Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter to the Falcon Nation.....

Happy Easter to the Falcon Nation.  Regardless of your religious faith, we can all unite around the idea of a new beginning.  One happens every day.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Men's basketball, Opponent recap....

Now that the dust is settling a little bit, we can start to look back at the men's basketball season and review what we saw.  The first step will be to look at how our opponents fared over the course of the year.  Sometimes you play a team early in the year and you win or you lose and you don't find our later what that might have meant.  So, I think it is good to see how our opponents did...

First, BG played a schedule with a strength of 198 (out of 347), based on the RPI of our opponents.  That's out of 347, so we are just in the bottom half.  (Kenpom has our schedule ranked 212 and our non-conference schedule ranked 298).

In fact, the biggest issue for our team was that BG was 7-7 against teams with an RPI over 200.  Of those 7 losses, 5 were road games (North Dakota, CMU, Miami, Buffalo and IPFW), one was home (Miami) and one was neutral (IUPUI).  The inability to beat even bad teams on the road even once in a while kept this team from a shot at finishing .500 for the season.

And then there was one home and one neutral floor game that BG should have won, as well.

For whatever it is worth, BG's RPI was 269 and kenpom was 204.

(Note: the RPI is sort of the establishment ranking that the NCAA uses. Kenpom is a ranking from that is more favored by stats dudes.  It factors in margin of victory/defeat and digs a little deeper to determine SOS.  You can learn more here from Dean Oliver, the man who started all this.)

So, for these rankings, you will see something like this, which is RPI/Kenpom.

To wit:  BG was 269/204.

Kenpom rewards BG for close games against MSU and South Florida, for example.

Anyway, here is what our opponents did, focusing on non-conference games.  I think we are familiar with the body of work for our conference brethren.

Lake Erie (8-18) DII

BG beat Lake Erie by 10 at the Stroh.  They were 8-18 in DII and finished 7th in the GLIAC's South Division.

Cleveland State (14-18) 199/265 T-7 in Horizon

BG lost by 6 on a neutral floor.  Cleveland State did not distinguish themselves in 12-13.

IUPUI 6-26, last in Summit, lost last 16 games.  326/336

Far and away the worst loss of the BG season.  Losing by 14 to these guys on a neutral floor is just inexplicable.

@Robert Morris (24-11)  NEC Regular season champ.  Beat KY in NIT before losing to Providence.  123/133

BG lost by 11 in what amounted to a road game.  Robert Morris ended up winning their conference and shocking Kentucky in the NIT, making them the only team to beat BG and Kentucky in the same year.  (I made that up.  They might not be).  This was a good team.

Alabama-Huntsville DII  25-6 #9 ranked.  Lost in NCAA South Regional Championship.

BG won by 14 on a neutral floor.  While a DII team, they were a very good team and better than a few of our D1 wins, probably.

Detroit  20-13.  Horizon #2 in reg. season.  Lost to Az State in NIT.  64/79

Our best win of the season.  BG won by 5 at the Stroh, entering as a 4.5 point dog.  This is one BG won that they probably should not have, on paper.

YSU 18-16.  T-5th in Horizon.  Lost to Canisius in CIT.  188/200

BG lost by 9 at home.  After the IUPUI loss, this one has to be high on the list of ones you'd like to get back.

Wright State 23-13, T-3rd in Horizon. Lost conference title game.  Won 2 games in CBI.  130/117

BG's second-best non-conference win.  Wright State was very competitive and nearly made the Big Dance.

Samford 11-21, T-5th in Southern Conf.  291/283

BG won by 15 at home, as it should have.

Michigan State 27-8.  T-2 in Big 10.  Sweet 16.  9/7.

BG loses by 11, makes a reasonable showing.

@South Florida 12-19.  T-13 in Big East.  156/145

Triple overtime defeat.  BG came close to a nice road win here and really should have won the game.

@North Dakota 16-17.  3rd in Big Sky.  Lost in CBI.  224/247

North Dakota won by 3 on their floor.

@Temple 24-10.  T-3 in A-10.  Lost to Indiana, round of 32.  41/61

BG destroyed on road by much better team.

New Orleans  8-18.  346/346

BG beats New Orleans at the Stroh.  Privateers second lowest ranked team in both systems.

@IPFW 16-17.  5th in Summit.  254/241.

Bracket buster defeat for BG...another winnable road game.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Falcon football has first verbal....

The first verbal of the 2014 class has made himself known...his name is Brian Sanders and he's a 6'4" 225 pound D-end from Detroit Cass Tech.  Cass Tech will be shooting for back-to-back-to-back (an "Emanski") state titles this Fall, so this is a winning program that has been producing college players--according to this, on the last signing day 12 Cass Tech seniors signed for D1 or DII ball.

If you dig through the stories, you can find evidence of Sanders getting sacks during last year's title run.  I like his twitter handle--nothing wrong with having goals--and he likes BG's business program. He's also hoping to bring a few of his teammates with him to BG, which we would also be in favor of....

Welcome to the Falcons, Brian.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Christopher Leaving BG

Breaking news from the Falcon Nation.  AD Greg Christopher is leaving BGSU to head to Xavier University as their Director of Athletics.

He walks into a pretty good situation.  No football program to worry about, and a basketball program that is heading into the "Catholic 7" Big East and is a premier mid-major program possibly about to be full-major, all-major, whatever.

Christopher certainly has had his detractors within the University, though I think he has a record of success.  He created significant progress with our facilities, including the Sebo Center, work on the Doyt and the Stroh Center.

This very prowess has led him to be labelled as only a fundraiser, especially those who are frustrated with progress in men's basketball.

I don't find that fair.  Yes, the Orr hire has not gone as well as we might have expected, but he appears to have hired a good football coach, a good hockey coach, and the early returns are good for the volleyball coach, the women's basketball coach the softball coach, the gymnastics coach and the swimming coach.  In the last two years (11-12 and 12-13) BG has won 4 MAC coach of the year honors with Christopher hired coaches...softball, women's basketball, swimming and gymnastics and the women's volleyball coach won the MAC in her first season.  Anyway, this fundraising-only charge does not stand up to the facts.

(Thanks to @jknavel for the help getting my facts right in paragraph above).

Anyway, it may be too soon to tell on many of those hires, but it is certainly too soon to tell that they didn't work, too.

For most of the last years, BG has languished among the lower teams in the MAC's all-sports standings, certainly a reflection of overall performance.

At the same time, the academic achievement appears to be pretty strong.

Currently, BG languishes among the lesser funded athletic programs in the MAC and is one of the few mid-majors in the country to have football, two basketball programs and an ice hockey program.

There will be more time for all of this.  For today, we wish Greg Christopher well.

Men's Hoops: Two scholarships

One thing that has been missed for BG's men's basketball program has been that the team has two scholarships available for next year.  We should hear pretty soon what's going on with that, since the signing period for men's basketball opens on April 17 and runs through the middle of May.

Jack Carle of the Sentinel suggested in his column about the Orr Decision that BG should consider getting JUCO players that can make an immediate impact on the program.  In general, I think that we all feel like that isn't a best case scenario, but this program is not at a best-case scenario--we are in trouble.

I agree...if BG can find JUCO players who will play within the system, I think they need to do it.  One of the big concerns people had keeping Orr was "losing" a year for the program.  And, I have already written about concerns for next year, notably at PG and someone to score.

Both of those could be addressed in the JUCO ranks.  A Martin Samarco type player and a PG who could play right away would help to create a shot for next year's team to be at least as good as this year's team was, and maybe a little better.

The Orr-haters are going to say it is nothing but a cynical attempt to keep his job.  I guess I'm ambivalent about that...if we had the chance to get ourselves competitive next year with those two scholarships, I don't know why you wouldn't do it.  With Orr entering a lame duck year, it might be tough to get quality high school players anyway--and many of the best sign early, as our 3 other signees did--so it might be the best use of them anyway.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Falcons Scrimmage For the First Time (Update for Dieter)

The football team scrimmaged for the first time this season yesterday.  I was not there, but there is a snippet on where Coach is interviewed about how it went.

He basically felt like offense had a good day.  Of course, the D-line is very depleted, so you need to know whether that plays a role.  As he said, the defense is still getting used to the idea that #91 is not rushing the passer anymore.

