Friday, December 31, 2010

Billiken Preview

With the exception of the Bracket Buster, Saturday's game against St. Louis represents out last time we play out of conference this year.  Before we get too far...

  • We covered WTF a Billiken is last year.
  • Last year's BG win over St. Louis was probably our top win of the season.
  • Back in the fledgling days of the CCHA, St. Louis was BG's big rival in hockey.
  • St. Louis is coached by all-time great Rick Majerus.
Majerus is certainly doing interesting work in St. Louis.  They play in the A-10,  which is one of the better hoops conferences in the country.  He started last year with no juniors and no seniors, which was the second youngest team in D1, according to  This year, they are the 3rd youngest team by the same measure.

Although they lost to BG, they went on to be 11-5 in A-10 and finished in the second in the CBIT to VCU.

This year, they are 5-7, which I grant you does not sound good, but they have played the #6 schedule in the country.  After a loss to Austin Peay at home that I am sure they wish they had back, they have not lost to another team with an RPI over 100...including Duke, Mississippi and Portland.  You never know with a team like this....they have played a tough schedule but haven't won any big games.  So, you could say that they have won games they should have and lost games they should have.

I'm sure this is one they feel like they should.

St. Louis has played a slightly slower place than BG, but has been very effective shooting the ball.  They don't shoot the 3 an absolute ton, but they are very effective when they do.  They mostly shoot 2s, and are obviously very effective.  They are not especially good on the offensive boards--even tempo free--and have shown a moderate tendency to turn the ball over.  Of course, that's against the schedule they have played.  They are scoring and allowing about 64 points a game, so that gives you a pretty good idea where they like to play.

Amazing, St. Louis has no big star.  Their top two scorers (Kyle Cassity and Jordair Jett) are averaging just 10 PPG.  Their leading rebounders is only grabbing 4.5 per game (Dwayne Evans).  No Billiken averages 30 minutes a game; 10 players average 14 minutes a game.  10 players have at least 1 start this year.

They are 4-2 at home, so I anticipate this being a tough assignment.  Still, if we can continue to do the things well that we have done to date, who knows?  It would be a very big win if we picked it up.

Falcons End 2010 on Winning Note

The Falcons picked up a nice win against UTSA last night in Anderson Arena.  Coach called it our best all-around performance of the year against a team that he feels is pretty good.  I do feel we are playing much better than we were over Thanksgiving, and the elements of the team are jelling together.  The crucible of conference play will be telling, but I am much more optimistic than I was, say, after the WKU loss.

The Falcons fell behind 8-2 right away, but the game tightened up for the rest of the first half, with UTSA scoring the last 4 points to head into the locker room down by 3.

The second half was a thing of beauty.  BG shot 60% for the second half and scored 40 points, a total we struggled to reach in some games this year.  BG went on a 14-3 run coming out of the locker room to go up by 14 points with 13 minutes left.  UTSA battled back and tied the game at 50, but the Falcons re-asserted control of the game.

In my view, that was the most important part of the game.  UTSA battled back, and the Falcons had every opportunity to fall apart or even to battle the game the reminder of the way.  What we did was get 7 straight points (built on 4 straight stops) and outscore UTSA 20-9 over the game's last 7 minutes or so.

As you can see below, there were two key factors in the game.  First, BG forced a significant number of turnovers, which are possessions with no chance of scoring, and when UTSA did get a shot off, BG held them below their season efg% average.  Built on that is a really nice shooting game and that's how you can win.

BG had another strong night getting steals, which is really helping our defense.  We have struggled for a while on FG% and it just really helps that we are able to get possessions where there is no shot at all.  We had 12 steals and that is 17% of the possessions in the game.  Add in that we got at least 2-3 easy baskets off steals, and that is a big part of how we have been able to improve.

One nice thing about the win was that we won without any single guy having a great game, but a bunch of guys having good games.  For example:

  • Scott Thomas, double-double 
  • Cam Black, 8 points, 8 boards including some nice minutes in the 2nd half.
  • Joe Jakubowski, team-high 13 points, 4/5 from 3.
  • Dee Brown, 8 points and 6 boards and 3 steals.
  • Jordan Crawford, 10 points on 5-7 shooting in 16 minutes.
  • Torian Oglesby, one alley-oop slam and a bone-crunching foul on Hill

Coach mentioned in the post-game about our PG play.  This has been pretty critical to the offense as it has emerged.  Jakubowski had a slow start to the season, but his game has really come around.  He is our only senior, and he is playing really well of late.  He hit some really key shots last night, and is providing steady play.  Jordan Crawford is turning into a great change of pace guy.  He is very productive when he is on the floor and provides a whole different look.  When BG got off to the poor start and was having trouble getting anything going on offense against a very energetic UTSA defense, Crawford came in and broke the logjam by sticking a jumper.

One last note:  Devin Gibson, the UTSA point guard, is a really nice player.

So, the Falcons hop onto an airplane and head for St. Louis.  I'll have more on that coming up later, but that should be a good test for our improving team.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Victory at Anderson Arena

Happy Days at Anderson Arena today as the Falcons beat UTSA by 11 in a relatively close and hard fought contest.  UTSA got the game tied at 50-50 after trailing by 14, but BG scored the next 7 points and took the win.

Once again, we showed that we can be a very good team when we score the ball.  We had a balanced scoring attack, a double-double from Thomas.

More later as the results come in, but it was a nice win.  The team is playing much better.  Beating UTSA certainly is not Duke, but it is a huge improvement on losing to teams we should beat.

I am hopeful as we head to St. Louis that  we are getting ready for MAC play and in a year where everyone is kind of so-so, I'd like to think we can find a way to compete.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Texas San-Antonio Preview....meep, meep

The Texas San-Antonio Roadrunners are coming to town tomorrow.  They are known as UTSA.

A couple quick notes to begin with.

First, I'm sure they are sick of seeing pictures like this.

And maybe pictures like this....

Finally, UTSA is not the college where people go to learn to touch your junk.  K?

You are going to start hearing more about UTSA, as they, along with Texas State, are joining the WAC in all sports starting in 2012.  That means UTSA will upgrade to FBS in football. Their football coach is former Miami Hurricane Coach Larry Coker.

On the hardwood, UTSA is 6-4 this season, but 2 of those wins are against non D1 competition.  They have a nice win over San Jose State, and then their other D1 wins (Troy, @Pepperdine, @Houston) were against teams currently in the bottom third or so of D1.  Their ability to win on the road is hereby noted.

Their losses are at @Evansville, @UC-Riverside, Samford and @Tulsa.  Of all of them, I'm sure they'd like the loss to Samford at home back.

True to their name, this is a team that likes to play up-tempo.  They are in the top 50 in the country in possessions per game.  With that comes a scoring rate of about 75 points a game, which is a little more average when you realize that's 1.03 points per possession.  The problem with creating all those possessions is that the other team gets the ball too, and they are allowing exactly 1 point per possession on defense.

Interestingly, their FG% is 43%, which is not so good, but their shooting from 3 (34.6%) and their FT shooting (71%) are both pretty good.  So, it seems like this is a pretty typical, uptempo, 3-shooting team on offense.  BG has been making its bones on turnovers, and UTSA has done a good job of taking care of the ball this season.

Defensively, they allow their opponents to shoot 40% from the field but 35% from beyond the arc, which is how they end up giving up 1 point per possession.  They get to the line, but they also give up a lot of free throws.  They commit almost 21 fouls per game (on a lot of possessions, however).

