Friday, March 28, 2014

Jans has 3 scholarships to work with...Updated 4/16

There has been some confusion about how many scholarships Coach Jans has to work with.  The answer is that he has 3 2.  Below is the returning roster.  The only question was whether Lyshe--who was at one time a walk-on--was going to be on scholarship, but based on this from John Wagner, the answer is yes.

Lyshe certainly earned a scholarship last year, so I'm glad to see him getting what he deserved.  Anyway, the NCAA limit is 13 and we have 11 currently, counting Bernard Edwards, who has signed his NLI.

On another note, both Denny and Orr should be eligible for medical redshirts.  If so, BG will have 4 seniors (Lyshe, Henderson, Clarke and Holmes), 3 Jrs (Orr, Gomez, Parker), 1 SO (Tisdale) and 3 FR (Denny, Mayleben, Edwards), not counting anyone Jans signs in the late period.

  1. Josh Gomez
  2. JD Tisdale
  3. Anthony Henderson
  4. Spencer Parker
  5. Zack Denny
  6. Damarkeo Lyshe
  7. Jehvon Clarke
  8. Chauncey Orr
  9. Richaun Holmes
  10. Garrett Mayleben
  11. Bernard Edwards

Updated 4/16 to reflect Edwards release from NLI.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

And then there were none/MAC season recapped

The MAC Men's basketball season ended last night in the quarterfinal of the CIT, as OU held VMI to 92 points but still lost, 92-90 at the Convo.  OU led by 7 at the break but VMI got 19 points in the first 7 minutes of the half to take the lead.  They led by 10 with 3:15 left but OU went on an 7-0 run to get it back to 3.  VMI was 4-4 from the line in the last minute and the eventual 2 point deficit was aided by a buzzer-beating-career-ending trey by Nick Kellogg.

The MAC finished the season the #12 ranked conference based on RPI.  They are essentially indistinguishable from the Missouri Valley, something that was unlikely just a few years ago.  For example, after the 2010-11 season, the MAC was the 20th ranked conference based on RPI.  Furthermore, the average RPI for the MVC is aided by having Wichita State.  The median team in the MVC had an RPI of 154 and in the MAC it was 129.  

Based on median RPI, the MAC is the 10th ranked conference.  In fact, as you can see here, this was the best MAC basketball season in recent memory--since '07-'08.

Anyway, that's all for that.  BG's women's team is still playing and then it is spring football and spring sports until Fall arrives again.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Breaking: UMass to depart MAC

So, the news broke this afternoon.

UMass will complete its last two years and then leave the MAC.

Apparently, here is how it went down.

UMass joined as a northeast partner for Temple, but Temple left the MAC before UMass officially joined.

UMass was a football-only member.  After two years, there was a clause in the contract that allowed the MAC to invite UMass to be a full member in the MAC.  The MAC exercised that clause, which UMass declined--they don't want to leave the A-10 or might even been thinking of jumping to the AAC.

When they declined, that triggered another contract clause that meant they will play football for two more years in the MAC and then leave.

I am for it.  The football-only members of the MAC have viewed us only as a way station, and whether we are talking Temple, UCF or UMass, they weren't committed to our program.  We did get some basketball games thrown in, but it wasn't enough.

It also gave the MAC an odd-number of football teams, leaving situations like this year, where BG does not play Miami.

I think this has worked out for everyone.  UMass has taken a lot of internal flack for being in FBS football at all and especially in the MAC, so if they end up in AAC it is better for them.  Or they could go back to the FCS.  Those would appear to be the only two options.

If the MAC wants to expand, and I suspect they do, then I would encourage us to look for teams willing to join the conference in all sports and who exist within our normal footprint.

Beyond that, does anyone think that the whole New York/Buffalo thing is the first step to them hopping to the AAC?  Asking for a friend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jans Wins the Announcement...

He's 1-0.

You can head over to eventually (if not already) and see it for yourself, but I'd say that based on today's event Mr. Jans has created a full-on crush in the Falcon Nation.

To start with, Chris Kingston thanked Bill Frack by name.  Obviously, Frack is a huge backer of the program...Kingston walked from the podium and hugged him.  Not at the end, but during the talk.

Kingston listed the things he wanted...he included being good with non-traditional media outlets...we're waiting for our phone call.  OK, we're not really.  We're pretty sure he meant twitter.  But, we're happy to talk.

He said he first contacted Jans 12 days ago.  In response to later questions, it was clear the deal was made prior to last weekend.  Jans said if Wichita had beaten Kentucky he would have come to BG today and then headed back to coach them in the Sweet 16.  It didn't happen that way, and he's on board.

Kingston said that Jans is a "grinder" and that was what he liked about him.

Finally, Jans met with the team yesterday and the entire team was in attendance at the presser.  In separate news, Chauncey Orr told a media member that he was going to stay at BG.

Then Jans came out.  It is hard to describe, but he came across as 100% authentic and earnest when he said things that might look like platitudes when they are just type.  I don't know how to describe it.  You just believe that he meant it.

Here is how he started.

"I have been waiting for this moment my whole life."  And by that, he means being a Division I head coach.

He said he started at the bottom.  He was a volunteer assistant for a DIII school.  Hard to put too fine a point on that...that's the bottom.

He said that he wants to bring the Anderson Roar to the Stroh.  He was at the women's game and heard how much noise 1,500 people can make there...and he imagined it with the place full.

He called Bowling Green a hidden gold mine.  For him, this is the right place at the right time.

He says that he plans to be "interactive" in the community and on campus.  He plans to be highly visible on campus, speaking to group, getting people excited.  (The program needs this.  It has not really had it since pre-WVU).

On the flight in they gave him some film to watch...Jans said it was like Christmas morning.

You will like this one:

"My responsibility is to win championships."

Then, he said that it was appropriate that he had been hired on the anniversary of the hockey team winning the national championship...and (get this), he hopes someday in the future a coach will be hired at BG who will mention the anniversary of a men's basketball game.

At this point, I would have renewed my season tickets on the spot.  He was so earnest.  He worked his way up and he's got what he has dreamed about and he is determined to deliver.  He appreciates the opportunity.

He says BG will work hard to recruit Ohio.  He has some relationships and looks forward to building on them.  He is working on hiring staff.  As a former assistant, he knows what an important role they can play.

And that was it...very inspiring stuff.  Look, there's a long way to go.  Today was talk and the thing must be done.  I'm not being critical, I am sure he would agree.  I do think was the right hire.  The future is unknown to us all, but this was the right hire.  Cannot wait to see it play out.

USA Today on Jans


Buy season tickets.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Jans-mania is rolling through the Falcon Nation.

Tough to imagine a coach having a better initial reception than Jans is getting...people are very excited and for good reason.  By all measures, he appears to be a great hire...we'll detail the measures momentarily.  Just a quick's just Day One.  Enthusiasm has to translate into results.  I don't say that to be cynical or pessimistic...its no different from what I have to do at my job or you have to do at your job.