There was a lot of talk about Kendall Montgomery, who is now playing DE on a regular basis.  Coach talks about his athleticism and size in making him an edge pass rusher.  He had a couple of sacks last year in limited time.

Also, Andre Givens is having a good Spring.  RB is wide open for BG--WR Travis Greene is working out at RB as well.  Martin and Hopgood are coming off injuries, and of course there are 4 FR coming in this Fall and Samuel is still a question mark.

He is looking for explosive plays.  He said Givens made some, as did Gehrig Dieter, though he is not eligible this season.  (Update: Jack Carle of the Sentinel reported today that Dieter might actually be eligible and is waiting to hear from the NCAA.  This would be a pretty big development for WR-challenged BG).

The QBs are splitting the reps exactly evenly.  Coach said (correctly) that he isn't going to give a stock market report after every scrimmage.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tough Night for Akron...

Ouch.  Difficult night for the Zips.  They were starting already down Alex Abreu against a really good VCU team that matches up best against teams that don't handle the ball well.  And then you lose an 11 minute a game guy to a back injury and a starter to the flu and another 11 minute a game guy to the flu and you are just really up against it.

VCU took full advantage, laying a "butt whooping" (Dambrot's words) on the Zips.

I feel badly for them.  You work all year to get to the NCAAs, and then you get the flu in what might end up being your only shot...that's got to be heart-breaking.  And, for what was a pretty special season for the Zips, you have a pretty disappointing finish.

It was still a great season, and they will realize it in time.  Things just stacked up against them and VCU is the kind of team that doesn't just beat you by a little when that happens.

One last thing...for those tools from OU who were sniping, including Tyler Tettleton...Akron beat you 3 freaking times.  Shut up.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Clawson talks after first "Spring" practice with pads

Yeah, "spring" practice has been a test for the football teams here in the Mid-west.  Today is, of course, the very first day of spring and it has been fricking freezing.  The first spring practice took place in snow.

It seems like we used to go later, but maybe I'm just wrong about that.

Anyway, a bundled up Coach Clawson talked after the practice yesterday and the video is up on

Here are some high points:

D-line is a challenge.  Jarius Campbell, Ted Ouellete and Bryan Thomas are all out with injury, so we aren't working with our starters.  Yes, it means Isaah Lunsford, Mike Minns and Kendall Montgomery (yes, the experiment continues!) are getting more reps, but it also means that you aren't getting your top guys out there.

They are counting on Zach Colvin to add depth inside the line.

On the offensive line, Coach says we have numbers but won't have depth until we have multiple "playable guys."  Jordan Roussos graduated and Christian Piazza is getting the shot at that spot, but is being pushed.  BG has a few R-FR and the question is how many of them will be ready.  It needs to be a couple, for depth.

As an aside, this is one of the things about football.  You get behind the 8-ball at a position that is development-heavy like O-line and it will take you forever to dig yourself out.

He also said that Darion Delaney is on a make or break year.  He actually said that if it doesn't happen for him this year, "it might not happen."

He was asked about WR.  He says that the team needs Gallon and Joplin to turn into All-MAC players who are a factor in every game, not just an occasional great play or big game.  They have to produce every week.  Beyond them, he says this is a position a FR can play at, but the FR are obviously not here yet.

Finally, QB.  He says that Matt Schilz needs to be "much more consistent" than he was last year.  He needs to make the big-time throws and the average throws.  He will be pushed by Matt Johnson and James Knapke, both of whom Clawson says he has confidence in.

I'm pleased to see this.  I don't have the severe Schilz issues some people have--he hasn't always had much support around him--but I do think he can be better and hopefully he gets pushed to be better or one of the younger guys can step in.  As good as the defense might be, for a special team I do think we need better QB play.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

OU Finished....and on the "lousy" MAC

OU had a really tough assignment last night.  They had to fly a long distance on short notice to play a road game against a good team with an unusual style of play, and while the Bobcats made a valiant effort, they eventually fell to the Denver Pioneers.

This gives us a good opportunity to look at the MAC, which has been the subject of two interesting pieces in The Blade recently...only one of them dealt with BG directly.

The first was by John Wagner, the Falcon beat writer and was in his Falcon Fodder blog.  He admitted to waking up "grumpy" and responded to messages blaming him for Shafir not getting MAC POY and then an apparent deluge of angry emails related to the decision to keep Louis Orr around.

He makes the case that BG did it because of concerns about how it would look to buy Orr out while laying faculty off.  Unless I have missed it, he has never even cited a background source for this and it is his theory...but it certainly is plausible.

Then, he moved on to the MAC.  Apparently, Falcon fans have been that the program will fall "further behind" the other programs in the MAC.  Wagner goes on to say that the MAC is not good and therefore, this should not be a concern. ("To which I say: Really?" he writes.)   The idea that the MAC is not good was reinforced today in a column by Dave Hackenberg.  (He quotes an unnamed MAC AD as saying the conference is "lousy.")

I'm not here to argue that point, because I think it is true.  MAC basketball is not strong, especially historically, and I think it is suffering at the hands of the drive to keep FBS football, and I have written that before.

As it relates to BG, however, I believe it makes the state of our men's basketball program look worse and not better, and I do believe we risk falling further behind.

Two years ago, as noted by Hackenberg in another column, BG had 4 players who would end up as 1,000 point scorers:  Thomas, Brown, Crawford and Calhoun.  BG finished 9-7 in conference play.

This year, with just two of those players, BG finished 7-9.

And, as I have already written, it is my belief that the team next year will be hard pressed to be as good as this year's team.  Also, I don't believe there is any reason to think based on the record that Coach Orr can turn the program around.

Now, if going from 9-7 to 7-9 to something less than that (if it happens) isn't falling behind the rest of the MAC, I don't know what is.

And, the fact that the conference is not strong doesn't make it better, it makes it worse.  People aren't passing us, we're sinking.

Now, I think it is true that even a new coach would probably struggle next year.  But you'd be on year one of a turnaround as opposed to having that turnaround not start until 2014 and you might start to combat the "apathy" that people feel around the the same time, you might need to win games for that to truly happen.

Not that a turnaround is a guarantee.  Falcon fans should keep in mind that a new coach is far from a guarantee on its own.  Keith Dambrot has said there are only 3 schools in the MAC making a monetary investment in basketball...Akron, OU and UT.

In fact, data from the US Department of Education, compiled on (part of the mighty shows that BG is last in the MAC in spending on men's basketball, in the most recent data (2011).  BG spends about half what OU does on men's basketball.  (The data also belies Dambrot's claim, but you can see that for yourself.)

In other words, it is more than the Coach.

It has been frustrating to see UT and EMU (for example) go from absolutely awful teams to better than us in short period of time, while our post-Dakich rebuilding program more or less never happened.

This is a good chance to remember that Dan Dakich won 8 conference games in his last two seasons combined, and Coach Orr's teams have never won fewer than 6 in any season.  The program is not thriving (I have said "languishing"), but it has also not reached the Dakich depths--or the depths that UT, EMU, or NIU reached.  Coach Orr might have one winning season and one .500 season, but he also has no seasons under .400.

I think the point Wagner was making was that it isn't that hard to turn things around in this conference.  I just feel like we are falling behind and we're lucky the conference isn't good and for right now we better hope it doesn't get good.

I didn't expect us to buy Orr out and we didn't and I can understand why that might have been.  Even with valid reasons, we shouldn't pretend like it was a decision without downsides.

Thoughts go out to the BGSU community...

A member of the BGSU family died last night.  We send our condolences and wishes for peace to the family and friends of Frank Septaric, a BGSU student.

Monday, March 18, 2013

MAC Post-Season Outlook

So, the post-season outlook has been lined up.  Let's look at what we can expect for the MAC moving forward---there are four teams in post-season play, pretty much the maximum that could be expected.

The marquee matchup is in the NCAAs, with Akron playing VCU on Thursday.  I think this is a very tough matchup for Akron, which ended up with a #12 seed.  Beyond the obvious storyline that Shaka Smart used to coach for Dambrot and actually made a video message to help Akron's players after the Abreu arrest...I just think VCU is a tough tournament draw, especially without your PG.  The teams have played recently, so that helps and Akron has an experienced team.  I just think this was a very tough matchup.  If Akron wins, I think they would be a good upset pick over Michigan, should they get by South Dakota State, though Michigan is playing near home.