Here are how the teams stack up on the four factors.  From this, I would anticipate a nice rebounding battle.  BG will need to continue to show the ability to score the basketball, and continue to be strong in not fouling.  It will be interesting to see if we continue to get steals against this team.

Individually speaking, they are led by Sr. G Devin Gibson, who is getting 15.8 points, 6 board and 6 assists per game.  Fr. Jeromie Hill scores 14 points per game and leads the team with 6.4 rebounds and is shooting 3s at over 46% (He's 6'8").  Melvin Johnson III is scoring 13.8 PPG and takes the most 3s of anyone on the team.  He is a 6'5" Sophomore.

Yes, those are based on having more possessions than normal, but even tempo-free those guys are all above 1.05 points per possession.

Their Coach is Brooks Thompson, who played for several years in the NBA, including in the finals for the Magic.  This makes the second time this season that a former NBA player will oppose the Falcons.  He played his college ball at Oklahoma State.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Football Depth Chart Review

So with a momentary pause in the basketball season, I wanted to take a post and review how the football depth chart looks at the end of the season.

First, this is done without any knowledge about any players who might be leaving.  Coach alluded to that possibility at the end of the season, and certainly if I hear about anyone transferring, I'll pass it along.  With that in mind....

On offense, we lose only 3 players on the starter and then two reserves.  Note that I am building this off the UT depth chart--so the loss of Blaec Walker who started early in the year prior to a career ending injury is not reflected.

At the skilled positions, we are losing two WRs--Ty Pronty and Calvin Wiley--both of whom were episodically productive but never reached the level of being consistent go-to guys.  Most notable, Willie Geter is graduating, and will be more difficult to replace.  Sad as it is to say, while our offense struggled to run due to poor line play, what we did get Willie made for himself.  With a worse back, it would have been easy worse.   We didn't see enough to know if Hopgood is the guy in there, but it remains a question mark heading into the off-season.

Nick Rieke is graduating at TE, a position where we seem pretty deep.

On defense, you wouldn't expect to graduate too many guys, given our youth, and we don't.  The biggest loss is at end, where 3 of our top 4 guys graduate and the one guy on the depth chart is a guy I don't recall getting a bunch of snaps.

Champ Fells will be difficult to replace, and it will be interesting to see how our depth develops at LB.  Calvin Marshall got a lot of snaps but has Boo-Boo Gates behind him.  The entire back end is back, which is only good if they get better as they mature.

Finally, special teams.

This is a serious issue, not so much at returner, where Cooper and Gates should be able to handle whatever is put in front of them, but at the kicking positions.  Starting at placekicking, Coach called our placekicking "embarrassing" and there is no heir apparent.  We have recruited one kicker. , but he may be a walk-on.  Kickoffs were pretty good, but Wright is graduating, and there is no apparent replacement there, and Wright also did the punting and did well.  The next player there is Jerry Phillips, and we have not seen him punt regularly.  There are all pretty big question marks.

In general, looking at the returning depth chart, I would say it is clear that the theme for the off-season is not so much replacing guys who left, but whether the guys we had who went through this 2-10 season get better next season or not.  The actual guys on the field will look similar to last year.  Whether we come off a lousy season like Miami did or like Ball State did hangs in the balance.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Falcon Basketball Opponents...checking in....

One of the things that is always tough is that when you face teams early in the season, you don't know how good they really are.  One of the things I like to do is take a minute to look back and see how things have turned out for our early opponents.....

Howard:  After beating BG, Howard lost their next 8 games before finally beating Loyola of MD in their most recent game.   They are 2-8 with an RPI of 227.

Michigan:  After beating BG, UM lost 2 of the next 3 before a 7-game winning streak that is current.  They are 10-2 with an RPI of 59.

Duquesne is 3-4 since they smoked BG @AA.  However, 3 of those losses are @Pitt, @Penn State and WVU (neutral).  They had a decent road win @Green Bay.  They are 5-5 with an RPI of 183.

Niagara is, in retrospect, a very disappointing loss on a neutral floor.  They lost their next 5 games after beating us, one of them an 18 point defeat to Buffalo.  They do have a nice win @St. Bonaventure, but there is not much to show for their year.  3-9, 286 RPI.

Detroit is having a disappointing season.  They are 7-6 and 3-2 in the MAC, with wins against BG, @EMU and @CMU and losses to Akron and @WMU.  Their RPI is 206.

Albany is 7-6 against what is one of the ten easiest schedules in the NCAA to date.  Their own RPI is 255.  They did pick up a really nice win @Siena after beating BG, but their other wins since then are not too remarkable.

Michigan State is 8-4 and a Top 10 team with an RPI of 56.  Since beating BG they have lost @Syracuse and to Texas at home.  They beat a tough Oakland team on a neutral floor after a huge scare.

WKU is 5-7 and 1-3 since beating BG.  However, that includes a win over SIU, and then losses @Murray State and to Louisville.  Their RPI is 124.

FIU is 1-1 since playing BG, losing to Sam Houston State and beating Florida A&M (both at home).  They are 5-6 with an RPI of 279.

Clearly, there are a couple of teams that are good in there, and a bunch of teams that have underachieved pretty badly.  Overall, our schedule is currently ranked #296 in the nation.

I will say this:  I'm glad we played the Detroit tournament, even though we took a sombrero.  I think we needed those extra games.

MAC-Sun Belt Challenge is Over...Humility Reigns in MAC Nation

Well, with Troy skunking OU and Florida International beating UT last night, the Sun Belt has assured that it will win at least 2 of the 3 bowl games it has with the MAC, giving them victory in the unofficial MAC-Sun Belt Challenge.

Last night's game was especially disappointing.  That was a 6-6 FIU team playing far from home while Toledo was just up the road.  UT dominated the stat sheet, but more or less handed the game over in the 4th Quarter.  The decision to squib kick that last kickoff was particularly ineffective.  You go for 2 when you get the TD on the theory that its a bowl game, I just think you try and cover the kickoff for the same reason.

At least as measured in bowl games, football in the MAC continues to struggle.   NIU did have a really nice win, which means that the MAC is now 2-16 over its last 18 bowl games....most of them against non-BCS competition.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Falcon Nation

I hope everyone enjoys a peaceful and happy Christmas and holiday season, in full concert with your own beliefs and traditions.  Things will be quiet here until Sunday...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Football All-State teams are starting to come out...

In particular, the Pennyslvania teams have been released...

Julian Campenni (D-Lineman) was all-state second team.

QB Matt Johnson was the Class AAA first-team QB, which is obviously a reflection on a pretty good season.

“Last year I was second team to the kid from LaSalle in AAAA. This year it was a definite goal of mine,” said Johnson, who threw for 2,988 yards and 26 touchdowns with only four interceptions this season.

Falcons Star in Night of the Thieves

It was a nice night in Anderson Arena last night, as the latest episode of Night of the Thieves appeared on the hardwood floor of The House That Roars.  BG put together a nice performance against Manhattan and won the game easily.  Manhattan is certainly not a good team, but, at the same time, BG spent November losing to teams that were not good (Howard, Niagara, Albany) and so beating teams that are not good is better.