Having said that, this feels like a really good and maybe perfect hire.  Kingston is 2-2 on getting WOW hires...I am looking very forward to watching the future unfold.  He is a good get and could easily have been mentioned for bigger and better jobs.

I don't know what Louis Orr was making, but Jans is reported by the Sentinel to be making $325,000 on a six-year deal.  If so, I believe Kingston took a stretch to get the right guy.  Six years is a long deal, too.  But, nothing comes for free.  You want a coach like this, you have to take a risk.  If it doesn't work out, its going to be painfully obvious (and painful) in year 4.

Here are the things to like about Jans:

  1. He comes from Wichita State, a school that built itself to national prominence from a mid-major beginning.  They had a magical year this year, even with the loss this weekend.  If there's a model to follow, this is it.
  2. He comes from a mid-major and below background.  I always think this is incredibly important.  You get an assistant from a major college, he is used to having everything he needs.  A coach from a mid-major with most of his career spent at junior college is used to making the most out of what he has.  This is the right background for coaching in the MAC.
  3. He has head coaching experience.  Yes, it is at a junior college, but in coaching parlance, he has "called a time out."  
  4. He was successful as a head coach.  He won a NJCAA title at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.  The team went from 11-20 to 56-16 in his 2 years.  He was 22-10 at Independence CC and 32-5 in 1 year at Chipola.  His overall record is 159-45.
  5. He is said to be a good recruiter.  Hopefully, he is doing it today.  BG has a handful of scholarships available and he can start right away.  The USA Today credits him for landing SO standout Ron Baker for the Shockers.
  6. As associate head coach, he had an active role in the Shocker program, running practices when Marshall was absent and being in charge of defensive assignments.  This will mesh well with BG.
  7. I don't think Wichita played a strong "system" game, which means he can adapt with what is at BG and build on it right away.

In short, there are a lot of reasons to like this guy.  He's a proven winner and been associated with a program that did what we want to do.  I'm thrilled at the hire.

If you want some balance...he did move along quickly through his junior college assignments and did not stay anywhere long.  That might be typical in junior colleges, who knows.  I will say the same thing I always say...if he builds a winner here and gets a better offer, I say godspeed.  He'd only be doing what we would do.

Presser tomorrow at 12.  More after that.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SI Report: Wichita's Chris Jans to BG

Pete Thamel of SI is reporting that Chris Jans will head to BG to become the Falcon's new head coach.  He is associate head coach at Wichita.  The SI report says that he was attractive because of his experience building a mid-major program, as opposed to bringing in a major college coach who is used to more resources and elite players.

Jans also has successful head coaching experience at the Junior College level, including a championship.

Sounds good and very promising.Word is an official announcement tomorrow, presser on Tuesday.

And there was one...

And there's one MAC team still playing men's basketball.

OU beat Wright State 58-56 at the Convo.  After trailing with 5 minutes left, the Bobcats were up 4 with :16 left and then gave up a hoop and then turned it over, but a Raider trey missed and the 'Cats held on for the win.  Bean Willis had 21 and was the only 'Cat in double figures.  OU had 25 wins for the first time and now moves to the CIT quarterfinals.

Things were not so good in NYC, where EMU lost @Columbia 69-56 after being tied at halftime.  Ray Lee scored 26 for the Eagles, who played in front of 2,000 fans in the Big Apple.

No word on who OU plays next.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Falcon Spring Practice Continues--#falconfast

We've been wrapping up basketball season, but the Falcon football team had been continuing spring practice.  They started really early, broke for spring break and then got back to work.  They've coined a phrase....Falcon Fast...the idea is that it is the culture of the the weight room, on the field, team meals, whatever.  OK.  I made the last one up.  Or I think I did.

You can go over to to check out some of the videos they have made.  They have one where Coach Babers says that Falcon Fast might be a cult...and they are drinking the Kool-Aid.  Let's hope if it comes to that someone speaks up.  K?  The point of the story is not to drink the Kool-Aid...

Anyhoo.  Coach says that they are a long way from what he wants but they are on the road.  He seems happy with the effort and the progress.  He especially had good things to say about the defense, which is good to hear with the losses they had.  Would love to see the defending champions build on a strong defense in 2014.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

No Contest in Buffalo

Western Michigan, the MAC Champs, ran up against a buzzsaw in Syracuse today and got blown out.  The Orange led 12-4 with 13 left in the first half, by 12 with 7 minutes left and then 20 with 3 minutes left on the way to a 77-53 final.  Western shot 35% in the defeat and 22% from beyond the arc...clearly struggling with a very difficult zone defense.  Meanwhile, Syracuse has had trouble scoring but hit 49% and 41% on their way to the easy victory.

That's the same Bronco team that hung 98 on UT.

At least we got to set an non-UCLA NCAA-record for John Wooden references.

Two MAC teams left.

The final score was an improvement over a illness-plagued Akron team's 46 point defeat to VCU last year.  The MAC has been one and done 9 out of the last 11 tourneys.

And then there were three...

So, three MAC teams left...WMU, Ohio and EMU.

Ohio picked up a nice win at home over Cleveland State.  Jon Smith, a fifth-year senior averaging 28 minutes a game, apparently decided over the weekend that he was finished, so they played without him and got a nice win over a good Cleveland State team.  About 3,300 fans were at the Convo, for whatever that is worthy.

Akron lost to an underrated IPFW team at the JAR.  IPFW is better than people think...still, I'm sure Akron would like to win at home against them.  These lower level tournaments are tough.  For a team like Akron that was in the tournament last year, you wonder how hungry they are going to be to play in the CIT.  Announced attendance was 1,283.

Then, UT lost in the NIT at Southern Miss.  This was a really awful assignment for them.  I remember when BG felt they got hosed out of an at-large berth back in the Dakich days and went to Butler to play.  You'd think your attitude would be to prove the NCAA committee wrong, but either that's not effective motivation or that isn't how people feel.  BG lost @Butler...not an easy assignment, but hey if you belonged in The Dance it should be doable, right?....

Anyway, first you think you should have been in the NCAA and you don't get in and then you don't get a home game even though you draw well and you are a #6 seed in the NIT and then you have to fly to New Orleans, ride on a bus for two hours and head into Hattiesburg and play a very good Southern Miss team.  Pretty tough assignment.

UT had an awful first half, rallied in the second half and led with 8 minutes left, but had spent everything getting that close and USM ran the lead back up.

Saw on twitter that Kowalcyk is being mentioned for the BC opening.  Coaching the MAC (or an one-bid league) is tough and not likely to get easier anytime soon.