Ohio U. got a well deserved NIT bid...and then a really tough assignment.  They have to play @Denver on Tuesday.  Denver was 21-9 and had a kenpom of 38.  Further, they play the Princeton offense which Ohio doesn't see regularly and there is little time to prepare.  If they win, they would play the winner of Maryland and Niagara.

Now into the paying tournaments....

WMU has a home game in the CBIT playing North Dakota State.  This is also a tough assignment, though at least the game is in Kalamazoo.  The Bison were 24-9 in the Summit Conference and had a kenpom of 72.  That game is Wednesday.

And finally, Kent did get a home game as well in the tourney, against Fairfield.  That game is on Tuesday and is a pretty winnable assignment for the Flashes.  Fairfield was 19-15 in the MAAC with a kenpom of 159.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

List of Shame Remains Stable...

And so, the list of shame for this year remains stable.  Below are the teams that have been out of the NCAA tournament as long or longer than Bowling Green since its last appearance in 1968.  With us, this is now a dirty dozen.

I looked.  None of these teams was close to getting in either.   Anyway, an annual reminder...

Columbia: Last appeared in 1968
Tennessee Tech: Last appeared in 1963
Yale: Last appeared in 1962
Maine: Division I since 1962
New Hampshire: Division I since 1962
Dartmouth: Last appeared in 1959
Army: Division I since 1948
Citadel: Division I since 1948
Northwestern: Division I since 1948
St. Francis (N.Y.): Division I since 1948
William & Mary: Division I since 1948

Freddie Barnes Still Working..

Here's a Chicago media story about Freddie Barnes at a regional combine trying to get himself another shot in an NFL training camp.  He's had a rough go of it...including some time in the CFL...but he hasn't given up.

Dambrot....An Appreciation

We should pause for a minute and see what happened last night.  Here is an Akron team that was at the top all year.  I think everyone thought OU was close, but clearly Akron was better.

Abreu goes out.  Akron loses twice.  There's no doubt, they are reeling and what had been a magic season was falling apart.

Except it didn't.  What happened instead was that Keith Dambrot turned it around.  He rehabilitated their spirit, he developed a strategy for on the court, he figured out a way they could win.

In the face of adversity, many people just turn into victims.  This happened.  It isn't my fault.  I now have an excuse to fail.

Dambrot did what winners do.  He figured it out.  And this team, marked for dead, playing without its glue, beat OU by 19 points with a second half in which they held OU to 17 points and outscored them by 22.

OU was a good team.  Senior dominated.  Used to winning.  I actually think they are more talented than Akron.

But Akron is tough and they are also experienced.  And that's a team, and they know how to win basketball games.

That starts with Dambrot.  We need to stop and think that he is among the best coaches ever in this conference.  His team is in the conference final every year...they don't rebuild, they just win.  This week, though, this was special even by those standards.  In a world built on excuses, he had every chance to join in.

Instead, he succeeded.

I also thought that his comments this week about Abreu was right.  He didn't condone what happened, but he didn't condemn Alex either.  He knows that you can make mistakes--as he did--and you can pay a price--as he did--and then you can rehabilitate yourself and be a better person, and he showed faith that Abreu can do that, and to me, that was the kind of faith I'd like to see in someone charged with the lives of young men.

Hats off, Keith Dambrot.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

MAC News....the expected final and an unexpected firing

Two things from the MAC...

First, as appropriate, OU and Akron will play for the MAC title.  Loser gets the NIT, the MAC will be a one-bid league.  Akron used Harney at the point last night and they beat a Kent team that has been playing well of late.  In fact, they were probably better than WMU, but only got the lower seed because WMU had the softer West schedule.

The byes certainly worked the way they are supposed to.  In the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, the team that had not played yet beat the team that had in every situation, and the conference's two best teams are in the final, and those things are all good.

I like the super-bye system.  It gives value to the regular season, and that's important.  Should be an absolute dog-fight tonight, because there's no consolation prize.  With Abreu out, I think it is very evenly matched.

Second, Reggie Witherspoon was fired after 14 seasons in Buffalo.  I was never a fan of the 'Spoon going back to the buzzer-banger incident in the Dakich years.  Notwithstanding his last appearance at the Stroh, I always thought he was a drama queen.  He did have a good record at Buffalo, however, and I was very surprised to see him let go.  There is a new AD and that probably spelled the end.

It certainly has been noted by BG fans who think that Coach Orr should have been let go.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two Takes on Orr....

There has been a huge amount of chatter about the Orr decision.  For thoughtful analysis, I would point you to Dave Hackenberg's column and a blogpost from BGSU grad Jon Williams.

The conventional wisdom appears to be developing around the idea that the administration, as a whole, is under pressure due to its plan to eliminate 100 faculty positions.  The thinking goes that it would be difficult to support those cuts when you were paying a basketball coach not to coach for a year.

I did report here that the faculty had been critical of the football program and the heavily subsidized trip to the Military Bowl as part of a list of areas they had concerns about.  (The Faculty Association referred to it as a "failed" bowl game).

I hadn't thought about that directly.  As I posted here, I expected us to have Orr back just because that's our move.  We have not done much buying out.

Meanwhile, Ball State bought out the contract of Billy Taylor in a situation remarkably similar to Coach Orr's.  They started the same year, had nearly the same record, and had the same reputation as being squeaky clean but not winning.  They also were headed into a contract year next year and he was bought out for one year.

This has not gone unnoticed.

My primary contribution is to note that both of the articles linked above talk about the apathy around the program.  It would be better if the fan base was angry, but in general people have stopped worrying about it.  I would say that is the biggest concern.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Orr to Return to BG next season

As predicted here yesterday, Louis Orr will return to coach the Falcons next year.  Reports in both the Sentinel and the Blade are reporting this news just now.

Now, football

So, before we enter the summer hibernation phase, there is one last ritual...Spring Football.  The prospectus is out for the spring, which you can check here.  It recaps the program's view on how we stand at various positions.

I did a quick review, and here are a couple news items.

First, as expected, Anthon Samuel is not on the roster but he is mentioned in the write up as still being a possibility for the Fall.

On the other hand, Hunter Maynard, who was suspended last we heard, is neither mentioned nor on the roster.

Malik Stokes is not listed on the roster, leaving us Stokes-free.

There are a couple other guys who aren't listed anymore, but I believe that they were walk-ons and that kind of thing does happen.

Lastly, under QB, it says this:

Matt Schilz, Matt Johnson and James Knapke will compete this spring for the starting job when the Falcons open the season at home versus Tulsa.
Take it for what you will.  (Update:  Coach did confirm in The Blade today that the Falcons did "open up" the QB competition.)

Final MAC Awards....

Player of the Year, DJ Cooper
Coach of the Year, Keith Dambrot

I agree with both choices.  I have been vocal over the years that I was not a huge fan of DJ Cooper--not that I didn't think he was a good player, but that he was not as good as people said.  He was touted for his scoring and his assists, but his scoring was inefficient and might have hurt the team.  This year was different, he had a much improved season and was deserving of this honor.

As for Dambrot, this has to be a no-brainer.  Too often, the team that runs the table does not get this award in favor or some middling team that exceeded expectations.  Dambrot did a great job coaching a team to that kind of success, and he is the only choice for this award.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More MAC Awards....

Defensive Player of the year:  Zeke Marshall, Akron
Freshman of the Year:  Darius Paul, WMU
Sixth Man of the Year:  David Brown, WMU

A few comments....

The Sixth Man and Defensive Player awards come from the coaches, which I think has some credibility.  Here is the thing...there aren't a lot of stats for defense--blocks and steals--and Marshall gets a lot of blocks.  However, there is also just plain guarding a guy, and I always worry that gets forgotten for this away.  Coaches should vote for who they have to game plan around, and I assume they did.

Marshall has now won the award in back-to-back years.

Darius Paul was the overwhelming choice as Freshman of the Year, with Chris Fowler a distant second.

I don't have any issue with David Brown getting the sixth man award.  I'd like to suggest that Richaun Holmes would have been a worthy recipient as well.

The elephant in the room

I haven't written on this topic at all, because I'm not interested in this being the kind of blog where some guy behind a keyboard relentlessly hounds some other guy who hasn't done anything to anybody except have less success than we would have hoped and when the person who feels that way most strongly is the houndee.