The remarkable part of our game that has emerged is our ability to get steals.  Our team identity for a long time has been a low-paced, Charlie Coles offense laid on top of a Syracuse 2-3 zone.  Coach mentioned after the WKU game that trapping and getting steals might be a part of our identity, and indeed it might.  It certainly puts the game in a different light.

For example.  Last night, BG stole the ball on over 23% of Manhattan's possessions.  That is just staggering.  One out of 4 times that Manhattan brought the ball up, BG stole it.  (They turned it over 38% of the time, in total, almost 2 of 5 possessions).

This brings up a crackpot theory I have had for a while.  The NCAA tracks points off turnovers, which I think is the wrong statistic.  There are two kinds of turnovers--those that produce dead balls (travelling, 3 seconds, a pass out of bounds, stepping on the line, charging, etc) and those that produce transition opportunities (steals).

Off the dead-ball turnovers, teams inbound the ball and get into their half-court set.  There is no reason to expect that possession to differ from any other possession, and therefore attributing the points to it being "off a turnover" doesn't make any sense.

I believe points off steals is the better stat.  On one quarter of Manhattan's possessions, they not only had zero chance to score but gave the Falcons a transition opportunity going in the other direction.  I can't imagine what you would need to do to win under those circumstances.

To put it in complete terms, in 2 out of 5 of their possessions, Manhattan had no chance to score due to a turnover.  On 25% of them, they were facing a transition opportunity going in the other direction.

That's my crackpot theory.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

This is the second appearance of "Night of the Thieves," the first being the WKU game.  The Manhattan game is the 26th highest steal percentage in a game by a D1 team this year.  (WKU game was 5th).  BG is 8th in the nation in steal %.

The other thing BG did well was shoot the ball.  This was our third straight game with more than a point a possession, and our only three D1 games about .9 points a possession.  The offense is clearly sustaining some success.  The Manhattan game tied the FIU game for the season's best shooting, and the last 3 games are our best 3 shooting games of the year, including Ohio Dominican.  Finally, we made 8 3s, our season high, and shot 40% from beyond the arc, a D1 season high.

I know Coach would like to see the opponent's shooting % go down, and I know that we were beaten on the boards and at the free throw line.  There is no doubt that we gave up some easy baskets when the trap was beaten, but there's no way it balanced out to the disruption the pressure caused.  I thought we had some good positional defensive moments.  Particularly, last year we were dead when the opposition got the ball at the free throw line against the 2-3, but we did a nice job having the middle back guy step up and take that away.

The game flow was just what you like to see.  BG had a 10 point lead relatively early, and when Manhattan started some runs, BG fought them off, usually nailed a 3 and kept the Jaspers from ever feeling like they had a shot.  The lead never got back within 10 points again for the remainder of the game, one of my measures of a dominating performance.

Study below the lovely parallelness of the two lines.

BG got great guard play, something Coach Orr mentioned in the post-game.  Luke Kraus was our leading scorer with 15 points with 3 3s and 50% shooting overall.  Joe Jakubowski and Jordan Crawford had really efficient games as well.  Joe had an offensive rating of 245 (2.45 points per possession) thanks to 4/6 shooting, 3/4 from the line and only 2 turnovers.  Crawford had a 215 rating on 2/4 shooting, 3/4 at the line and no turnovers.

Just to understand this, Jordan may only have had 7 points, but he also did not use up a ton of possessions getting there.  This increases the effectiveness of the team as a whole.

In fact, scoring was very balanced.  Kraus had 15, Joe had 11, and five players had 7 or eight points.  Scott Thomas led the rebounding with 8 and added 7 assists and 4 steals to go with his 8 points.

So, the Falcons head into Christmas on a winning note.  They don't play again until next Thursday when Texas-San Antonio comes into town, another game you'd like to think we win on the home floor.  In the meantime, while this team certainly has a ways to go, things are coming around and are not as bleak as they were a couple of weeks ago.

We will have to see if the Night of the Thieves continues its run at Anderson Arena.  So far it is....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Falcons Cruise to (gasp) Easy Victory

The Falcons came out and played what certainly appeared to me to be their best game of the season, taking a 10 point lead midway through the first half and not allowing the Jaspers back within 10 points again.  The Falcons had 15 steals and made it easy on themselves by sinking a bunch of shots, both from the perimeter and from the inside.  In all, Manhattan turned the ball over 24 times, and that made for a nice and easy win for the Falcons.

More later, but on this night and heading into the Holiday, Falcon fans can rest with a win, and an easy win.  That's 2 of 3 and the UWM game had some strong points.  I do think things are coming around.

Holiday Wishes from the BGSU Athletic Department

Really cool holiday video from the BG Athletic Department, featuring the vocal stylings of AD Greg Christopher.  Nicely done.  A version with Champ Fells doing the voice would have been killa.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Falcon Football Verbals

Two more Falcon football verbals to report.

Diontre Delk of Cleveland Heights has verballed as an ATH.  His team had a tough season, and he had a few long TD catches, and played both ways.  He was honorable mention all-district.  Beyond that, there is not too much information about him and ESPN has him as no-stars.  Here's some video for those of you who like pictures that move.

The other is Dominque Warren, our 2nd JUCO O-lineman.  He's 6'4" 280, and attended Brooklyn ASA.  He's another guy without a lot on him, but I understand that his school did send a number of players into D1 Football. I'm sure he is intended to help us get immediate maturity and depth on the offensive line.

We did do well with our JUCO guys in the last 2 years.  Jorden, Cooper, and Leacock all made a nice contribution, so hopefully, our two lineman will do the same.

Previewing the Jaspers....

So, here come the Jaspers.  Yes, the Jaspers.  Last year, it was the Billikens and this year it is the Jaspers, on our quest to host the teammates with the most obscure nicknames in college sports.

What is a Jasper?  Well, the team is named for Brother Jasper who brought baseball to the College and was the first coach.  He was a monk, I'm guessing.

The Manhattan site gives him credit for inventing the 7th inning stretch in 1882.  I had always heard that this man was responsible, but wikipedia says that the great Cincinnati Red Harry Wright actually talked about a 7th inning stretch 13 years earlier.

Also, for the record, Manhattan College is now in the Bronx.

The Jaspers are having a tough season.  They are 2-9 with an RPI of 258.  They won their first two, so they have now lost 9 straight heading into AA tomorrow.  They have a win over a decent Penn team, and they have some high quality losses, including Wisconsin, Texas A&M and Georgia.  Their worse loss was on the road at Binghampton.  For what it is worth, they played a string of teams in the mid-100s (ish) RPI-wise (Rider, @St. Peters, @Fordham, Hofstra) and lost all those games by 13 or more.

So, they come in looking pretty hungrily for a are the Falcons.  It would appear that this game will be evenly matched, which is actually borne out by the Four Factors.

The Jaspers are not a fast-paced team--the are averaging 3 fewer possessions per game than BG is (in fact, they are the 314th ranked team in terms of possessions)..  They are 307th in points per possession and 317th in points per possession allowed.  So, they are losing .18 points on every possession.

A positive thing for this matchup is that they are not a 3-point shooting team.  They have gotten an even lower percentage of their points from that route than BG has, which is pretty surprising.  Assuming that they don't get instantly well against the BG zone (and I'm hoping that will be true), BG can expect them to try and drive the ball inside.  Both BG and Manhattan are shooting 38% from the field for the season.

We may need one of these.

