consistent force, this team changes dramatically.

Buffalo Preview

Today, assuming society has not broken down into tribal warfare due to the latest snowstorm, Bowling Green will play Buffalo at Anderson Arena. Here's a little idea of what to expect. (And here's a nice comparison of the two teams from

Uh, defense. K? This is not the Buffalo team of a few years ago, when BG and Buffalo played a game where both teams got into the 90s. Rather, this is a defense-oriented team. This is also a very good team, with what probably amounts to the second best season this far in MAC play.

(Most stats here from They are 8-4, but their losses are @UConn, @Siena, @Evansville, and Niagara, each top 80 teams by the statistical ranks this year. In 0ther words, no real bad losses. They have won twice on the raod so far this season. They beat Temple, and won a tournament in Hawaii.

Their defense is their calling card. Their points/possession is .92, second in the MAC only to Miami. (BG is fifth at .989.).

Teams do not shoot well against them (45.2% effective FG%) while BG is at 44%. They are also very, very good on their defensive boards, getting 71%, the second best in the MAC. Their turnover % is 22%, about 3% better than BG. Finally, they are 3rd in the MAC in limiting FT attempts, whereas BG is 10th and one of the worst in the nation.

On offense they are not so good. They are sixth in offensive efficiency, mostly because they don't get to the line all that often and they turn the ball over more than they should, too. They are very, very good on the offensive boards, though.

Those stats sound very similar to ours, except, of course, they are generally a little better and Buffalo has played a tougher schedule.

It is a game that is going to come down to who can score. Points should be hard to come by, so every basket will be important. For Bowling Green, the question will be whether we can rebound against them.

If you believe college basketball is about guard play, you are going to like these guys, with Calvin Betts (11 points and 7 boards) and Rodney Pierce (15 points per game).

They also have similar depth to ours....10 players are averaging 10 minutes per game or more.

Their bigs are a slightly weaker point. They don't get numeric production out of them that they do out of the guards. If we get the ball inside, that could give us some opportunity.

This is the surprise team of the MAC and a big test for us early on. We need to defend our home court against these guys to show that we can play the best teams, at least at home. It will be an excellent chance to see where we are.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Elton Alexander of the PD surveys the MAC

This is an excellent story that lays out the landscape of the MAC as we prepare to start the conference season. It is from Elton Alexander of the Plain Dealer, one of the more reliable and unbiased MAC reporters.

As a sample, here is what he says about Bowling Green and Buffalo, our combatants for tomorrow.

(+) Five starters returning, a seasoned veteran coach, and a veteran bench player at every position is a lot more than most teams have.
(-) Winning on the road is unproven, ditto closing out close games.
(?) Are the Falcons a .500 team or a contender?

(+) Other backcourts may get more hype, but UB's backcourt players combine for the most experienced group in the MAC, hands down. PF Calvin Betts (11.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is the best MAC player you don't know of.
(-) Bulls lack some punch inside.
(?) Will UB's offense match its defense?

Final Blogpoll

1 Florida 1
2 Oklahoma 1
3 Texas --
4 Southern Cal 2
5 Utah 3
6 Penn State 1
7 Alabama 3
8 Texas Tech 1
9 TCU 2
10 Oregon 4
11 Boise State 2
12 Ohio State 2
13 Georgia 4
14 Cincinnati 2
15 Oklahoma State 2
16 Oregon State 4
17 Missouri 2
18 Virginia Tech 4
19 Florida State 4
20 Mississippi 1
21 California 5
22 Brigham Young 7
23 Michigan State 5
24 Georgia Tech 8
25 Rice 1

Dropped Out: Boston College (#24), Pittsburgh (#25).

Not to put to fine a point on it, but this was the second year that I picked the eventual winner in the season's first poll. Just sayin'.

Oh about that Urban Meyer, getting mentions for Bowling Green.