It is very difficult to avoid.  I have been tweeted about it and it was all anyone was talking about on the way out of the Stroh Center last night.  Coach Orr was asked about it after the game.

Will Coach Orr be back?

People asking that question ask it because the preliminary question--should he be back--is already answered in their mind.

He has one year left on his contract and I believe that the odds are he will finish that contract.  Events may prove me wrong but I expect to see him on the bench next year.

I think buying Coach Brandon out gave fans a different sense of where we are as a school.  We are not the "buying out" type.  The Brandon thing was externally funded but Gary Blackney reached the end of his deal and so did Dan Dakich...and Dakich was under this athletic director.

Furthermore, there were huge problems with the program under Brandon, as we can clearly see now.  Those problems were beyond performance.  There were APR issues.  The program was in shambles.

Our men's basketball program is not having the success anyone wants.  I have used the word "languishing" and I use it again.  But, the program is not collapsing from all sides, like Brandon's football program was.  In fact, everyone respects Coach Orr's integrity and demeanor.

Buying out costs money, and I don't expect us to spend it on this.

Again, maybe I will be proven wrong.

Here's the problem.  Being on a one year deal is a tough way to go.  It certainly did not go well for Coach Dakich...or Blackney, for that matter.

It will be made even more difficult by the fact that this team was 13-19 this year with 2 non D1 wins and it is hard to imagine us being better next year.  We are losing 55% of our scoring (Chauncey Orr will be our leading returning scorer), 61% of our assists and 37% of our rebounds--from a poor team.

I know people are excited about the freshman, but they are only freshman and we have had freshman with big HS pedigrees come in before (a couple of them were on the floor last night) and they aren't good until they're good.

I'm not going to call guys out, but let's say that we are very unproven at the point for next year and it is hard to imagine where the scoring (especially at guard) is going to come from, and the names you say will fill those response is that those guys have not really shown too much in the chances they have had, certainly not on a consistent basis.

And, we have rarely seen players take big leaps in the Orr era...players may improve incrementally or they may not, but I don't think we have seen anyone who was markedly better one year from the next.

My only point is that Coach Orr will be entering the last year of his deal and honestly, I think we will be hard pressed to be as good as this year's team was.  And that leaves you with what is pretty much a very long year leading to a conclusion that by then will not surprise anyone.

And that's a pretty depressing thought.

Do I think Coach Orr can turn this program around and bring it back to a winning position?  Or, do I think Coach Orr can take the program and get it into the conference's elite, where people talk about Akron, OU and BG?

I have seen nothing that suggests he can.  He has had one winning season.  Yes, to his credit, that team won the regular season title.  But he has now graduated six seniors from the program in the last two years--players he brought in--and the team is getting worse.

If he is brought back, I will be rooting for him.

But I don't see anything that suggests things are going to get better.

And they haven't been awful...which is why I use the word languishing.  It is just that from a fan's perspective, there have been only two winning seasons since the WVU is as long a drought as this program has ever had.  You can't blame Anderson Arena anymore (and I don't believe you ever could).

The team was 13-19 in Dakich's last season, BTW, very similar to this year's record.

Ultimately the decision rests with the man who is paid to make those decisions.  We will watch and wait.

Monday, March 11, 2013

While all about it wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

For the second straight season, the Falcons have lost a home tournament game to one of the worst teams in a poor conference.

Last year, it was #11 CMU.

This year, it was #12 Miami.

The good news is that next year it will be impossible for BG to lose to a worse team.

I know...EMU and Buffalo struggled tonight, too.

Difference is, they won.

Yes, I know Miami had some close losses and almost beat OU, etc.  The point is that the last 9 teams that had played Miami had managed to beat them...which Bowling Green did not.

Miami right now has four conference wins.  Two of them were against the Falcons.

It is just incredibly disappointing.  This is a game that BG should never have lost and it is the second year in a row it has happened.  The only thing going for BG this year has been playing well at home, and you just have to win this one on your home floor.  It was already a poor season, but you had a chance with two very winnable tournament games to at least get into a quarterfinal game with a team you beat.

And it ended like that instead.

I am sure that everyone involved with the program feels the same way, especially seniors who left their collegiate basketball careers behind on that effort.  It has to be a very difficult night.

More tomorrow.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Kenpom says BG has 9 in 1,000 chance of making Dance

Here, stolen directly from, are the odds for the MAC tournament, based on the log5 system, which you can find here if you really want to understand it.  Mostly, he uses math, which can be annoyingly factual.  People prefer opinions.  The beauty of this system is that no matter happens, kenpom cannot be wrong.

Note that Round 1 in this calculation is actually the Round of 8 that is played Wednesday.  So BG has a 78% chance to reach that game and 50/50 to get two wins and 1/5 to get 3.  And, to win it all is 9 chances in 1,000.

So it is not nothing or the odds that NIU has.

Note also that he indicates here that these are pre-Abreu numbers which may not transfer into a post-Abreu world.  Even so, OU had a decent shot at them...and there is that old thing about beating a team three times, and now without your PG.

You might wonder how it is that Ball State ended up with the #5 seed and yet with less than 50% to win their first game.  That is because they had an 8-8 record in the MAC, but they also played NIU and CMU twice and had a softer schedule in general than the West.

There you have it...

Calhoun and Crawford honored

So, the All-MAC and all-FR teams are in...Pretty much what you would expect for BG.

A'uston Calhoun was second-team All-MAC, which is certainly an honor he deserves.  And Jordon Crawford received Honorable Mention honors.  No Falcon placed on the All-Freshman team...remember, Richaun Holmes is not a FR.

Anyway, you can't really argue too much.  I don't think you can put Calhoun over McCrea or Evans, for example and I think he could have easily been behind Majok Majok.

As for Crawford, I don't think he's better than Juice Brown and if Alex Abreu (even given his arrest issues) is honorable mention, it is hard to argue that he goes higher than that.

On non-BG issues, I think Majok might have deserved better, but beyond that the first team was pretty bullet-proof.  Both Offut and Keely are potential second-team players in my mind as well...that's a pretty good team to have Cooper and then two third-teamers.

There will be some awards released every day this week and we'll keep track.

For now, congratulations to A'uston and to Jordon.

All-MAC First Team
Zeke Marshall, C, Akron
Javon McCrea, F, Buffalo
Chris Evans, W/F, Kent State
Rian Pearson, G, Toledo
D.J. Cooper, G, Ohio

All-MAC Second Team
Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell, F, Akron
Jauwan Scaife, G, Ball State
A'uston Calhoun, F, Bowling Green
Kyle Randall, G, Central Michigan
Shayne Whittington, F/C, Western Michigan

All-MAC Third Team
Majok Majok, F, Ball State
Randal Holt, G, Kent State
Walter Offutt, G, Ohio
Reggie Keely, F, Ohio
Julius "Juice" Brown, G, Toledo

Honorable Mention
Alex Abreu, G, Akron
Jordon Crawford, G, Bowling Green
Glenn Bryant, F, Eastern Michigan
Will Felder, F, Miami
Nate Hutcheson, F, Western Michigan

MAC All-Freshman Team
Jake Kretzer, G/F, Akron
Jarryn Skeete, G, Buffalo
Chris Fowler, G, Central Michigan
Nathan Boothe, C, Toledo
Darius Paul, F, Western Michigan

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Win or "Go Home" Time Starts Tomorrow

So, starting tomorrow, it is win or "go home" time.  I put it in quotes only because should BG lose tomorrow night, we will already BE at home.  But you get the point.

The opponent is the Miami RedHawks, the lowest performing team in the MAC.  On home court, you have to think the Falcons will be able to get this one done, but we are all mindful of how we thought that last year, and lost at home to CMU, the second-worst team in the MAC.

The MAC Tournament has not been a kind place for the Falcons.  The last time BG won 2 games in the tournament was in 2002, when they lost in the finals to Kent.  Obviously, that is pre-WVU and the fall from grace the followed.  Coach Orr has won only 2 MAC tournament games.

As opponents, the RedHawks are truly struggling.  They finished 8-21 and 3-13 in the of those 3 wins was against Bowling Green, in Oxford.  Since that game, they have lost 13 out of 14, with the only win being @CMU.