UPDATE:  EMU has earned a trip to NYC, which is a reward in itself.  They play Columbia Saturday.  Columbia, FYI, is getting better and is on the List of Shame as a team with a longer NCAA drought than BG.  Let's hope Amaker doesn't leave Harvard.  Also, Columbia doesn't play in an "Arena."  They play in Levien Gymnasium.  Like it.

OU will host Wright State Saturday in Athens.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EMU wins in (nearly) empty arena...

Congrats to EMU for winning a post-season game in its first appearance in the post-season in 16 years. Before we go any farther, just a note to say that I have total respect for what Murphy has done up there. It was a dumpster fire when he got there, and he has at least made the team competitive with virtually no support.

Which brings us to point #2...the announced crowd last night in Ypsi was 373. That's not a typo.

I feel really bad for the players and coaches up there. They deserve better than that. That kind of crowd would be disappointing at many high schools and it is a shame at a University the size of EMU. I simply can't remember seeing an announced crowd that low. I'm not going to pontificate much, other than to point you to Hustle Belt, where Alex Alvarado has done the subject more justice than I can.

This is a problem throughout the MAC. No one is drawing like they should...even when the teams are good. EMU's problem is that big arena is tomb-like when it is empty, but across the conference, except for OU and UT, I don't think anyone is doing great. Akron draws well...but traditional stalwarts like Ball State and Miami are showing no connection to the program.

It is more than students, too. Speaking from a BG perspective, there was a time when the BG men's basketball games were attended by everybody in town. Obviously, that's an exaggeration, but you saw almost everyone you knew at a game. People were was the done thing, even when the team was not good. It is not so much that way anymore. And, obviously, no one in Ypsilanti was interested in last night's game---students or community.

It has to impact recruiting. For a MAC-quality player, I just think they look at a half-empty arena on a good night in the conference season (or post season) and it has to cool their enthusiasm.

Point is, I am not picking on EMU and its fans any more than anyone else's.  And I'm asking the schools and the conference...maybe you can put your heads together and come up with new ways to build relationships with students and community.  I know you're trying, maybe a new approach.  I don't think you have to sell-out every game, but there has to be the ability for almost every school in the MAC to draw 25%-50% more.

Monday, March 17, 2014

MAC Men's Basketball In Post-Season

So, there are now five teams left in MAC play...and a familiar storyline.

WMU is a #14 seed in the tournament, playing Syracuse on Thursday in Buffalo.  This is a tough assignment, though interesting.  WMU is playing very well right now and Syracuse is not, which helps.  WMU is used to playing the Syracuse 2-3 zone in the guise of EMU, so they will at least know what they are looking at.  WMU has an inside game and outside shooters.  It is helpful to the Orange that the game is in Buffalo, only 2 hours from their home, so there should be a strong Syracuse presence.

Look, the odds are way against WMU.  Having said that, who knows?  I think they have a shot.

Toledo did not get an at-large bid.  They were never going to get an at-large bid without going undefeated or nearly undefeated.  The MAC is a one-bid league.  More on that in a minute.  

Not only did UT not get an at-large bid, but they were a #6 seed in the NIT.  The NIT seeds by region, just like the NCAA does, (in other words, that's not a #6 seed overall, that's a #21-#24 seed overall.)  Worse yet, they are playing on the road and playing @Southern Mississippi, a #3 seed and the highest RPI team in the NIT.  That's a tough 24 hours for the Rockets.

Three MAC teams made the CIT, two of them with home games.

Ohio has the most interesting matchup.  They will host Cleveland State.  The Vikings were 21-11 with the #91 RPI in the nation.  They finished 2nd in the Horizon and won 10 out of their last 12 games.  This actually has the potential to be a pretty good game.

Akron has the away game, @IPFW.  The Mastodons had a really nice season at 24-10, though it was the #282 schedule.  They were 2nd in the Summit League.  In the MAC, they beat BG and lost to Miami.  They were 12-2 at home, so that could make this one pretty interesting.

EMU will host Norfolk State.  This is EMU's first post-season game in 16 years, and it is a game they should win.  They are playing Norfolk State of the MEAC...where they were 19-14.  The Spartans did beat BU (the regular-season Patriot Champ) but beyond that, the 19 wins were generated against the nation's #326 ranked schedule.  Their RPI is 232 and they were 145th in the nation in offense.  EMU should advance to the next round.

Anyway, a couple final thoughts.

First, everyone is talking about UT not getting the at-large bid.  I'm not surprised.  When this stuff starts to come up every year in December, I stick with the safe money...the MAC doesn't get at-large bids.  It has served me well.  UT was never in any serious conversation in the New Year about an at-large bid and I don't believe they received any consideration at all.

They are in the same trap that the MAC is always in.  As Kowalcyk talked about in The Blade this morning, they didn't play more top ranked teams because the top ranked teams will only play Toledo as a home game.  They will not schedule a home and home with the Rockets...or most/any MAC teams.  And there you are...your choices are try to get an at-large berth playing top teams exclusively on the road or try to win 30 games against the schedule you have.  The same schools that won't play you criticize you for not playing them.

I used to point to the Missouri Valley as a conference doing this right, but they were a one-bid league this year, too.  In fact, the Mountain West and West Coast were the only true mid-major multi-bid leagues and they each got 2.

It is a problem.  Do I think the tournament would be better with a 27 win Rocket team (imagine me saying this--just figure we are speaking in hypotheticals) over Iowa or Tennessee.  I think so.  That is not how things roll.  And Kowalcyk is feeling the same frustration others have felt, including Dakich pre-WVU.  If you want to coach in a multi-bid league, you have to leave the MAC and that is not going to change so long as the MAC is determined to be an FBS football participant.

I don't think this is an image thing.  It is a power and money thing.

Buffalo is left out...schadenfreude is reigning supreme.  Bobby Hurley was made to be loathed by his opponents, and this one fell right in their lap. I'm surprised...they won the East and finished ahead of Ohio and Akron...but, some of these tournaments do require financial participation, so maybe that was an issue.  On the other hand, for New York State, you think you'd have the money.

Rumors that Hurley is behind the missing Malaysian jet are completely out of line and don't bear repeating.

Update:  Buffalo apparently decided not to play in anything but the NCAA or NIT.  Go figure.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

List of Shame Stable Again

We had a near miss but the list of shame remains the same again for this year.  William and Mary almost made broke out...they lost the CAA title game by just a point.  That would have been their first trip to the Big Dance.  So, what's left is the usual 11.  Below are the 11 teams with NCAA droughts longer than BG's.

Side note.  UT has not been in the final since 1980.  Who did they beat in the MAC final that year?  Bowling Green.  I was there.  Crisler Arena--first tournament ever for MAC.  Rockets by 15.  One of 3 MAC Championship games the Falcons have lost in the 34 years they have played the tourney.  Teams that have won in that time:  Toledo (1),  Ball State (7), EMU (4), CMU (2), WMU (2), Akron (3), Kent (5), Miami (4), Ohio (6) and NIU (1).  Just us and Buffalo (0).  (And Marshall, I forgot about them).