Manhattan has 2 guards who score in double figures--George Beamon (14 pts/7.5 rpg) and Martin Alvarado (Freshman, 12.5 ppg).  Because of their poor shooting, none of these guys ranks very high in efficiency terms...they use up possessions to get to those scoring levels.

Another freshmen, Rahmel Brown, leaders them with 8 RPG...he's 6'6".  (Ditto, here, there are plenty of missed shots flying around waiting to be caught).  He also blocks 2 shots a game, which is good if not great.

Their top 3 free throw shooters are really good, but if we get the chance to foul Brown, we should, he is below 40%.

A caveat:  while the teams appear evenly matched, Manhattan has earned their numbers against tougher competition than BG has.

Also, they have made a recent addition to their team.  Demetrius Jemison is a transfer from Alabama who is 6'8" and has played two games to date (the last two) and averages a double-double.  He's a graduate transfer who had to resolve eligibility issues with the NCAA, leading to the late start.

This is the school that upset Florida in the first round of the 2004 tournament and then lost a dogfight with a good Wake Forest team in the 2nd round.  That team was coached by Bobby Gonzalez, who coached there for two more seasons before he replaced Louis Orr at Seton Hall and was later arrested for shoplifting.

Their Coach, Barry Rohrssen, is a Ben Howland disciple, which explains the low number of possessions.  The media guide contains a random endorsement for him from former NYC Mayor David Dinkins.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Orr Presser

Coach Orr had a relatively brief presser today...which I listened to so you don't have to.

There was not a lot of high quality information dispensed.

As you might expect, he is pleased that we had our best two offensives games right in a row.  As you also might expect, he is unhappy with our defensive performance in Milwaukee, saying that the Panthers shot 52% in the second half, had 8 straight scoring possessions and that BG allowed Meyer to take the game over with 3s in the final minutes, something we can't let happen.  He almost said that "we can't let our shooting percentage determine our winning percentage"--which would be the first time this year I heard him say that--but he backed off.

One thing I had noticed was that we started off the season again this year talking about being able to mix man-to-man and zone, but once again it has evolved into strictly a zone.  Coach talked about that, said if it is going to be zone we have to play it better, especially "tagging" the shooter.  Just to review, we played mostly zone last year, and had the worst 3-defense in the conference, and we're going to have to improve that to compete this year.

Still, he doesn't think it should.  He talked about A'uston Calhoun and said that he was pleased that he got as many points as he did in the paint with layups and dunks.  He talked about Calhoun scoring in the flow of the offense, and almost seemed to be implying that Calhoun previously was shooting too many jumpers.  But maybe I was imagining that.

He also said that Calhoun needs to do better getting to the line, which all great scorers do.

The most interesting answer concerned the point guard position. The question was whether the position is settled, and Coach gave a very long answer which amounted to saying "no."  We need both Joe and Jordan for different situations, and we can expect to see their minutes fluctuate based on who is playing better or who we need in a certain set, which just means to me that neither of them has a firm grip on the position or has as complete a game as they could.

He said that Luke Kraus gets minutes because he is our perimeter defender and our toughest player.

Craig Sealey brings energy, even in limited minutes.

He is hoping that the break from school will help Torian Oglesby continue his adjustment to D1 basketball.  He didn't play in the first five games or either of the last 2, after some productive minutes in the middle, especially against Niagara and Detroit.

He talked a little about Manhattan.  I will preview them tomorrow, but Coach said they are different from UMW in that they are a dribble penetration team as opposed to a 3-point team, and we need to be prepared to defend the dribble.

Guyton Suspended from Kent

In MAC men's hoops news, Carlton Guyton, a JUCO transfer who was scoring about 13 a game for the Flashes and was one of the MAC's top 5 3-point shooters was suspended after he was arrested for theft.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Falcon Football Verbal

The Falcons landed their 12th verbal, Darrell Hunter of Dwyer HS in Palm Beach.  Hunter is a CB who made First team All-District, and was the best defender on a team that allowed only 99 passing yards per game.  According to this media post, he did now allow a player he covered to score a TD in his junior or senior season.

He is a 2-star recruit according to ESPN.  Welcome to the Falcons, Darrell.

He is our 14th verbal that is known.  Coach projected we would end up in the high teens....

Milwaukee Review....

The Falcons lost their fourth game with a margin of less than 5 points (against no wins in similar circumstances) and while it was on the road to a decent team, it probably was pretty disappointing to the team.

The reason for the disappointment is most likely to be the fact that the Falcons were in a position to win the game, with an 11 point lead with 11:52 left to play.  BG then was on the business end of an 18-6 run that ran over 7 minutes.  They had 3 FG's but missed other zero footers.  With 6:30 left Boyle hit a 3 to get the lead to 4, and then BG had a possession in which we had 2 O-Rebs and putback opportunities that did not go down, and then UWM got a layup to cut the lead to 2 and then BG turned it over and then Boyle hit another 3 to give the Panthers the lead.

BG had 2 chances in the final seconds, with the ball, to tie the lead or take the game, but needing a 2 to tie missed a jumper and then missed a 3 to tie on a buzzer shot.

Its also too bad because for 33 minutes of the game, BG actually had a pretty good offensive performance, and with the struggles in that area, you hate to see that go to waste. It is only the 2nd time we have scored that many against a D1 team, and it was also our 2nd best shooting % of the season. Our points per possession (1.13) were the best D1 result of the season. The game had only 61 possessions, which is very slow, so 69 is a good number to score.

It follows that if 69 is good in 61 possessions, than allowing 72 in the same number of possessions is a poor number to allow. And, in fact, it was. We gave up 1.18 points per possession, which is worse than we did even against MSU and was only overshadowed by Duquesne. The Panthers only shot 47% from the field, but an old BG issue came back as they were 10-25 from beyond the arc, and made 14 more FTs than BG. (The Falcons had a terrible night at the free thrown line).

Those two things together make the difference between winning and losing.

There were a couple important individual stories. First, A'uston Calhoun had a career night, with 26 points and 8 rebounds coming off the bench. This is the kind of production that everyone hoped he had in him, and we are a completely different team when we get it from him. That's 2 games in a row in double figures after five straight out. Despite taking 21 shots, he had an offensive rating of 128. You just don't see that very much.

I know Calhoun really hasn't played much D1 basketball, and maybe it seemed like he was farther ahead than he was early in the year. Let's hope we see him get his sea legs and start to produce consistently, because we just get a lot better when he is.

Cam Black also had a really nice game. He had 10 points and 7 boards (with only one missed shot) in 25 minutes.

Scott Thomas, coming off an injury, had a double-double, (13/10) to go with 6 assists, 2 steals and no turnovers.

For a number of reasons, I am hoping we are seeing our team turn the corner. First, we have suffered from not getting consistent offensive production from any player. If we can get big numbers from Calhoun, and the consistent numbers from Thomas, Black and Brown, we are a much better team, and that's without anything from Danny McElroy.

We have 3 games left until conference play, and two of them are at home and winnable. It would be great to see us win 2-3 heading into league play, just to start to feel like we have a shot in tough games.

MAC Notes from Saturday...

NIU put on a great performance for the MAC in one of the four bowl games.  They drilled a Fresno State team that is pretty good, delivering a complete butt kicking on both sides of the ball.  Given that they were playing with an interim coach and under turmoil and coming off a very disappointing loss to Miami, this win showed a lot of character.  Chandler Harnish was my pick for MAC player of the year, and he looked like it tonight.  Congrats to the Huskies.  Yeah.  That's gonna leave a mark.  Both OU and Troy beat the Falcons this year, OU solidly and Troy in a really close game.  Well, Troy just embarrassed OU in New Orleans, giving the Sun Belt the first win in the Great Sun Belt challenge.