They were 3-13 on the road for the year.  Their RPI is 259 and their kenpom is 249.  (BG's kenpom is 190 and RPI is 255).

The RedHawks have been further stuck by the injury bug.  They lost contributor Drew McGhee just before the second BG game and then lost leading scorer Allen Roberts recently, both due to knee injuries.  They lost Bill Edwards to an injury after five games.

UPDATE:  On twitter, @rickcassano is saying that Roberts is "questionable" for BG but has been cleared by his family physician to return this season.  Stay tuned!

We just played them a couple of weeks ago, so all the things we previewed then are still pretty much true.  The upshot is that this is an average offensive team and a poor defensive team.

After Roberts, their only double figure scorer is Will Felder, a 6'7" JR.  Felder also leads the team with 5.3 rebounds.  Quentin Rollins is the team's leader in assists.

In the last game, BG beat them in relatively unspectacular fashion at the Stroh.  They played a very tough game against an OU team with not much to play for.  BG should win this game.  To lose it would be just as disappointing as last year's loss and a terrible way to end the season.  Honestly, BG has a decent shot to make the quarter finals, but they have to start with the victory Monday.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Regular Season Fins

This how the whole thing ended.  Miami almost beat OU but didn't and so they finish in the basement and head up to the Stroh on Monday.  BG would meet the winner of EMU and NIU in the late game on Wednesday.  Western would be next and then Ohio U.

Over--Falcons Finish #6 Seed, corrected

And that is that.  NIU gave Ball State all they could handle and had two shots at the end, but they were without Nader and there are 5-23 for a reason, and Ball State got the win and the bye to Cleveland, 53-51.

This is how it looks.  If OU beats Miami then Miami finishes #11 and BG would play the RedHawks Monday at the Stroh.  If, against all odds, Miami were to beat OU than BG would play NIU.

The winner of that game--BG vs. Miami/NIU, would play Ball State on Wednesday at 6:30 PM.   BG defeated Ball State at the Stroh earlier this season. the winner of the EMU game, probably against NIU.  BG defeated EMU at the Stroh earlier this season.  I assume BG would then play the late game on Wednesday, but the MAC is having trouble getting its vendor to update the website with correct information on the bracket, so we will hang loose on that one.

Permutations become clearer...and clearer

It will all be resolved soon.

Here is how things look at 2:05 pm.

BG will either get the #5 or #6 seed.

Actually, the stuff at the top has gotten somewhat interesting.  OU can actually tie Akron as co-champs (with Akron winning the tie breaker) and that probably will happen, as Miami lost another key player to injury this week.  Kent could also tie WMU, but that's less likely and WMU beat Kent so they would stay #3.

For BG, here are the scenarios.

IF EMU and Ball State both win, then BG finishes 8th and plays the #9 team.  I expect all three bottom teams to lose tomorrow, so that would mean BG would play CMU at home on Monday.  You will recall that the Chips took BG out last year.  Ball would be #5, EMU #6 and Buffalo #7.

If Ball State wins and EMU loses (the most probable scenario), then Ball is #5.  BG would be #6, EMU #7 and Buffalo #8.  BG would probably play Miami here, which would be good since they are bad and have lost Allen Roberts.

If EMU wins and Ball State loses, a far less likely scenario, then EMU is #5, Buffalo is #6, BG is #7 and Ball is #8.

Finally, if both EMU and Ball State lose, then BG does get #5 and does not play Monday.  EMU would be #6, Bufalo #7 and Ball State #8.

Anyway, how ever it sets up, BG has a very winnable game at home on Monday.  However, the same was true last year when BG played the second worst team in the entire conference and lost that game, so you'd certainly feel like you had some redemption to get.

Remember, by the way, that when we talk about being #6 we are talking seeding.  UT has finished ahead of BG and so BG's actual finish will be one spot lower than its seed.  BG finished #6 last year in the full 12 team conference, for those of you who are scoring at home.

Senior Night Success like Penicillin

And so, the Falcons ended the regular season on a high note...beating a good Buffalo Bulls team that has been playing well.  It was an exciting game, well played, and a nice win for our guys.

It did not appear that it was gong to be that way early on.  BG came out in a man to man and Buffalo just shredded us.  McCrea had 10 points before the first media time out.  They just were never missing.  With 8 minutes left, they had 31 points, on pace to get 92 for the game.

BG switched to the 2-3 zone, and from there the whole thing turned around.  It hasn't always worked that way this year--because we don't use the 2-3 as much as we used to, I'm not sure we're as proficient in it--but we seemed to really bring it this time.  Buffalo had real problems getting good shots.  They did not torch us for 3s as other teams have and when the got the ball to McCrea at the elbow--supposedly where you want the ball in this zone--he didn't seem to know what to do with it.

Coach credited Cam Black for playing big defense on the inside as well.

BG was down 8 with 8 minutes left in the first half and 6 inside of 2 minutes, but they got a +1 from Anthony Henderson and two very late FTs from Spencer Parker and went into the locker room down only 3.

Starting the second half, BG had the game tied almost right away and had a lead with 16 minutes left. With 14:42 left, the game was tied at 42 and BG went on a 6-0 run to take a lead they would never relinquish.  From 9 minutes in, the game was never a one possession game.

Jordon Crawford made 2 huge threes in stretch time after struggling to shoot at the end of the Kent game.  With 3:46 left, BG's lead was down to 4, and Crawford nailed a 3 from the half court set and then nailed a pull up fast break 3 and those were pretty much daggers in the Bulls.  Both Coach Stone and Orr said that they had rested Crawford longer in the second half so he could be effective in the closing minutes, and it did seem to work.

Of course, putting him on the bench is the easy part...your other guys have to be able to play while he is out.  BG was up 7 when he went out and up 6 when he came back.

Offensively, it was BG's best game of the season.  They scored 1.22 points per possession, which is even better than they did against New Orleans.  We shot 49% from the field and 44% from 3FG, but only turned the ball over 9 times and made 14 of 19 FTs in a 62 possession game, and that's a very efficient offensive night.

On defense, we allowed 1.05 points per possession for the game, which is tied for our highest amount in a win this season with the Detroit win.  I don't have the numbers, but for 32 minutes of the game, BG played very good defense in the zone.  Buffalo finished shooting 49%, but was 6 of 17 from beyond the arc and only 11 of 17 at the line.  We established in the preview that Buffalo is the most turnover-prone team in the MAC, and they turned the ball over on 26% of their possessions a huge difference in the game.

BG's offensive success led to one of the great press conference moments in the Orr era, when he said that scoring points was like "penicillin" in that it "cures what ails you" but defense is the "substance."

This is perhaps the best quote ever.  Coach Orr, love you, and I know what you were trying to say, but before penicillin substance was getting its ass kicked.  People didn't live to be 40, they lived in constant fear of a bacterial infection, entire families were wiped out in a week.  Penicillin is one of the 10 greatest advances in human history if not the best.  This place was a WRECK before penicillin.

Maybe offense is the dessert, or it is the breading on the chicken, or its the frosting on the cupcake or its a hood ornament or maybe its just a sugar high...

On an individual basis, Jordon Crawford had a huge game.  He scored 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting, 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and 5 of 6 at the line to go with 4 steals, 4 assists and only 2 turnovers.  That's one hell of a productive night.

Calhoun had 15 points and 4 rebounds to go with 4 turnovers, but he struggled to shooting the ball.  It took him 18 shots to get those 15 points.  He was hot early and then the Bulls put some more attention on him.

The big offensive surprise was Cam Black, who complimented his strong defensive game with a very strong offensive game.  I have always felt he has the skills to contribute offensively but he just doesn't seem to do it consistently.  He has a nice, soft shot for a big man.  He had 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting and 6 rebounds.  Coach Stone said that Buffalo's normally physical big men were playing "soft" so BG adjusted the bal and attacked them inside.

If Cam Black can develop an offensive game, it would be huge for this team this year and next.

Chauncey Orr led the team with 7 rebounds.  Anthony Henderson came back from a prolonged slump with 7 points in 16 minutes and Richaun Holmes had 9 points and 2 blocks in 16 minutes.

Finally, the end was very interesting.  I try not to whine about the officials when we lose, but I am perfectly happy to do it when we win.  Those guys were awful.  BG would get a touch foul on one hand followed by a felony level mugging on the other end that would be a no-call.  They officials were futzing around with the clock or something with 10 seconds left in a 12 point game, just as they had at the end of the first half.