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

Friday, March 14, 2014

A'uston Calhoun in Bulgaria....

Just an update on a former Falcon who is playing professionally.  A'uston Calhoun is playing in Bulgaria for Rilski Sportist Samokov.  He was named the Player of the Week by  He had 28 points, 7 boards and 5 assists in the win over Chernomorets.  His team is in 6th place.

Here's a picture of Rilski....this is a great experience for our guys.  They can make a living playing ball and they get the experience of a lifetime living in a foreign country.  So, congrats to A'uston for the rookie success.

Babers Finalizes Staff

Quick football note.  Coach Babers made another coaching announcement that BGSU says "finalizes" his coaching staff.

There were two coaches named.

The first is a position coach--Mike Mickens, who is going to coach the corners.  You might remember him when he played at UC.  He was three-time all Big East with the Bearcats.  He played in the NFL and CFL before an injury ended his pro career.  He comes from Idaho, and is, in fact, the only member of the BG staff who coached last year somewhere other than Eastern Illinois or Bowling Green.

The other is Andrew Sowder.  He is the Director of Player Personnel, which is a position I don't think we had when Coach Clawson was here.  Sowder coached outside receivers at EIU last year.  He played for Coach Babers at Baylor and has coached for him since then, with the exception of one year.

So, that finalizes the whole thing.  They're at work right now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MAC Awards Completed

The MAC has given out the final awards for men's basketball....

Player of the Year:  Javon McCrea

McCrea got 20 out of 25 votes and deservedly so.  He is the clear choice for this award and deserves congratulations.  David Brown was second, and Juice Brown and Shayne Whittington both a vote as well.

Coach of the Year;  Steve Hawkins

Another clear choice.  This guy is just a very good coach who has done a very solid job over the long-term with the WMU program.  Remember that it was just one year ago that the MAC Freshman of the Year, Darius Paul, transferred away from WMU to Illinois.  For Hawkins to have his team back on top despite that is coaching.

Mark Montgomery was 2nd.  He's doing a nice job with the program there.  Kowalcyzk and Hurley got votes as well.  Montgomery is probably a tad overrated, but Hawkins was the clear winner in any event.

Defensive Player of the Year:  Da'Shonte Riley

It is hard to argue with this choice.  The problem with evaluating defense is that there are not really very many stats and sometimes the best defensive players just get stops.  Riley did lead the conference in blocks and we all know by now that the middle of that 2-3 zone is vital and Riley played there and EMU led the nation in FG defense.  The MAC doesn't say who finished second, but both Richaun Holmes and Cam Black had excellent seasons on a very good Falcon defense.

Sixth Man of the Year:  Jake Kretzer

I never know about this award.  Honestly, I don't know why it is even an award.  Coaches think of their entire rotation, not really a starting 5.  Anyway, Kretzer is a good player who was injured down the stretch.  Akron tends to win this award.  Why?  Because they spread minutes out so evenly that their sixth man gets numbers.

Freshman of the Year:  Zavier Turner, Ball State

The FR PG scored 12 PPG and was 6th in the MAC in assists, and ranked in a number of different categories.  Shannon Evans of Buffalo was 2nd.

Who's Next. SPECULATE.

And so the speculation begins.


There will be a ton of it.  I don't tend to do too much with it because it seems like most of the time they find someone no one ever thought of in this first place. Even so, in the spirit of looking forward, here are some names that John Wagner had in The Blade this morning...note that these were positioned as "potential" candidates and not 

Jeff Boals, an Ohio State assistant 
Brian Wardle, Wisconsin-Green Bay (Kowalcyk's old school)
Jay Larranaga, a BG alumnus who is an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics
Stan Joplin

Online, I have seen the name Michael Huger.  Also a former Falcon player, Huger is an assistant for Larranaga at Miami and played as a pro in Europe for 11 years.

Also, the Coach at IPFW has done a good job building that program.

A couple of notes.  Obviously, the OSU assistant is attractive because of how productive the Thad Matta coaching tree has been.   Second, I don't think Joplin is really going to be a candidate.

If you want my pet candidate, it would be Mike Rhoades, the lead assistant at VCU.  He would bring Dino Babers like energy to our program.

Finally, a lot of people are going to focus on people with BG ties and I think that is probably wrong.  Kingston is going to get the best coach, and that person may or may not be a BG guy and probably isn't.  Remember, Kingston doesn't have any BG ties.  I assume he is building his network among our alums, but he isn't a BG guy.

He came here from NC State, so he might know some people there.  But, he didn't have any personal ties with Babers, so I think he's willing to go outside his network for the right guy.

I do like it when the coaches have experience in the MAC or at a smaller conference.  A couple of years back Elton Alexander wrote in the PD that you need coaches that understand what it takes to win at this level.  (Here is my post commenting on the article).  It is one of the reasons I like FCS coaches in football.  They are used to making do with less than everything.

Anyway, I do have confidence that Chris Kingston will find the guy we need.  He says he is a basketball junkie, so this is his chance to show it off.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Orr Out at BG

So, the announcement is official.  Coach Orr will not return and BG has begun a national coaching search.

It was a decision that had to be made.  You can't extend the contract under these circumstances.  It was time to make a change.  I believe that Orr knew this would be the fate for the entire season.  He continued to run the program with integrity through his lame duck year.  He is a man of principle who is guilty only of not winning enough games.  His teams at BG were never horrible.  He did finish first in the regular season.

He just didn't win as much as anyone would like, and the program is not in a position today that his contract could reasonably be extended.

People have been focusing on his Faith.  Look, I don't feel the same way that Coach Orr does about things, but I respect that he understands there are things more important in life than basketball and himself.  That's a viewpoint we could all adopt a little bit more.

Also, people have been critical of how he handled his last season.  He left scholarships unfilled and said he "wasn't changing things."  Look, most coaches in his spot would have brought in JUCOs and head-case freshmen no one else wanted to try and save their job.  Most coaches would have lined the schedule with patsies, like Dakich did in his final year.

Problem is, when the new coach comes in, he just has to run those guys off.  Coach Orr didn't do that...he stayed true to his principles (not changing things) and now the new coach will be able to quickly recruit the players he wants for his system.

Coach Orr did a good coaching job this year.  Yes, the program is not achieving, and yes, he partly exceeded against the low expectations he created, but I don't think you would have picked this team to win 12 games without Orr, Sealey (mostly) and Denny.

He's had some of the same issues that other coaches have.  There have been some suspensions, player in serious trouble after he left the program.  Dakich was villified for players leaving, but I give you Adrion Graves, Darion Goins, DaVon Haynes, Cameron Medlock and Danny McElroy in 7 years.