Finally, in hoops, OU lost a 4-OT game @St. Bonaventure 122-107.  DJ Cooper played 55 minutes, scored 43 points, with 8 rebounds, 13 assists and 8 steals.  He attempted 41 FGs, which is the most in the NCAA in a long time.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Falcons Battle Panthers, Lose

BG lost a disappointing game tonight, one where they had an 11 point lead in the 2nd Half and had a shot in the last seconds to tie or take the lead but couldn't get it down.  Still, it was much a much stronger offensive performance, and the team got probably the first game where it saw the potential of A'uston Calhoun come to life.  As scarce as wins have been, when you're up 11, you'd like to finish the job, but I'm hoping this is a signal that the team is shaking out of the doldrums of the first few games.  More later.

Milwaukee Preview--a quick look.

Next up for the basketball team is University of Milwaukee Panthers.  We are 1-0 vs. teams with Panthers in their name this year.

Milwaukee is 5-7 on the season with a top 100 schedule, as things currently stand.  They beat Niagara by 17 on the road (a team BG lost to on a neutral court--Niagara currently has an RPI in the 290s), and they lost to WMU by 12 in Milwaukee.  They have a nice win over a pretty good Northern Iowa team and their worse loss is by 14 points to DePaul in Chicago.

They are significantly less productive on offense than BG is, but they are also less productive on the defensive end.
Pace wise, they play at almost exactly the same pace BG does.
They are shooting 35% from beyond the arc, which will put pressure on the Falcons to defend the perimeter.
They have very balanced scoring.  In fact, they have only one player who is scoring in double figures.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Football Verbals

There are two more reported verbals for the football team, both from Monsignor Pace High School in Miami, which is the high school that produced Willie Geter.  They are Travis Greene, ATH, and Anthon Samuels, a D-back.  I was having a hard time finding much information on these guys, and then I realized that the ESPN page has both of their names spelled wrong.

Anyway, Greene was their leading receiver with 8 TDs.  He also played on defense and had an interception in this game.  He runs track and has some kick returning to.  Moving pictures are below.

Anthon Samuels was Pace's leading scorer and one of the top scorers in Dade County as a RB.  He has 23 TDs and 1400 yards.  He also played both ways, and apparently projects in college ball as a D-back. He had 5 ints this year.

Pace had a good season this year (10-0) and was knocked out in the state playoffs in an upset.  They do produce D1 athletes each year.  More information as it run acro

More News from UMass

The UMass to the MAC talk is moving ahead.  The Boston Globe is writing that the decision is all but made and that an announcement is due as early as next month.  Talks apparently include Umass following the Temple model, meaning that while they will be a one-sport member but will schedule the MAC in basketball, which is good/better than nothing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

MAC Hoops....Checking in....

Well, now that finals are upon us and the basketball schedule takes a pause, I thought I would check in on the other MAC programs, and see how things have progressed relative to what we expected. First, the teams, ranked in RPI order courtesy of

33.  Kent
67. Akron
86. Ohio
95. Miami (OH)
125. Western Michigan
129. Ball State
180. Buffalo
244. Toledo
284. Northern Illinois
298. Central Michigan
332. Bowling Green
342. Eastern Michigan

A few general thoughts:

  • To date, Kent and Akron are the best teams in the MAC.  I'll be damned.
  • The West is underachieving.,..NO WAY.
  • Kent is having remarkable success.  They turned over about 80% of their team, and they are 8-3 against what is currently the #46 ranked schedule in D1.  Wins over very strong Robert Morris and South Florida teams put them in strong position.  Their 3 losses are to @Florida, @Cleveland State and @UAB.  They are playing good D, solid offense and are killing it on the boards.  As expected, Justin Greene is productive (17/7) and transfer Carlton Guyton is making a nice contribution.
  • Central--picked to win the West--is certainly having a disappointing season to date.  Still, its the West.  They could still win it.  CMU is 2-7 against the 223rd ranked schedule.  Their best win is over UIC (266).
  • EMU is lots worse than I thought.  They are the only team with a worse RPI than BG...they have not won a D1 game yet, despite playing the 260th ranked schedule.  6 of their 8 losses are to teams with an RPI of 200 or above.
  • The sleeper team in the MAC might be Western.  They are 4-4 with only one bad loss (@Towson) and a nice win @UWM.  They have played a pretty good schedule, and right now are probably the favorites for the West.

I also wrote about the Five Players I thought we should what you have seen if you have been.


Trey Zeigler, Central Michigan

Zeigler is showing more freshman adjustment than the OMG qualities might have suggested.  Yes, he is 8th in scoring, but to get there he takes 32% of his teams shots, and he is 55th in offensive efficiency.  (Those rankings are in the MAC).   He's playing 33 minutes a game, he just shoots a lot and misses, but you would expect that to improve with time.

DJ Cooper, Ohio University

Cooper leads the MAC and is 10th in the nation in assists.  He's 3rd in the conference in scoring and 16th in offensive efficiency.  In most of his areas, he's having a better season than last year, though his 3-pt and FT shooting is slightly behind last year.  He is clearly picking up some of the Basset scoring slack and remains "worth watching."

Zeke Marshall, Akron

Big men develop more slowly...keep that in mind.  He's playing 24 minutes a game, and scoring just under 10 a game, but he's 44th in the conference in rebounding.  He's below one point a possession on offense.  He does lead the MAC in blocked shots.  He's 6th in fouls per game.  So, 1/3 of the way through his sophomore year, Zeke's potential has yet to be realized.

In fact, I would contend that if you compare Cam Black and Zeke Marshall side by side, you'd see that the Fr. Black is nearly as good as the ballyhooed Marshall in his second campaign.

Justin Greene, Kent

He's just a really good player.  He's Top 5 in scoring and rebounding, offensive rebounds, true shooting and a host of other categories.  He's scored in double figures in every game, and double-doubled four times.  He's just a junior and is among the dominant players in the MAC.

Brandon Bowdry, Eastern Michigan

I put him on here because he's a good player toiling in futility and obscurity up in Ypsilanti.  He's second in scoring and first in rebounding in the MAC, and yeah, he gets there were a lot of shots, but who's he going to pass the ball to?  He's averaging a double-double for the season.

So, those were the five guys I said to watch when the season started.  Now, here are some guys I can only wish I had included.

Xavier Silas

I left Silas out because I said he was the most overrated player in the conference, a contender for the Martin Samarco "Score lots of points using even more possession" award.  Just scoring a lot of points doesn't really get it done if you take all the shots.  Well, that was last year.  This year, Silas' offensive rating moved up from #20 in the MAC to #1.  He's the best true shooter in the MAC, leading in 3pt% and FT%.  He also leads the MAC in getting to the line.  From an offensive standpoint, he has become an absolute force.

Matt Stainbrook

Clearly a contender for freshman of the year, Stainbrook is #2 in the conference in offensive rebounding.  He's averaging 10 points and 5 boards in 23 minutes, and at 6'9"/290, he's the third largest free-standing structure in Kalamazoo.