I'm on record as not being able to stand Reggie Witherspoon, dating back to the "Buzzer Banger" incident and then extending through 14 years of histrionics, head slapping, coat ripping off drama.  His teams underachieve for the players he gets.  Anyway, you get my point.

So, last night, the officials are futzing around and Witherspoon has been having his guys foul and is calling time even though the game is over.  Then, all of a sudden, Witherspoon walked down the sideline and shook Coach Orr's hand and walked back to the bench and told his players to just put the ball on the floor and end the game, which was a classy thing to do.

So perhaps I have misjudged him.

So, BG finishes the regular season at 13-18 and 7-9 in the MAC.  We will find out this afternoon what happens next as it relates to the MAC tourney...I will have the permutations up in an hour or so. It hasn't always been a great season--especially on the road--but our guys brought a really nice effort last night and I was proud of them.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Abreu arrested
NCAAB - Akron PG Alex Abreu (10.3ppg, 6 apg) arrested on drug charges, has been suspended indefinitely

I call Bull....

So, the regular season ends tomorrow with the Falcons and the Bulls playing at the Stroh.  The Bulls still have a shot at the #5 seed to avoid a game on Monday, as do the Falcons, though Buffalo probably has a stronger shot.  Without a win, of course, they have no shot, and they will come in looking to pull the upset.

For a team that has lost 3 of its last 4, they are playing pretty well.  They lost their bracketbuster game at home to Manhattan and they can't be happy with that, but they lost by 2 @Kent, became the only team to beat Akron this year and then probably should have beaten OU but didn't.  Those last two games were at home, true, but contrast the Bulls performance against Akron and OU in Alumni Arena to BG's performance against the same teams in BG.

Buffalo has had a tough season, much as BG has.  The Bulls are 12-18 with an RPI of 215 even after beating Akron and a kenpom of 179.  Still, they seem to be playing well now and have some good players.  I'm feeling "not so fresh" about tomorrow's game.

To wit, when BG went to Buffalo back in January, the Bulls were 5-12 with an RPI of 253, so they are 7-6 since then.

Their offensive production has certainly improved in MAC play.  They were 8th in offensive efficiency when BG and Buffalo played the first time, and they are up to fifth now, at 1.02 points per possession.  They shoot really well--3rd in the MAC in EFG%--but they counteract that by making a lot of turnovers.  They turn the ball over on 24% of their possessions, worst in the MAC and among the ten worst in the country.  Note, though, they have been stronger of late, being under 20% in 5 of their last 7 games...but with the ability to have a really bad game...see Manhattan (39%) and OU (29%).

They are very good on the offensive boards (3rd in the MAC in Offensive rebound %) and they are 5th in getting to the line and 6th at making free throws.

I think that if this team can get to the point where they get a shot, they are dangerous.

They are not a strong defensive team.  They allow 1.02 points per possession which is 8th in the MAC.  They are 4th in defending the shot but worst in creating turnovers, which means that teams are getting enough shots to score, even with the lower %.  (The Bulls are -4 per game in turnovers).  They are 8th in allowing their opponents to the line and 4th in fouls.  They are in the middle of the pack in defending their offensive boards.

Individually, the Bulls feature one of the best players in the conference...Javon McCrea, a Jr F.  He is second (by micro points) in the MAC in scoring at 17.9 PPG, 3rd in rebounding, 3rd in FG%, 2nd in blocked shots, and 2nd in offensive rebounds.  This guy is a beast.  No MAC team has held him out of double figures and he has 6 double-doubles in MAC play.

The team features 3 other 10 point per game scorers.

  • Tony Watson III, who is hitting 44% from 3.
  • Will Regan, a 6'8" So.
  • Jarrod Oldham, who also leads the team with 4 assists per game

They also have a 6'6" JR named Auraum Nuiriankh who is averaging 5 RPG.

In the first game between the teams, Buffalo won by 3 when BG went the last 4 minutes without scoring a FG and Crawford failed to convert on two jumpers when BG had a shot to win the game.

BG shot poorly overall but made 50% of its 3FGs to keep the game close.  In fact, BG had 1.05 points per possession but allowed 1.1 per possession to Buffalo. This despite the fact that Crawford and Calhoun were a collective 11 of 36 shooting.

Other than that, the game was evenly matched.

Anyway, obviously, we're a threat in any game we play at the Stroh.  Having said that, it just feels like you have two teams on different arcs right now.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Penultimate Permutations

And here they are.  The standings heading into the season's final game.

Things have turned bleak in the Falcon Nation.

BG can still get the #5 seed.  It would happen if...

  • BG beats Buffalo
  • EMU loses to UT in Ypsi
  • Ball State loses to NIU in Muncie

You see my point.  Buffalo is playing really well.  In fact, the MAC tourney should be interesting, with two dominant teams but with Ball State and Buffalo playing really well.  Anyway, I like BG's chances at home against Buffalo but it is far from certain and I'm probably slightly delusional.

Beyond that, EMU could certainly lose to UT, though the game is in Ypsi...but I don't see Ball State losing to NIU at home.  (Note that Abdel Nader has missed the last two games due to "personal issues" and if he misses the next one, Ball State is a virtual lock).

So, if all those cosmic tumblers fall into place there would be a 4-way tie for the #5 seed.  BG would be 3-1 in that grouping.  EMU would be 2-2, Buffalo 2-2 and Ball State 1-3.

I don't actually think it matters too much whether BG ends up #6, #7 or #8.   CMU, NIU and Miami are all pretty similar teams.

If you finish #8 than your first game at the Q would be against the #5 seed whereas if you finish #6 or #7 you play someone who also had to play on Monday, which is slightly better, I guess.  In that vein, BG just has to pass one team.  With a win, BG would obviously tie Buffalo, but we lose the head to head tie breaker with them so we would need another team to drop into the tie and it would have to be EMU.

In the end, even allowing for the fact it can always happen, there's no reason to think this team has a tournament run in them.  To win the tournament, BG would need to win 5 times in 6 days in a year where it has taken us all year to win 12 games.

No Surprises in Kent

Things went pretty much as expected last night in Kent, as the Falcons lost, fell into the 8th seed and 9th place in the MAC and lost nearly any chance of grabbing the #5 seed.  Further, Buffalo appears to be red hot and BG's final home game Friday would look to be anything but a cake walk.

The Falcons finish the year 1-12 on the road.  We are the only team in the MAC with 1 road win on the season, so we are, officially, the worst road team in the conference.

It wasn't that BG didn't have its moments last night.  The first 18 minutes were an abject disaster...with 2:25 left in the first half, BG was down 17 points and it was looking like Kent was going to run the Falcons right out of the gym.  

Then, the Falcons scored 11 points in 1:54 in an offensive streak unlike any we have seen this year.  Sealey had 5 points and Orr had 6 in that stretch, which is encouraging given that neither is a senior.  The run was aided by a technical foul on Kent, but still, BG scored 11 points in 2 minutes and at times (make a note of this) have struggled to score that much in 10 minutes.

So, BG heads into the locker room down 6.  At this point, they have the opportunity to make a statement, to actually change the outcome of the game.  The second half was much more tightly contested...BG got it down to 1 and Kent had it as high as 8.  

Then the Falcons took the lead with 7:29 left, 58-57.  Again, here is an opportunity to get a pretty big road win and you are leading inside of 8 minutes.  In the actual event, Kent asserted total superiority in the last 7 minutes, holding a Falcon team that had scored 11 points in 2 minutes to 3 points in 7 minutes while scoring 12 on their own and ending up with a 8 point win.

During that streak, BG was 1-12 from the field with one turnover.  Crawford missed 7 shots in that streak, Calhoun 3, and Orr and Kraus one each.

In his presser, Coach Orr said this..."I respect the courage of our older guys, but we gotta make better plays...and it doesn't have to be one guy."

Richaun Holmes had all 3 points.

It was another quick game, at 69 possessions.  BG's defense held Kent to 1 point per possession, which is well below their season average of 1.07 points per possession.  So a decent defensive performance, but not close to where BG needs to be to win.  As we have noted ad naseum, BG is now 2-17 when allowing more than .93 points per possession, and in this game even that would not have been enough as BG only scored .88 points per possession.  (Though, in theory, more stops would have led to more transition chances, where BG was more successful).