Still, the program was a credit to the University and never embarrassed the school.  The teams always played hard and competed.

They just weren't good enough--and the program is not in the position it should be--to warrant a new contract.

I wish Coach Orr well and I look forward to seeing how Chris Kingston does in finding a new coach.  It is his second high profile hire in months.  His first choice was a dynamic guy and it will be interesting to see who he picks this time.

It always ends with a loss.

So, BG ended the season at NIU.  I just listened to Coach's presser.  It was instructive if you want to understand the man.  I'd recommend you listen to it.  As he says, nothing lasts forever, and if this part of his life is over, he believes another will emerge.  He was thankful to the players, the university, and the community--regardless of how they felt about him.

The loss itself was much like many this season and much like the first game between NIU and BG.  BG went down 10-2 and trailed by 10 with 2:50 left in the first half.  They closed on an 8-2 run and then had the game tied four minutes into the second half.  From there it was a very close affair with several lead changes down the stretch.

It was tied with 2 minutes left.  NIU got a hoop to go up 2.  Holmes missed a 3 and then fouled on the rebound.  Bowie missed the front end for NIU and this time Clarke missed the 3.  BG fouled again and Armistead split a pair of free throws to leave the Huskies up 3 with :25 left.

BG came down, ran offense and Holmes took a 3 with :06 left.  He missed, but Black tapped the rebound out to Clarke who drilled the game tying 3.

NIU had to inbound from their baseline and they tried for the big play for threw the ball right out the opposite baseline, giving BG the inbound under the basket.  No time outs, sadly, and BG tried a lob that didn't go in.

In OT, the odds were stacked against the Falcons.  They had played a very short bench and had to be dog tired.  They managed only one basket in the OT, and NIU only had 5 points.  With :15 left Threloff had 2 FT^s and a 2 point lead and the chance to close the door, but he split the pair and left it open but this time Clarke's shot did not fall and the Falcon's season ended.

It was a very low scoring game, just like the first contest, if not quite so bad.  With the OT it was a 69 possession game, which is equivalent to a 61 possession regulation game, which is slow.  BG had .74 points per possession and NIU had .78.  That's exactly the efficiency NIU got in the game at the Stroh Center, and BG's was "better"  even while being the 4th worst game of the season offensively.

The difference was turnovers.  BG had 22 turnovers in a 69 possession game, and you can't win like that.  It means giving a poor shooting team 32% fewer possessions.  NIU had 16 turnovers, which is poor, but less poor.  Neither team did much on the offensive boards, but that's a victory for BG since NIU rebounds well.  That kept BG in the game, as did NIU's sub 50% FT shooting.  BG shot only 55%.

Jehvon Clarke shot well...15 points on 6 of 12 shooting.  However, he was 2 of 5 from the line and had 2 assists over 7 turnovers.  Holmes had 10 points and 14 rebounds and Black had 10 points and 9 rebounds.  Collectively, they shot 8 of 23, however.  BG used only 23 bench minutes, and four of the starters played 40 minutes and Henderson played 37.

BG finishes as 12-20.  That is their first 20 loss season since Dakich went 9-21 in 06-07.  We will have more to sum up the season over time.  In general, they ended up more or less where I thought they would....but I expected them to have Orr and Sealey and Denny.  I give them credit.  They fought and battled, played a bunch of close games and while the results are not what anyone wanted, I'm proud of their resilience.

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's Over...

And that is that.  BG fought hard, got the game into OT and had another shot to tie it at the end of the overtime, but the ball would not go down and the men's basketball season is over.

And now we wait.

Richaun Holmes, All-MAC 3rd Team

So, the All-Men's Basketball teams are out, and BG has one member on the team, and that is Richaun Holmes, who made the 3rd team.  Everyone always wants to find ways to be aggrieved and all that.  I think this was fair.  That's the right place for Holmes.  The softest second team guy is Felder, who had a little better scoring than Holmes, but fewer rebounds and blocks and more turnovers.  Majok might have been better than both of them, he averaged a double-double.

The first team is lock solid, I think.  I would change it at all.

Obviously, BG only played one FR so he wasn't expected to be on the all-FR team.

Congrats to Richaun.  He is a very good player who is highly productive.  Note that Karrington Ward was his JUCO teammate as well.

First Team

Julius "Juice" Brown, G, Toledo
David Brown, G, Western Michigan
Javon McCrea, F, Buffalo
Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell, F, Akron
Shayne Whittington, F, Western Michigan

Second Team

Quincy Diggs, G, Akron
Will Felder, F, Miami
Nick Kellogg, G, Ohio
Maurice NDour, F, Ohio
Rian Pearson, G, Toledo

Third Team

Justin Drummond, G, Toledo
Chris Fowler, G, Central Michigan
Richaun Holmes, F, Bowling Green
Majok Majok, F/C, Ball State
Karrington Ward, F, Eastern Michigan

Honorable mention

Kris Brewer, G, Kent State
Josh Freelove, G, Buffalo
Connor Tava, F, Western Michigan
Jordan Threloff, C, Northern Illinois
J.D. Weatherspoon, F, Toledo


Aaric Armstead, G, Northern Illinois
Shannon Evans, G, Buffalo
Tucker Haymond, G, Western Michigan
Zavier Turner, G, Ball State
Jonathan Williams, G, Toledo

The Elephant in the Room

Just a quick note.  I know everyone is aware that this is the last year on Coach Orr's contract.  When a decision is announced, I will have more to say about Coach Orr and his tenure here, but for now I will just say that I don't think anyone expects him to get a new contract.  I have no inside information, no sources, etc.  I'm not sure any are needed in this case.

The assumption for the whole year was that this was a lame duck year for Coach Orr and that it was hard to envision a scenario where he would keep his job and I suspect that was right and that he hasn't done enough.

For whatever it is worth, I suspect that the decision will be announced quickly, probably the day after BG plays its last game.  Chris Kingston will be in the position of making his second high profile hire in 4 months, all in his first year on the job.  You can turn it around in basketball in the MAC.  I give you UT, EMU and NIU...on different levels, but all teams that have plumbed the absolute depths and are now at least competitive.  BG has a good facility.  It is a good job.  Maybe not a great job.  The only coach to move up from BG to a better job since Bill Fitch is Larranaga.  The rest ended poorly.

Anyway, there's no reason not to talk about it.  Something has to happen, one way or the other.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Huskie Redux. PTSD edition.

Back on the bus.

The Falcons are heading to DeKalb to play the much improved NIU Huskies in the first round of the MAC Tournament.  If the Falcons win, they will head to Cleveland.  And who knows?  BG has lost home games in the first round the last 2 years so maybe this is a chance to turn the tables.