Byron Mulkey

He is an interesting player.  He played a lot as a Fr., was a captain as a sophomore, hardly played at all as a junior and then red-shirted last year BEFORE his season season, which is highly unusual.  My sources at Bull Run tell me that The 'Spoon wanted Mulkey available this year rather than having yet another senior on last year's senior dominated team.  He is making the most of it.  He's 7th in scoring and 2nd in offensive efficiency in the MAC, first in steals, fourth in assists, and in the Top 5 in all the FT categories.  He's an All-MAC player and probably one you never heard of.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MAC Officials Visit UMASS

As reported on a UMASS Blog, MAC officials were in Amherst to meet with the Minutemen.  While no one commented, this is clear evidence that things are indeed moving forward.

Big Ten Self-Aggrandizement

This blog is about Bowling Green first.
And the MAC second.

Rarely do I comment beyond that.  Once in a while I feel compelled to opine that "Craig James is a tool" which is still true and always will be.

In that vein, I feel compelled to say the following:

  • The Big Ten's latest announcement is self-aggrandizement on a scale that would make the New York Yankees blush.
  • The Yankees have retired a shocking portion of the one and two digit numbers in the Arabic system, and may soon have to resort to decimals, cyrillic, roman or representative symbology for their current players
  • The Big Ten's establishment of 17 named trophies to honor its football players is simply beyond the pale.  Of course, most of them have 2 names, so that the conference could make sure each team, no matter how dreadful (Indiana? The University of Chicago?) was represented on an award.
  • The named trophies are self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, and should be embarrassing.  We know that there will be a show on the Big Ten Network (a gala!) where the awards will be presented.  Classy!
  • The naming of the divisions (Leaders and Legends) is an even bigger joke.  The SEC went with East and West.  I think that might have been the way to go.
  • Jim Delaney is the most arrogant, vain man in college football.

Also, the Blade's John Wagner jumps in with some well thought out ideas on why the Big Ten did something short-sighted IN ADDITION to arrogant.

That's all.

If you don't look around, you might miss something....

There will be lots of chances to review our football season, most of which will focus on deficiencies.  In other words, what went wrong in one of the worst years (on paper) in the program's history.

But, there was one positive which I don't think should be missed, and that is the year Kamar Jorden had....because it was one of the best years in our programs history for a WR.

I think it is easy to overlook this for two reasons, one of which is that it came in a poor year and the other of which is that it comes a year after Freddie Barnes had the BEST YEAR ever for a WR in our program, and in some senses, any program.

So, here are the highlights.

  • 96 receptions....3rd most in our history.  (The #2 season is Magner in '03 and he played in 14 games).
  • 1,109 yards....3rd most in program history.
  • 14 receptions in one game is tied for 4th in the program's history
  • He caught 36% of our completed passes.  (Barnes caught 42% in his record year).
  • He was 13th in the NCAA in receiving yards
  • He was 4th in the NCAA and 1st in the MAC in receptions.

Consider, as well, that those numbers were produced with a QB who was a freshmen, wasn't healthy, and did not provide a huge amount of completions.  Consider, also, that some of that was with a backup QB.

Anyway, I was thinking about this and Jorden having our 3rd best season as a WR ever is worth mentioning and worth congratulating.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blade Reports Henderson Red-shirting

Not much surprise here, since he has yet to play this year, but the Falcons are red-shirting Start Grad Anthony Henderson this year according to The Blade.  Coach Orr makes a strong effort in the interview to talk about what a gifted player he is and that they are red-shirting him because of how good they think he can be over 5 years.

Football Verbal---O-Line

The Falcons have another verbal commitment to play football.  A couple of weeks ago, I did a review of the offensive line members who are coming back, and I said that it would not surprise me to see us try to jump start the process and add a JUCO player, at least for depth.  That has come true.

Scott Hodges of Sacramento Junior College has verballed.  He is an O-lineman....6'7". 310 lbs, so he's a pretty good sized fella.  He was all-conference.  According to this, he was one of the top JUCO tackle prospects in the country and he did have other D1 offers.

Welcome to the Falcons, Scott.

Looking back at MAC Football Predictions....what were you thinking edition

This is take your medicine day Part II....yesterday I looked at an OK/regrettable record on the Falcon I look at a horrifying record picking the MAC.


My Predicted finish, with actual finish in ()

  1. Temple  (3)
  2. Kent  (4)
  3. OU  (2)
  4. BG (5)
  5. Buffalo (7)
  6. Miami (1)
  7. Akron (6)

Yeah, I know.  Pretty horrifying.  My closest pick were BG and Akron, where I was only off by one.  A few notes:

  • I don't feel bad that I didn't see Miami coming, because I don't think anyone did.
  • Temple was really disappointing.  I'm not sure what happened.  They aren't great at QB, but they had lots of other things going for them.  They lost all their big games.
  • I did say that I didn't think Golden would be in the MAC long.
  • I liked Kent.  Their offense did not produce like I thought it could
  • OU scored better than I thought they would, and had better line play.


My Predicted finish, with actual finish in ()

  1. WMU (3)
  2. NIU (1)
  3. UT (2)
  4. CMU (5)
  5. BSU (4)
  6. EMU (6)
A few notes:
  • The only team out of 13 I got in the right place was EMU.  And who couldn't have gotten that?
  • I always overrate WMU.  They are always disappointing--they were playing well by the end though.
  • I did like NIU (and Kill) a lot, though I somehow thought they would lose to WMU.
  • I didn't think that UT would have enough defense to compete.
  • CMU fell farther than I expected, given talent and winning tradition.
  • Ball State and EMU had forgettable seasons.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Falcons Land 2 New Reported Football verbals

We are starting to see some publicly reported progress on football recruiting.  Two players have committed who are our 9th and 10th reported verbals.  There may be more, but the teams are not allowed to comment and the blog only works on information that is available.

The first is Johnny Joseph, a CB from Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  He's been a part of a very successful defense down there this season, and they are still alive in the HS playoffs.  He leads the team with six passes broken up.  ESPN ranks him as a 74, 2-star player, which is a pretty good MAC player.

The other is Christian Piazza, a football player who also sounds like an Italian vacation.  He is from Ann Arbor (Huron) but attended the Fort Union Military Academy.  He's an O-Lineman who appears to project to OT, and is 6'7" 270.  ESPN gives him a 1-star but says he is a bulldozing run blocker which is certainly what the program needs.  He's probably a little raw, since he mostly played basketball as a young man.  Then, he was introduced to Jeff Genyk, a family friend and the Coach at EMU (formerly) as well as a former Falcon who burned his BG jersey to celebrate his last win as a head coach.

Welcome to the Falcons, Johnny and Christian.

2010 Take Your Medicine Day

So back before the season started (for football), I undertook my annual exercise in humility and tried to pick every game on our schedule.  At the time, I felt a little Jekyll and Hyde.  I was certainly concerned. I though our team was young and the schedule was unfavorable.  I saw 2-10 as worst case and 6-6 as the very best case.  For my real prediction, I split the difference and went 4-8.  As it turns out, I was the disappointed optimist once again, as the worst case came true.  

I wasn't as far off as it looks.  I thought we could beat Buffalo and Miami and we almost did.  I had the Marshall game back.  I decided the 4th win would be Toledo, which was pretty much not even close, and the team surprised me with a road with at CMU that I didn't think we would get.  All of which makes me 8-4 for the year.