Here's a big part of the story.  In terms of overall FG%, BG and Kent were almost equal at 42% and change.  However, Kent was 9 of 20 from 3 and BG was 0 of 9, yielding a huge actual shooting advantage for the Flashes.  The other facets of the game were pretty came down to making baskets and preventing baskets, which is, of course, the object of the game.

Calhoun had 13 points on 6 of 12 shooting and 7 rebounds, while Crawford has 12 points on a very weak 5 of 17 to go with 8 assists and 5 turnovers.  Holmes had 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in 20 minutes.  Orr added 8 and Craig Sealey scored 7 points and 3 rebounds in 5 minutes.

One last note.  In listening to the presser, I thought Coach Orr sounded tired.  He struggled for words when talking about the 12-3 run at the end.  I just thought it stood out.  He praised his team for fighting, which they did, but kept ending sentences with something like "we just have to be able to make baskets."

BG falls to 12-18 on the season and 6-9 in the MAC.  The regular season finishes on Friday with a peaking Buffalo team and then, in all probability we will be home on Monday for a tournament game.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Football Coaching and Staff "Updates"

So, this was seen on recently, and I thought it would be of interest to people here.  No idea if any of this is true, but nothing in it sounds out of line.  Coach's contract is public record, if anyone has the initiative to request it.

Assuming it is accurate...

Coach Clawson has done a nice job of negotiating for himself.  He has gotten himself a raise, assured himself of some parity in the conference and should he decide to leave (and you have to figure it is in his head at some point) his buyout remains small in relative terms, especially if he gets a higher profile offer.

The risk is mostly on the school's side, which is usually where it is.  I'm fine with that.  He's built the program on the field, rebuilt the APR, avoided shortcuts...I think they recruit well...he's a good coach and the guy we needed at the time, for sure.

As I always say, in the MAC coaches leave one of two ways...the way Meyer did or the way Brandon did.  If Coach gets his chance, I would wish him the best.  We'd like him to leave the way Meyer did.

The same website says that an assistant director of operations at USC has come to BG to be the "director of recruitng and playing personnel."  If so, I believe that is a new position for us, and further reflects an investment in the program.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Flash Preview

BG will play its final road game of the season tomorrow in Kent.

And we can be thankful for that.

The road has not been kind to our Falcons.  BG is 1-11 on the road this year.  That's one win over NIU...and losses to everyone else.  There was at least one close call--triple OT against USF--but there were also losses @CMU and @Miami that you'd like to think you could have gotten.

Anyway, as we covered earlier in the week, BG does not have any wiggle room.  If they hope to get a #4 bye, they need a win over Kent and if they lose to Kent, there shots of getting even a #5 bye are pretty fleeting.

It won't be easy for a team that doesn't play well on the road.  Kent has won 5 of the last 6 in the MAC Center against BG.

On the other hand...Kent has normally been dominant at home, but this year they are 10-6 and 4-3 in MAC play on their home floor, neither of which are anything to brag about.  Now, those three loses are to Akron, OU and Toledo....anyway, Kent is not the top-tier MAC team they have been in the past.

Also, BG beat Kent at the Stroh, and by 15 points in what was one of the strongest performance of the season.  BG held KSU to .83 points per possession and Chauncey Orr chipped in 18 points as BG scored 1.06 points per possession in cruising to the victory.

Here are the four factors for that game.  One other note---Kent was only 3 of 17 from beyond the arc in that game while BG was 6 of 14.

So, with those two caveats, we move toward the game in Kent, where the Flashes are favored by 8.  Kent lost to BG in the midst of a 4-game losing streak....which went Akron, @BG, OU, and @NIU.  At that point, Kent seemed to have bottomed out--maybe the Mad Dialin' Rob Senderhoff was the wrong guy to continue the Kent legacy.

Since then, they have feasted on a softer schedule, winning 6 of 8 and losing only @OU and @WMU, but beating Miami twice and CMU once, for example.

We covered the Flashes when they came to the Stroh and not too much has changed since then.  They are 17-12 and 7-7, with an RPI of 171 and a kenpom of 118.  Here's the preview I wrote at the time.  Coming into the game, Kent was #3 in offensive efficiency in the MAC and #6 in defense and that's pretty much where they stand now.

Here are the four factors for the season....

One thing has been the streak Chris Evans has been on over the past 8 games.  He's averaging 18 points a game over that period and the 6'8" Sr. is making a very solid case for MAC First team if not POY.  For the year, he's averaging 17 points a game and shooting 50.5% and averaging 7.5 rebounds.  He's 4th in scoring and rebounds and 7th in offensive efficiency.

The other double figure scorer is Randal Holt who is scoring 14 points per game, with a perimeter profile.  They don't have a big assist guy, but they do have 3 guys who are averaging a couple of assists per game.

So, there it is.  BG is a severe underdog in this game and you can't be too surprised or argue too much.  BG will need to play its never best game to beat the Flashes Tuesday and they need a win relatively badly.  It can always happen--that's what keeps people tuning in--and maybe it will be this time.  That would certainly be exciting, wouldn't it!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Permutations not kind to Falcons

Yesterday could not have been worse for the Falcons.  Every team in the logjam in the middle of the conference won except BG.  That included EMU beating WMU and, worst of all, Buffalo beating Akron.  So, a situation that appeared to have some optimism now looks a lot tighter for the Falcons.  Let's look.

So, if things ended this way, BG would play Miami at the Stroh.  The Falcons have assured themselves of at least a home berth in the tournament and can't finish lower than 8th.

Also, for reference, if BG ends up in a the two-way tie with Buffalo, the Bulls would win that tiebreaker, by virtue of their win over Akron Saturday.  However, multi-way ties including the Bulls are still in play.

So, let's look at BG's 4 scenarios.

If BG loses out and finishes 6-10, they will be 7th or 8th and probably 8th because Ball State still has NIU to play.  I do that scenario first only because it is the simplest.

Next, let's look at what might happen if BG won once and it was Buffalo we beat.  BG would be 7-9.  We could not finish 4th in the scenario because Kent would have beaten us for win #8.  We could only finish #5 if EMU lost @CMU and to UT (unlikely) and Buffalo lost out as well (meaning they lose to OU in addition to us), which is plausible, and Ball State lost at least once.  In a 3-way tie between BG, EMU and Buffalo, BG would win and that would also be true if Ball State made it a 4-way tie.

Now, what if BG won once and it was Kent.  BG cannot finish 4th because Buffalo would be assured of having 8 wins by beating us.  BG would finish 5th.  It would require the same thing from EMU but now Kent has to lose out and Ball State lose once.  Once you have made the leap that we might win @Kent, they have to finish with Akron, so they could lose that once.

And now, what if BG were to win both of its last two games.  In that case, BG would have a very strong shot at finishing in the #4 slot.  I looked at a 5-way tie with Kent, EMU, Buffalo, BG and Ball State and BG would be 5-1 in that group and would get the top spot.

If you take Kent out, BG is still 3-1 among the remaining 4 teams and Buffalo 2-2.  If you take EMU out, BG is still 4-1 and Kent 3-2.  If you take Buffalo out, BG is 4-0.  If you take Ball out BG is 4-1 and Kent is 3-2.

In hot three way action....

BG Kent EMU  (BG wins, 3-0)
BG Kent Buffalo (BG 3-1, Kent 2-2, Buffalo 1-3)
BG Kent Ball  (BG 3-0)
BG EMU Buffalo (BG 2-1, EMU 1-1, Buffalo 1-2)
BG EMU Ball (BG 2-0)
BG Buffalo Ball (Buffalo wins.  Both BG and Buffalo are 2-1 and Buffalo wins the head to head)

Two-way tiebreakers:

BG beats Kent, EMU, and Ball State and loses only to Buffalo.

So, there you have it.  I think.  Anyway, the most work is to figure out what happens if BG wins twice and that isn't very likely, frankly.  BG has been awful on the road this year, and they'd need to reverse that Tuesday against Kent in a tough gym against a team that is down but good enough to beat us on our home floor.

That leaves the Buffalo win as the best scenario, which could also be spanked if EMU wins @CMU, which you would expect them to do.