If BG had PTSD when they see the Huskies, it would be understandable.  Their 45-36 loss to NIU at the Stroh Center might rank as the season's low point.  True, NIU ended up being better than we thought at that time.  You don't expect to score 36 at home and you don't expect to lose that game.  It was BG's lowest point total since 1994 and as far as I could tell, the lowest in a home game in 71 years--and that was against Camp Perry.  It is the 21st lowest point total by any D1 team in any game this year and the 5th lowest on a home court.

NIU is on the rise.  Their coach is from the Izzo tree, and they had some tough years as they retooled, but they were 8-10 in MAC play with the second youngest team in the conference, based on the analysis on  (Basically, they multiply freshmen minutes x 1, sophomores x2, etc and then use it to develop an average.  You get an idea about the lineup they actually used).  Anyway, NIU is the 2nd youngest team and the first and third youngest are CMU and Ball State and they were awful.

NIU is very similar to BG.  As you can see below, NIU is only a little better than BG on offense and is slightly better than BG on defense, as the Falcons have seen their defensive numbers slip with the lst two games, which were really poor.  We can expect a similar game to the first one--low scoring.

Here's how the whole thing stacks up.  NIU is a poor shooting team.  In fact, they are the worst shooting team in the MAC.  They are 10th or below in all your major shooting categories and they are 2nd worst in turnovers, as well.  That's a disastrous combination.  The only thing keeping them afloat is that they are the best offensive rebounding team in the league and 2nd best at getting to the line.  (They foul a lot, too, so that's not as big an advantage as you would think).  They make 70% of free throws, which is about average.

BG has struggled to defend against teams that rebound well, so BG will need to be able to defend the boards well to keep NIU's scoring down where it usually is.

Flipping things around, you can see that NIU and BG are closely matched when BG has the ball.  NIU now has the 2nd ranked defense in the conference, so this is a tough assignment for BG.  They do force some turnovers and they give up a bunch of fouls--something BG has been inconsistent in capitalizing on this season.

In conference play, their leading scorer is Darrell Bowie, a SO F who is averaging 10.1 PPG.  However, that's on 39% shooting and nearly all of those shots are 2FG.  He also averages 6.3 RPG.  The second leading scorer is 6'9" big JR Jordan Threloff, who is scoring 9.9 PPG on 47% shooting and a team-high 7.9 rebounds.  Aaric Armstead and Travon Baker also average around 9 points per game, but they are poor shooters, especially from beyond the arc.

Anyway, it figures to be a throwback day for NIU and BG--we might actually look for the boys from Camp Perry for a model.  It is certainly a winnable game for BG.  NIU was only 5-4 at home.  BG is not playing well right now, and will need to find some energy to get the road win and make it to Cleveland.

Men's Basketball Season Ends With a Thud

The Falcons have been remarkably competitive in MAC play.  Undermanned to start with and then down Orr for the season and Sealey for much of it, they managed to not get blown out of any MAC game.  Through the season, I have noted their resilience and grit with admiration and pride.  They finally seem to have run out of gas and they ran into a buzzsaw in Buffalo last night.

I had said in the preview that Buffalo didn't have anything to play for, but I was forgetting that you can still win a division title.  Because the division titles don't have any bearing on anything, I don't keep track of them. Well, Buffalo had a shot to win the East title outright, so there was something to play for.

There was a huge crowd for the Senior Night, Buffalo was fired up, BG seemed tired, Javon McCrea wanted to make a statement, and Buffalo won by 23 in a game that was not close after Buffalo took a 10 point lead late in the first half.  With 2 minutes left in the first half, BG was down 5.  For the next 22 minutes, BG gave up 52 points. The blue line on the chart below looks like the Apple stock price.

It was BG's 2nd worst defensive game on the year--the worst being Wisconsin, which is a different kettle of fish.  It was a 71 possession game, which is fast, so that helped them get to 88 points.  Buffalo had only 5 turnovers in the game, which is far and away the lowest by a BG opponent this year.  So, with all those productive possessions to work with, Buffalo had a good if not great shooting night, making 49% and 36% from 3FG.  They also made 18 of 23 FTs and that is how you have a very efficient night.'

For its part, BG had a poor offensive night, even for them.  They scored .91 points per possession.  They shot the ball well, but had turnovers and didn't get to the line very much.

Javon McCrea, who should be the MAC Player of the Year, had a dominant night.  He had 34 points on 13 of 18 shooting to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists.  He's a truly great player who has had an outstanding career in Buffalo.

For BG, Cam Black had a very strong game in his last regular season game.  He scored 19 points on 9 of 14 shooting.  You can add 11 rebounds and 3 assists to that.  As Todd Walker said, it is very sad that he wasn't healthy for much of his career, because he showed this year the kind of skills he has.

Pretty much everyone else struggled for BG.  Clarke had 11 points but needed 15 shots to get there and had 5 assists over 1 turnover.  Holmes only got 5 shots off and Parker only got 6 off.  Anthony Henderson was 3 of 8 from the field.

So, the regular season ends with BG at 12-19 and guaranteed to lose 20 for the first time since 2005-6.  We will have time to do all the recapping over the next few days, but for now I will just say that the team persevered in difficult circumstances, but in the end the year was pretty much what we feared it would be.

BG now gets back from the looong bus ride from Buffalo and will make the even longer bus trip to DeKalb for Monday's first round tournament game.  NIU is a program on the upswing after some very dark seasons--darker than BG has had.  I think they have a good coach and they had a good year with a very young team.  Interesting.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Regular Season Finale...UB

The regular season comes to an end today as BG travels to Buffalo to take on the Bulls in the season finale.  BG will either finish 9th or 10th.  With a win, BG would be 9th.  Anyway, they will either play Miami or NIU, depending on what Miami does against OU.  If it ends up being NIU, BG will have to make the longest trip possible in the MAC...playing @Buffalo Saturday and then @NIU on Monday.

For its part, Buffalo has nothing to accomplish tonight.  They will get one of the quarterfinal byes.

So, neither team has much to play for.  They are playing for pride and love of the game tonight.

BG won the first game at BG as part of a jekyl and hyde season where the team showed itself to be capable occasionally of an good performance.  UB had led most of the way until they decided to run clock with 4 minutes left and quit scoring and Hurley got T'd up in the last couple minutes.  Anyway, it was a nice win for the Falcons, but a contentious one--Coach Stone and UB Star Javon McCrea appeared to get into it--so that might have an impact out there today.  (Note, 46 fouls in the game and 61 FT attempts.

Buffalo is the 2nd most efficient offensive team in the MAC, behind UT.  BG had success defending the Rockets, especially in the 2nd game.  They are coming off an awful defensive game against Kent, so hopefully they are feeling challenged to reclaim their defensive strength.  Buffalo is also good on defense--5th in the MAC--and this matchup looks like every game for BG.  The Falcons are unlikely enough to score enough to mitigate bad defense, but they also can't play good enough defense to mitigate an awful performance on offense.