Remember, the whole Jekyll/Hyde thing is about a dysfunctional mind....

9/4/2010 at Troy Troy, Al.   L   RIGHT
9/11/2010 at Tulsa Tulsa, OK  L  RIGHT
9/18/2010 Marshall Bowling Green, Ohio W  RIGHT
9/25/2010 at Michigan Ann Arbor, MI  L   RIGHT
10/2/2010 * Buffalo Bowling Green, Ohio W  WRONG
10/9/2010 * at Ohio Athens, Ohio L  RIGHT
10/16/2010 * at Temple Philadelphia, Penn. L RIGHT
10/23/2010 * Kent State Bowling Green, Ohio L  RIGHT
10/30/2010 * at Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, MI L  WRONG
11/10/2010 * Miami Bowling Green, Ohio W  WRONG
11/17/2010 * at Toledo Toledo, Ohio W  WRONG
11/26/2010 * Western Michigan Bowling Green, Ohio L  RIGHT

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Falcons Finally Get D1 Win...

I am sure that there is a great sense of relief inside the program as the team heads into Finals.  It was a much needed win for the guys, who have truly struggled thus far this season.  While FIU is not a great team, this is not a pushover team.  They're certainly better than a Howard team we did lose to.

To make matters more difficult, Scott Thomas, our most consistently productive player, did not play due to back spasms brought on by a practice injury.  To win anyway was very good.

Here's the game flow (76-67 final).  Coach Orr mentioned in particular a point where we got 5 straight stops, which you can see as that little flat part of the FIU line.  The series of stops came at what I am coming to believe is the most critical part of a game, which is between the 8 minute and 4 minute media timeouts.  That time is when the dynamics for the final part of the game are established.  That little run did just that, and BG had very comfortable leads in the final minutes, despite heavy pressure from FIU.

Now, an observer of this year's Falcon team will notice one thing especially....76 points for us....without our leading scorer.  That's 35 and 41 by half, and gives us 3 straight halves where we have had good offense.  Obviously, this is a good trend, though one that is still in the early stages.  FIU was known to defend poorly, and we took advantage.  Dee Brown had a career high 24 and did it using a very low number of possessions....he was 6 of 8 from the field, 3 of 4 from 3, and 9 of 13 from the line.  He averaged 1.5 points every time he concluded a possession.

BG also got productive minutes from a number of players.  Notably, Danny McElroy had 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting and 3/4 from the line (that's 1.32 points per possession) and A'uston Calhoun came around from his slump with 12 point (6 of 9 shooting).  It is difficult to over-state the idea that this is a different team when those talented players contribute.

Fouls limited Cam Black to 12 minutes, but BG still controlled the boards (Black and Calhoun with 6) and Erger and Sealey gave some good minutes off the bench.

From a team standpoint, BG won each of the four factors.  BG shot over 50% from the field and hit 33.3% from 3, which are both season highs.  Yes, BG did not even shoot this well against Ohio Dominican.  We took care of the ball and kept FIU off the offensive boards, and we got to the line, though we only shot 61%.  On defense, FIU shot 43% which is our 4th best of the season and while it is not what we hope (I assume), it was enough to win.

We averaged 1.08 points per possession, our best D1 total of the season.  The game had 70 possessions, 1 above our average for the year.

So, with a win, our guys can head into exams with a feeling of some relief.  Obviously, the team is not out of the woods yet.  We head to Wisconsin to play UWM...a good team that beat us last year and is 4-5 against a tough schedule to date.  The end game is the conference season, and you'd like to see the trend start to point up by then.

Falcons Triumph

More later.  For now

BG News says Thomas out

BG News Sports (@bgnewssports)
12/12/10 1:23 PM
At Anderson Arena for men's hoops vs. FIU, Scott Thomas won't play due to back spasms, more at later

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Isiah, Part II

The Falcon search for their first D1 win continues tomorrow Isiah Thomas brings his Golden Panthers into AA for a rematch of last year's game, which was the first time two former NBA players had battled as coaches in AA.

BG won that encounter on that backs of Dee Brown's 20 and Scott Thomas' 10. Score was 67-62, and BG shot 48% for the game.

FIU appears to be improved this year, although it is hard to believe that Thomas' virtual non-stop flirting with the New York Knicks contributes productively to the program. They are 4-4. Their wins are not spectacular--two of them are non DI, and one is over Utah Valley, by 3 points. Utah Valley has an RPI roughly where BG's is. They also beat a decent TN-Chattanooga by 21 in Miami. Their losses are to Jackson State, Florida State, Marshall and Louisville, none of which has an RPI lower than 104 right now.

We're catching them at the right time. Much of their pre-season hope was built on Top 100 recruit Dominique Ferguson, but he's been ineligible for the first semester (this might give us an idea how a Top 100 recruited ended up at FIU.) They also are looking forward to the eligibility of Alex Legion who is a transfer from Illinois.

I checked in with the papers in Miami. Suffice it to say that the they are more focused on their first trip to a bowl game in football.

If the FIU program does turn around under Thomas, it will be the first time they have really shown any chops at all. Some more FIU fun facts:

  • 4-3 vs MAC in last 10 years
  • Sun Belt 1-2 this year
  • 10 straight losing seasons

They play a slightly more uptempo game than BG and score 69 points a game but allow 72. The stats below reflect only the offensive sides of the coin where FIU, to no one's surprise, is considerably stronger. FIU is an OK 3-FG shooting team, but only marginally better than BG.

Defensively, BG has forced more turnovers and is holding teams to lower scoring than FIU is. Rebounds and free throws are pretty similar.

They are led by 6'8" Eric Frederick, a very solid PF who is averaging 17 points and 7 boards while playing only 26 minutes a game. (FIU shares minutes a lot). DeJuan Wright is also averaging 14 points per game. Phil Gary and Jeremy Allen also produce efficiently on offense.

I'm sure BG will be an underdog out there. I posted earlier this week about the current status of our team, which is pretty lost. As we wait to see if and when it all gets put together, we can keep our fingers crossed that this is a good opportunity. FIU is not good defensively, and it would be nice to see us hit a couple shots and combine that with some decent defense. More than anything, I think getting a little confidence would be a big help.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Falcon Recruiting...New Verbal

Howard Chen (@ho_chen)
12/10/10 1:52 PM
#BGSU #BowlingGreen football today got a new verbal commit for the class of 2011: @stjohnsjesuit TE Zach Steinmetz #recruiting #MAC

As you can see above, BGSU now has its 8th public verbal commitment....Zach Steinmetz of Toledo St. John's will be a Falcon.  It is interesting in that Coach Clawson said we were going to be more specific in recruiting and that we were looking pretty good at TE, and that's what Steinmetz plays.  Still, he looks like a pretty good football player.  He's a 2-star/74 on ESPN, which is a good recruit for the MAC.  He was honorable mention All-District, and first team All-City league.

Here's some video, and for those of you without much imagination, this will be good because some of it takes place on the turf at the Doyt.

Welcome to the Falcons, Zach.

One other recruiting note...I don't usually get into the drama of recruiting (who's "interest" is up, etc) and generally only report these guys when they verbal.  I have seen online that at least 3 of the reported verbals to date are calling themselves "soft," so it could be tense times between now and signing day.