And remember, that when we talk about finishing 6th, we are actually talking about finishing 7th, because UT is in there somewhere, just not counting for the tournament permutations.

Bobcats too much, too good

There isn't really any other way to explain it.

OU is just a lot better than BG.  They are a team that knows how to win.  They are unflappable and poised.  You would never guess they were coming off a gut wrenching loss.  They didn't play with frustration or desperation...they did what they do.  They have a number of good players.  For example, when they are in trouble, they have Walter Offut who can hit a double-covered long-two, as he did.

In contrast. when A'uston Calhoun was double covered and sometimes triple-covered, BG had no one take advantage.

OU relentlessly attacks the basket, placing non-stop pressure on the defense and when they get an open shot, they usually hit it.  Neither statement could be made for BG, though the Falcons did shoot well Saturday.

In a game where you are playing a team that is that strong, you have to play your very best game.  When you make 20 turnovers, that's probably a deal breaker.

I think BG played hard and I don't think they played their worst game of the season or even close.  They just needed their best game.

The first half was a bit of a nightmare.  BG made 14 turnovers in the first half as OU steadily built a lead that hit 10 points with about 7 minutes left and was 13 points with 4 minutes left in the half.  BG then made a little mini-run (10-3) to go into the locker room down 6, which, given all the turnovers was a little bit of a victory.

BG came out hard in the second half (very much to their credit) and actually took the lead 3 minutes into the half.  The game was tied at 42, and then OU went on a 7-0 run, equilibrium was back in place and it was never a one possession game again.  OU steadily built its lead, moving into double digits with 3 minutes left and the game never got into the single digits again.

OU scored 1.13 points per possession, which was BG's 4th worst defensive performance of the year.  BG is 2-16 when they allow more than .93 points per possession, so 1.13 is definitely in the no-fly zone.  OU shot 53% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc for an EFG of 59%.  That is the 3rd worst for BG on the year and the worst in conference.  The final killer is that OU only turned the ball over 8 times in a 69 possession game, the best turnover % for any opponent BG had this year.

Which just means they got a lot of shots and then combined that with making them.

BG did do a very good job on the defensive boards and only committed 12 fouls.

On offense, BG scored .94 points per possession, which is below their season average.  BG shot 48% from the field, which is pretty good, but was 3 of 13 from beyond the arc.  BG still ended up with an EFG of 51%, which is well above their season average.  Problem is, BG did not get enough shots, because they turned the ball over 20 times, nearly one out of 3 possessions.  OU had steals on 1 in 5 BG possessions.

BG was also below its season average in offensive rebounding%.  They did make 14 of 16 free throws and ended with a +8 on free throws and still lost by 13.

Individually, A'uston Calhoun had the kind of game you feel like he is capable of every night.  He scored 24 points on 8 of 14 shooting and had 7 rebounds.  He made shots from different spots, he was decisive and strong.  I thought BG had found a couple new ways to get the ball down there and he started to demand it.  He had a very good game.

It is not an exaggeration to say that OU was triple-teaming him by the time they started their second half run.  You should be able to get open shots under that scenario, but it didn't happen.

Jack Carle asked Coach if it seemed like guys weren't stepping up in this scenario, and Coach actually asked Jack, "what did you see?"  Which, I guess, is the same thing as saying "Yes" if you are a frustrated coach.

Crawford had 7 assists but 6 turnovers.  Chauncey Orr had four turnovers (and a nose-nose conversation with his Father).  Jehvon Clarke had 4 turnovers in 13 minutes.  Calhoun had 3.

Crawford only had 7 points.  OU is doing what everyone does to Jordon now.  They are guarding him with a forward either one on one or in a double team, and they are defending him very physically.  It has definitely impacted Crawford's play.  Teams have recognized that if they can stop Jordon and A'uston, they can take their chances with the rest of the squad.

Craig Sealey had 9 points for BG in 7 minutes.

And so it goes.  I'll have the MAC permutations up in the afternoon, but it was an awful day for BG.  We were the only team in the middle of the conference to lose.  BG is now 12-17 and 6-8 in the MAC and only a very long shot to end up #4.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Game Day!!

Just a today's games we are rooting for...

Bowling Green (BG is a five point underdog today)

Friday, March 01, 2013

Football Schedule Released....

OK kids....the football schedule is out!  Mark your calendars, etc.

Here are some toplines.

  • BG will play four non-Saturday games, two of them at home.  The first is in August--which I mind less--and there is only one in November and that is on the 12th against OU.  Overall, this is not too bad.  The day after Thanksgiving is the third one and then we play @Miami on 11/5.
  • BG has one non-FBS game, against Murray State.  The Racers were 5-6 last season.
  • The UT game is at a good spot in the schedule.  Last year I felt it was too early, but late October is a good time to have it be meaningful and also have it be early enough in the year (and on a Saturday) to allow for good attendance.
  • I think BG has a good shot at winning at Indiana.
  • BG has no fast turnarounds and essentially two byes in the schedule.
  • All of the home games are at home.
  • The home schedule has strong games with Toledo and OU, and Tulsa is an interesting opponent.  Beyond that, it gets a yawny.
  • We open @Kent, which is a tough way to start but also a huge opportunity if you can win.
  • Our crossovers are decent.  UT is always tough, and then EMU.  We do not play NIU or Ball State.

Thurs., Aug. 29 vs. Tulsa
Sat., Sept. 7 at Kent St.
Sat., Sept. 14 at Indiana
Sat., Sept. 21 vs. Murray St. (Family Weekend)
Sat., Sept. 28 vs. Akron
Sat., Oct. 5 vs. UMass (Homecoming and Band Day)
Sat., Oct. 12 at Mississippi St.
Sat., Oct. 26 vs. Toledo (Hall of Fame and Varsity BG Day)
Tue., Nov. 5 at Miami (ESPN2/ESPNU)* - 8 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 12 vs. Ohio (ESPNU/ESPN3)*
Sat., Nov. 23 at Eastern Michigan
Fri., Nov. 29 at Buffalo (ESPNU/ESPN3)*

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

And here they are...the OU Bobcats, heading into the Stroh Center for a rematch of the game played earlier this year at the Convo.

This is a huge opportunity for BG. A win and the Falcons have an excellent shot at the #4 seed.  Obviously, the Falcons are probably pretty significant underdogs, but we are playing well at home and if the team can muster a strong performance, a win is not out of the question.

FWIW, OU has a 2 game lead over WMU for one of the two semi-final byes with 3 to play and they win the tie they have more or less locked up that #2 seed.  The loss to Akron has to have been painful, though.  They had a huge lead early and blew it on their home floor in OT.  How they respond will be interesting--either hungry or worn out.

Since the two teams played, OU is only 3-2, but those losses are to Akron (in Athens) and @Belmont, two teams with top 40 RPIs.  They won @CMU and beat EMU and Kent in Athens.  They come to BG at 20-8  and 11-2, with an RPI of 81 and a kenpom of 72.

I don't think there is much to say preview wise that we didn't say before, which you can see here.  This is a team with a very strong defense--especially against the 3--and they are the 3rd best offensive team in the MAC, based on points per possession.

They are led by DJ Cooper, who is playing a much more efficient game this season...shooting better and also 3rd in the nation in assists in first in assist percentage.  But, they have more than just Cooper.  Walter Offut, Reggie Keely, Ivo Baltic, Nick Kellogg, TJ Hall, this is a team with a bunch of good players that is just slightly less good than Akron, which swept BG.

OU won the initial contest 72-63.  OU only led by 1 at halftime but came out storming and had an 11 point lead 5 minutes into the game.  From there, it was not close and they led by 16 points at one point in the second half.  In fact, the entire game really came down to those first five minutes of the second half...the rest of the game was pretty competitive.

OU ended up 1.04 points per possession, and based on its track record, BG will need to keep them down closer to .9 or .93 to win the game. They have only been held that low six times this year and once in the conference.  Calhoun had 19 and 8 and Crawford had 17 points with 4 assists and 4 turnovers.  Sealey, Holmes and Orr also made contributions to the effort.

For OU, Keely had 15 and 10 rebounds, Offut and Hall 12 and Cooper 10 with 8 assists.

So there you go.  OU is a very good team.  They are only 5-6 on the road this year.  Clearly, they are favorites tomorrow but I give the Falcons a puncher's chance on home floor.