It will start with the shot.  Buffalo is third in the MAC in shooting.  BG is used to keeping teams significantly lower than what Buffalo shoots.  Buffalo is a very solid offensive team, though.  They take good of the ball (3rd in MAC) and they are also strong on the offensive boards.  They are only 6th in getting to the line but they are 4th in FT% when they get there.  BG is going to need to be good on the defensive boards, which has not been a strong point in the past games.

UB is a good defensive team and BG is a poor offensive team, so you'd expect these numbers to be pretty equal.  Teams to make some shots against UB, so that's an opportunity for BG.  One note:  Buffalo commits the fewest fouls in the MAC.  This is not a huge disadvantage for BG, since they don't usually make FTs effectively.

Individually, Buffalo is led by the probable MAC Player of the Year--Javon McCrea.  He's scoring 18.8 PPG on 57% shooting and getting 10 rebounds per game.  He's been a beast his entire career and thank god he's a senior.  Joshua Freelove is scoring 13.6 PPG and is a 42% 3FG shooter.  That's 2nd in the MAC.  Will Regan is scoring 11.3 PPG, shooting 45% and grabbing 5 RPG. Their PG is Jarod Oldham.  He averages 5.2 assists over 2.7 turnovers.

So this is the end of the regular season line.  BG obviously has a shot to make it to Cleveland and this would be a nice road win for our guys.  Beyond that, it is a test of who wants to play basketball.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Men's Home Season Ends in defeat

The home season for men's basketball ended at the Stroh last night, and it ended with a quiet thud.  After a season of dramatics, it was a loss to OU that was never much in doubt as OU took a 5-point lead with 6 minutes left in the first half, had it over 10 a couple of minutes later and the game was never closer than 7 at any point the remainder of the way.

On the post-game, Coach Stone said the biggest problem was defense, and he was exactly correct.  The success BG has had this year has come from playing outstanding defense.  Last night, OU simply shredded BG.  Coach Stone said it was BG's worst defensive game of the year, and in context he might have been right.  The Falcons allowed 1.14 points per possession, which is actually their 4th worst game of the season.  However, that includes Wisconsin and Toledo--two pretty good offensive teams.  The only game in true close competition would be the South Florida game, where BG allowed 1.21 points per possession to the nation's 303rd ranked offense.

Anyway, that's an academic point.  Worst, second wasn't a good night.  It was the worst shooting night BG has allowed all season.  The Bobcats shot 58% overall and 56% from beyond the arc, on 10 of 18 shooting.  BG salvaged what they did by winning the turnover battle and have an advantage in fouls that resulted in 8 more FT attempts and 5 more FTs made.

For its part, BG had a decent offensive game (for them), at .97 points per possession.  BG shot 45% overall, but was 2 of 10 from 3FG and almost no offensive rebounds.  Coach Stone said that BG had chosen not to exploit OU's weak rebounding in favor of protecting against transition baskets, which even he conceded had not worked, as OU still did quite a bit of work in transition.

Note that OU's second leading scorer, Maurice Ndour, did not play, and OU still delivered the offensive onslaught.

Individually for BG, Richaun Holmes had 20 points on 5 of 11 shooting and 5 rebounds. He was also 9 of 10 at the line.  Anthony Henderson had 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting and 5 steals and Parker had 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting.  Jehvon Clarke shot 3 of 13 and had 3 assists over 3 turnovers.

BG finishes the season with a 7-8 record at home, and 3-6 in MAC play.  There were 1,798 people at last night's game, including an always spirited OU faction.  Clearly, not much of a home advantage for BG this year, which is always disappointing.

The Falcons travel to Buffalo Saturday and then a road game Monday in the MAC tournament.  BG is likely to finish 10th and will not get an unwinnable first round game, for whatever that is worth.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

MAC Standings....

One game left...this is how it looks.  BG is going to be on the road Monday.  Most likely, that game will be against Miami, though I suspect there are other possibilities.  BG cannot finish lower than 10th and could in theory finish #9 with a win over Buffalo.  Anyway, that will all sort itself out on Saturday.

Injury Bug his hit Bobcats

Quick update...Jason Arkley of the Athens Messenger has this news on today's game...OU has some injury issues and has three regulars who are game time decisions for tonight. Ndour would be especially big, but any player below full strength makes a difference. So, if you are heading to the Stroh tonight, these are the guys to watch for during warm ups.

The lineup, as has been the case the past three weeks, will be in a state of flux at the Stroh Center. Junior forward Maurice Ndour (back), junior point guard Stevie Taylor (leg fracture) and senior wing T.J. Hall (hamstring, achilles') will all be game-time decisions, Christian said Monday.

Monday, March 03, 2014

OU Preview. Here kitty kitty kitty.

The next 6 days will mark the end of the regular season for the BG Men's basketball program.  We outlined the whole deal yesterday...the odds are long against BG ending up on home court.  Still, you play to win the game, and BG has OU coming in. OU is fighting one of the 4 byes to the MAC tournament, so they have plenty to play for.

In game 1, BG pulled a most improbable upset, part of a short period where they beat WMU and OU on the road.  BG is 3-8 since they beat OU at the Convo.

In the first game, BG held OU to .92 points per possession while scoring .95, which is a nice look at what BG needs to do to win. OU had a miserable game turning the ball over and did not shoot well, either. Half of OU's shots came from beyond the arc in the game, and they only made 6. BG sunk free throws and did a good job on the offensive boards for the win.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's game, this matchup is very typical of how BG games are looking lately.  We are playing a team that is 4th in the MAC in offensive efficiency at 1.04 points per possession.  Meanwhile. BG is 2nd in the MAC (24th in D1), allowing .95 points per possession.  There's one battle.  OU is 8th in defensive efficiency, and BG is dead last.  In fact, BG is among the 10 worst offensive teams in D1, based on efficiency in conference games.  That's the other battle.  The .95/.92 mix for BG in the first game would look pretty good in this one, too.

How does that break down.  Well, first, OU is a very good shooting team.  They are 2nd in the MAC in effective FG% and BG is 2nd in defending the shot.  They are an outside-oriented team.  They are 2nd in the MAC in 3s attempted and made and 1st in 3FG%.  As you can see below, they don't do much on the offensive boards and they don't get to the line, so they are living and dying on the outside shot.  As mentioned, they took 22 bombs in the first game, which is well below their normal percentage.

Flipping things around, we see that OU is a good but not great offensive team and BG is a poor defensive team.  BG has to find a way to flip some of these numbers, but I don't think there are any surprises. They have to take care of the ball and make some shots, neither of which they did Saturday against Akron.

Individually, Nick Kellogg is leading them in MAC play with 15 points a game.  He's shooting 43% but more than half of his shots have been 3FGS, where he shoots 35%.  He is also averaging 3.4 assists.  Maurice Ndour is averaging 14 points on 48% shooting and 6 rebounds.  Jon Smith is averaging 6 rebounds.  One last guy to watch is Travis Wilkins, who was quiet much of the year but has been in double figures four times in February and seems to be coming on.

A BG sweep of OU would be most improbable, except that it could happen.  BG has a good shot to be competitive on home floor, but as we have seen, they need to continue to play solid defense and then generate at least sufficient offense to have a shot at winning.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Dambrot Domination Continues

In the preview, we thought BG had to play good defense and have an average game on the offensive end to win.  They got half way there.  BG held Akron .91 points per possession, which is an excellent defensive night anywhere.  Unfortunately, BG scored only .75 points per possession on its end, and that was that.

Games where a team turns the ball over 20 times and shoots 35% from the field and 15% from beyond the arc are going to be losing games.  You can't play defense that well.

Akron continues mind-boggling domination over BG.  That's 11 in a row and 20 out of the last 21.  That's like the kind of runs teams used to put on Northwestern in football.  This is a conference opponent and it just shouldn't be that way.  It extends back past Orr, in fact.  Anyway, it was more of the same last night at the JAR.

This one was not a cardiac job.  Akron--playing without Reggie McAdams and Jake Kretzer--pulled away in the last 10 minutes for the comfortable win.  At the 11:24 mark, Cam Black made a layup to tie the game at 34. The next time BG made a basket, there was 6:22 left on the clock.  Miraculously, Akron was only ahead by 7.  The next time after that when BG scored was with 3:27 left, and by then Akron led by 11 and it was all over.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but from 11 minutes to 3 minutes BG scored 4 points.

The deficit was never closer than 9 from then on in.

In the 11 minutes after the game was tied, Akron outscored BG 23-13.

Individually, Holmes had 14 points on 6 of 13 shooting, adding 9 rebounds and 4 blocks.  Cam Black had a nice night, double-double, with 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting and 11 rebounds.  They were pretty much the only players with a solid stat line.  Jehvon Clarke scored 9 on 4 of 12 shooting with 2 assists over 5 turnovers.  Spencer Parker only got 4 shots off, Henderson was 1 of 8, Tisdale was 0 of 4.  Sealey played only 6 minutes.

Nobody had a good day with turnovers.  Clarke 5 and Parker, Holmes and Black with 4 each.

BG got a small break in that NIU and Miami both lost.  Kent, however, won.  BG is in 10th.  In terms of getting a home berth, BG needs to beat two of the three teams ahead of them and BG trails them all by 1 with 2 to play....NIU, Kent or Miami. As we have noted, head to head tie-breakers are not good for BG.

The first question is, can BG make it with 1 win at 7-11.

I can't see how they can.  Either Kent or Miami is going to end up with 8 wins, which means BG would have to beat the other two teams.  BG would lose (and finish 3rd) in either of the 3-way tie breakers that could occur.

So, BG needs to win out.  Let's pause and remember that would require BG to beat OU and then win @UB, so those odds are slim to start with.  Let's say it happened.

BG could make it.  If Miami and NIU lost out, then BG would actually finish in a tie with Kent and finish in 7th.

If Miami beats Kent, then Kent and NIU could lose out and BG would make it, in 8th this time.

The key is BG needs two of those teams to lose out to have a shot, as far as I can see.  The 3-way tiebreakers are not friendly to BG.  Either Kent or Miami has to win one more game.  NIU plays Ball State.

Anyway, you can see...the odds are very long.  If I had to predict, I'd have BG in 10th going to NIU or Kent, probably Kent due to their wins over Akron and OU. 

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Zipper Problems, Part II

So, BG begins the final week of the regular season with a trip to the JAR to take on the Akron Zips.  The Zips are 17-11 and 9-6.  They are not playing especially well, losing 4 out of their last 5, but the losses were @WMU, @Buff, OU and @Miami, with only the last one qualifying as a bad loss and BG lost @Miami, too.

The Zips are 4-2 at home in MAC play this year and 10-2 overall.  They are in a tight battle for the last bye.

Akron has exercised complete ownership of BG.  They have won the last 10 meetings over BG and 19 out of the last 20.  You have to go back to 2001-3 to see BG having consistent wins over the Zips. I don't have any data, but I doubt if BG has had a similar string of futility against any conference opponent ever.

Hey, I saw a quote this week.  "Everything that has a beginning has an end."  So, we have that going for us.

Which is nice.

This game stacks up like a lot of BG games.  As you can see below, Akron is an average offensive team (6th in the MAC) and a decent defensive team (4th in MAC).  BG is poor offensively and a top 25 defensive team nationally...conference games only.  Those gaps are the key.  If BG can hold Akron down around .95 points per possession, they have a shot at winning.  The only other option is a hot shooting night, which we have not been accustomed to.

So, how could that happen?  Well, there are two areas where BG's defense excels and they are the two most important categories.  BG is top 40 in D1 in defending the shot and top 50 in forcing turnovers.  Akron turns the ball over about as often as BG forces turnovers, so we should expect that to hold.  The key is shooting.  Akron is not a great shooting team but there is a gap between where they are and where BG is.  The Falcons need to execute on those two points.  Akron is a poor FT shooting team, which makes them an even better match up for the Falcons.

The Buffalo loss was a shoot out, but Akron shot very poorly in their other losses in this streak, so perhaps that's an opening for the Falcons.

On the other side, we kind of know what to expect.  As you can see, BG's offensive numbers and Akron's defensive numbers are weirdly in sync.  It does matter.  BG has wasted a bunch of really good defensive performances and needs some kind of offensive production to be able to win.  The last word was that Anthony Henderson was expected to play tonight, we should help.

The last time the teams played, Akron got over 1 point per possession and BG got .98.  The game looked to be headed to OT until Quincy Diggs drained a buzzer beating shot to give Akron the win in a turnover-plagued game.  The key thing for BG was the inability to take advantage of a 19-10 foul advantage, shooting only 61% from the line.

On an individual basis, you know the names.

Treadwell is scoring 16 points per game on 44% shooting, which is solid.  He also averages 9.9 rebounds per game and is a clear All-MAC quality player.  Diggs is scoring an inefficient 12.3 on 39% shooting, paired with 5.1 rebounds per game.  Their other double-figure scorer is Nick Harney, who was suspended through the period where Akron has struggled.  He played against Miami.   He is scoring 10.3 points on 53% shooting.

Jake Kretzer is their big 3-threat at 36%.  Carmelo Betancourt, their PG, has 2.4 assists over 1.5 turnovers.

Can BG break the Zipper-hold that Dambrot at his boys have.  And can they do it at the JAR.  Obviously, this was a close game at the Stroh.  Odds are against it on the road, but who can tell?  BG has played well on the road, even when losing, so perhaps this time they get over the hump.