Revised Tackle Statistics

So....I mentioned earlier that I wondered about individual tackle statistics.  What made me start to wonder was playing NFL Fantasy Football.  I am in a league with individual defensive players and you get points for tackles.  Its a little messed up because you get four points for a tackle and six for a TD, so tackles are important.  What I discovered is that the big scoring guys are the ones who are the MLB or FS on a lousy defensive team.  They are on the field all the time, and they get tons of opportunities and someone has to make a tackle.  I drafted these guys and it has worked.

So, I applied this bit of insight to the MAC.  Again, the theory is that a player on a killer D might not get as many tackles, so you can look at the tackles as a proportion of the plays the defense saw.

A caveat.  The number of tackles is strictly the total number for that defense for the season.  If a guy missed a game, then he missed all the tackles in that game.

Here's what came out....the number on the left is the player's rank on my new and fantastic measure, and the one to the right next to their name is the one from the MAC's boring and official, old-school, brain dead rank.  As you an see, they are pretty similar.  I have helpfully placed orange arrows next to the 3 that had the most difference.

  • Dwayne Woods falls from #1 to #4 based on having 21 more opportunities to tackle.  
  • Neal Howey moved from #12 to this case, he turned the theory on its ear, because he plays for EMU, and they were a lousy defense.  However, they only faced 751 plays.  Why?  Because they were so lousy teams scored on big plays and not on on tackle-creating long drives.  
  • Evan Harris of Miami moves from 21 to 15 based on having 81 tackles on a good defense that faced on 750 plays. 
  • Finally, Nick Bellore took a hit, falling from 9 to 13...

Anyway, this just seems to me a more logical measure....we'll keep an eye on this and see how it rolls out in the next season.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sadness Accrues, WKU beats BGSU. Faith tested.

The Falcons lost their seventh straight game last night to Western Kentucky, a game in which they fell behind by 17 before getting the game within 2 points and then losing by 7 after going the last 2:11 without scoring.

I listened to Coach Orr's presser.  He said something which I thought was pretty telling:

"Sometimes the Lord lets you get in a place that stretches your faith."

And to that I can agree.  As I thought about the game last night, I certainly was having stretched faith as to where the program is.  To date, this is a historically bad Bowling Green team, one of the worst in memory.  You just don't expect to be in this spot after four years with a Coach.  Right now, we're no better than we were when Dakich left and we might be worse.  I'm not trying to rip anyone....these things just seem apparent to me.

Coach also talked about trying to find our identity.  I'd put it another way.  We just look lost out there.  The ball won't go in the basket.  Guys get big minutes one game and limited to no meetings the next.  Guys start, and then disappear.  Someone has a good game, and then doesn't.  Shot clocks run down and no one tries to create anything.  Balls are passed to players who don't seem to expect it.  We just look lost.

The game, in total, was pretty depressing last night.  BG shot 30% from the field, our fourth game out of 9 where we have been 30 or below.  (We are 340th out of 345 in the country in FG%).  We scored .73 points per possession, which was our second worst game of the year.  (We are 337th in offensive efficiency).  There's no point in calling out individual players because nobody is shooting well, but the frontcourt just didn't hit anything last night.  We have a young player who has missed at least his last 11 shots.  We also turned the ball over on 28% of our possessions, our 3rd highest of the season.

To add to horrid shooting, we gave up 45% shooting and 32 free throw attempts on our home floor.  In fact, BG had more FGs than WKU did, but lost the game mostly in the number of FTs given up.  We aren't playing the kind of defense that lets a team get away with shooting this badly.

So, how did this game even get to be close?  Here's the game flow.

BG was down 17 with 14 minutes left and down 12 with 10 minutes left.  We did put together a very strong rally in the second half and played with some "energy and tenacity" as Coach says.  My test is whether you had possession of the ball in a one possession game, and we did.

  • With 1:45 left, BG was down 2 and Dee Brown missed a jumper, ended up with the rebound and missed another jumper.
  • With 1:00 left or so, down 3, BG had the ball.  Crawford missed a jumper, McElroy got the offensive board and missed the putback, and and then WKU rebounded, was fouled, and there was not another possession where BG was within one score of tying the game.

The Falcons did not score the last 2 minutes.  Coach was asked about this, and he said that he thought we got good shots ("very makeable") and they just didn't go in, which is what he usually says in this situation.  In a sense, if you were running bad offense, you could fix it.  It seems hard to fix this, and this team is in a long shooting slump.

With all this misery, you might wonder how this even came to be a game at all.  The reason is that WKU had 29 turnovers, which means they turned the ball over on 2 out of every 5 possessions in the game.  Their coach told their radio network that he did not want to see anyone "smiling" in the locker room afterwards.  They have struggled with turning the ball over, and BG seemed to get some energy and momentum out of doing some trapping, and Coach allowed as to how that might end up being the team's identity.

He then said "you gotta play," meaning, I assume, that you have to do the things basketball players do, one of which is sink open shots and layups.  He said our guards need to make plays, to create things for other people.

FWIW, here is a picture of the sad tale of woe.

Anyway, it is a pretty discouraging time in the men's basketball program.  Coach said several times that we will get there.  I certainly hope so, because right now, this is a low point at the end of what has been a historic low period for our program.  I'm going to have faith that this is going to turn around, and when the word faith is used here, it is truly being used in its full meaning.  It means that you think things will turn around even when there is little to no visual evidence that it is or that it will.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Blog Poll for Week 15

Big change in the week 15 Blogpoll is that Auburn is now #1....which is where I have had them for sometime.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

Results for Week 15

1Auburn Tigers (35)    24.570.59Arrow_up 1
2Oregon Ducks (20)    24.340.51Arrow_down -1
3TCU Horned Frogs (1)    22.791.42--
4Wisconsin Badgers    21.321.32--
5Stanford Cardinal    20.961.43--
6Ohio St. Buckeyes    19.001.60--
7Michigan St. Spartans    17.963.35Arrow_up 1
8Arkansas Razorbacks    17.961.93Arrow_down -1
9Oklahoma Sooners    17.112.05--
10Boise St. Broncos    15.322.87Arrow_up 1
11LSU Tigers    14.453.02Arrow_down -1
12Virginia Tech Hokies    13.023.11Arrow_up 3
13Nevada Wolf Pack    12.593.16--
14Missouri Tigers    12.392.45--
15Oklahoma St. Cowboys    11.111.98Arrow_up 1
16Alabama Crimson Tide    10.802.49Arrow_up 1
17Nebraska Cornhuskers    10.052.63Arrow_down -5
18Texas A&M Aggies    9.802.42Arrow_up 1
19South Carolina Gamecocks    6.072.72Arrow_down -1
20Utah Utes    5.022.33Arrow_up 1
21Mississippi St. Bulldogs    4.551.99Arrow_up 1
22West Virginia Mountaineers    4.002.10Arrow_up 1
23Florida St. Seminoles    3.842.16Arrow_down -3
24Hawaii Warriors    1.611.92Arrow_up 2
25Central Florida Knights    1.451.68Arrow_up 3
       Others Receiving Votes:        Connecticut Huskies | Navy Midshipmen | Maryland Terrapins | San Diego St. Aztecs | N.C. State Wolfpack | Miami (Ohio) RedHawks | Air Force Falcons | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Northern Illinois Huskies | Pittsburgh Panthers | Florida Gators | Baylor Bears | USC Trojans | Tulsa Golden Hurricane      
Updated: Dec 8, 2010 11:37 AM EST
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »