Monday, March 30, 2015

Orr and the 30-second clock

A few basketball notes.

First, Chauncey Orr has transferred to Hawaii Pacific.  That's a DII school so he is eligible right away., which was pretty much his only option since he already sat out most of this year.  I know we all respected Chauncey's effort to stay with the program after his Dad's contract was not renewed.  Even though it didn't last, he tried to do something 99% of people would not have tried and it was far from the path of least resistance.  I wish him nothing but the best.  Also, he picked a major upgrade in weather.

With Orr's departure and assuming no others, BG has 4 scholarships available.  Three are signed already and that would leave one, assuming a walk-on doesn't get one.  It would be my guess that won't happen and BG will bring in a JUCO inside player to fill in where BG appears to have a big hole for next year.

FWIW, the rumors are hot that Wichita State's Gregg Marshall will go elsewhere, Texas or Alabama.  The Shocker fanbase is already banging the Twitter drum to bring Jans back to Kansas.

Second, on the 30-second shot clock experiment, I thought it was pretty much a non-issue.  I would expect the NCAA to adopt it.  Now, when I say a non-issue...BG and Canisius had a 65 possession game which is almost exactly what both teams averaged during the year with a 35 second clock.  The St. Francis game went at 60 possessions, which is actually less than normal.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The MAC's Unexpected Year

Just for fun, I went back to the MAC's pre-season release to look at who was picked where and who was on the pre-season All-MAC team was.  I do this not to point out that the people who did this poll--the media--are wrong or dumb, but to point out the uncertainty that is with every season and how much things can change over the course of a year.  It is one of the things that keeps us watching as sports fans, and it it was never more evident than in the MAC this  year.

To wit, in the East, where the teams who were HEAVY favorites finished 4th and 6th and a team picked to be 4th finished 1st and a team picked 5th finished 3rd.  (Yes, I know Akron lost people, that's my point).

2014-15 MAC East Division Predicted Order of Finish  Actual
1. Akron – 117 points (17 1st Place)  (4th)
2. Ohio – 92 (2) (6th)
3. Kent State – 66 (2nd)
4. Buffalo – 58 (1st)
5. Bowling Green – 52 (1) (3rd)
6. Miami – 35 (5th)

The West was a little better, but no one (well, one guy) saw CMU coming.  In fact, I think that one guy got mocked.  Anyway, good call, dude.  Everyone else missed it.  Everyone thought UT would win the division, and they did finish second.

2014-15 MAC West Division Predicted Order of Finish  Actual
1. Toledo – 118 points (18 1st Place) (2nd)
2. Western Michigan – 94 (1) (3rd)
3. Eastern Michigan – 68 (4th)
4. Northern Illinois – 63 (5th)
5. Central Michigan – 49 (1) (1st)
6. Ball State – 28 (6th)

OK, and then the tournament champ.  As we can see, Toledo was the overwhelming favorite.  No one picked Buffalo at all.

Tournament Champion: Toledo (15), Akron (1), Bowling Green (1), Central Michigan (1), Ohio (1), Western Michigan (1)

Now, let's look at how they did on the players.  The post-season awards are not done by division, so they aren't direct comparable.  Having said that, it is still interesting.

MAC East Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell, Sr., F, Akron  (DNF)
Richaun Holmes, Sr., F, Bowling Green (1st)
Will Regan, Sr., F, Buffalo (NR)
Kris Brewer, Kent State, Sr., G, Kent State (HM)
Maurice Ndour, Sr., F, Ohio (2nd)

MAC West Division Preseason All-MAC Team
Chris Fowler, Jr., G, Central Michigan (1st)
Karrington Ward, Sr., F, Eastern Michigan (HM)
Julius "Juice" Brown, Sr., G, Toledo (1st)
Justin Drummond, Sr., G/F, Toledo (3rd)
David Brown, Grad., G, Western Michigan (2nd)

So, if you figure these would equate to the first and second teams (10 players), only 5 of the 10 ended up 1st or 2nd team.  Again, I'm not calling these players out for not making it, just pointing out how people emerge in competition when they were not expected to.

As below.  These 5 players made first or second team without being on the pre-season All-MAC team....yeah, and that includes the Player of the Year, too.

Justin Moss, Buffalo, F
Jimmy Hall, Kent State, F
Shannon Evans, Buffalo, G
Devareaux Manley, Kent State, G
Eric Washington, Miami, G

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

 And that is that.  The BG MBB season is over, ended with a terrible, blow out loss at home to Canisius.  I thought Coach Jans was very good on the post-game show.  As seen in the quote above, he said BG had fans in the house (not a ton) but that we were ready to give the team a lift, but the team never provided the opportunity.  He also said that he told his team three times that the fans had "paid good money" to watch them play.

Coach also said that Canisius was more excited to play from the very beginning--which was very evident--and he seemed very disappointed.  Todd Walker tried to get him to start talking positively about the season, but it was clear he was in no mood, saying that it would be at least a few days before he could think like that after such a disappointing loss.

I'll look ahead to next season and do some season recaps as time moves along here.  It was certainly a much better season than expected, but BG is far from out of the Orr woods as we look ahead without Clarke, Henderson and, of course, Holmes.

Last note.  Coach said Holmes has not been himself since the incident in Buffalo.  He said Holmes has been fighting with trainers and doctors to play--and I assume they medically cleared him anyway--but that he has not been 100% since the injury against the Bulls.  In addition, Delvin Dickerson DNP today.

Friday, March 20, 2015

CIT Part 2 Preview: Canisius

The Golden Griffins of Canisius will be BG's second round opponent in the CIT and are making their first trip to the Stroh.  The GGs did play BG in a home and home in the 08-09 and 09-10 seasons, with each team winning on the road. The match-up was created by the now-dead bracket buster, which mostly busted BG.

For review, Canisius is over by Buffalo and named for the guy to your left, who is Canisius...Petrus Canisius. He was the first Dutchman to join the Jesuits. Really.

He led the efforts to restore the Catholic Church in Germany after the reformation.  And he looks like a total bad ass.

Also, you can see his shoes.

Enough Canisius. Or at least that Canisius.

The GGs are 17-14 on the year, with an RPI of 175 and a SOS RPI of 188.  They were 11-9 in conference and 7-7 for the year on the road, which is pretty good.  Their biggest win was at home over Iona (RPI 50).  Their biggest road win was @Lehigh (170).  They lost to Buffalo by 15 on a neutral floor.  Of their 17 wins, 13 came against teams with 200+ RPI.

They were knocked out of the MAAC tournament by Monmouth and then beat Dartmouth by 13 at home in their first CIT game.

They are a defensively oriented team.  They allow .97 points per possession, which is in the top 70 in D1.  They get there the way most teams do, which is to be hard to shoot against.  They allow teams to shoot 41% and 33% and force turnovers on 21% of possessions, which is also very good.  When you start with 21% blank possessions and then add in that kind of shot defense, you are going to be tought to score against.

The only thing that keep them from being impossible to score against is that they are a little below average on offensive rebounds (allow 32%) and allow a decent amount of free throws.

They appear to play very physically.  A lot of fouls for them and the opponent.

On offense, they are not so good, or they would have a better record.  Their efficiency is 1.01, which is below average, and they shoot worse than their opponents do, even with the great D.  The GGs shoot 41% and 32%.  They do try a lot of 3s, but have not been terribly successful making them.  However, given that teams have hit 3s against BG, the Falcons need to be prepared for that.  They do not commit a lot of turnover at 18.6%.

They are good on the offensive boards, getting 34% of available rebounds and don't get to the line particularly well.  When they do get to the line, they make 72%, which is pretty good.

Individually, they are led by Zach Lewis, a SO G who scores 12 PPG on 34% shooting.  Let's be clear though...that's on an incredible number of 3s...224 in fact, which is 45th in the country.  He shot 33% on 3FGs.

The also have a 6'9" Sr. Big named Josiah Heath.  He scores 9.5 PPG and 6.8 rebounds per game.  Jr Jamal Reynolds, who is 6'5", scores 6.8 and rebounds 6.5.  Phil Valenti gets 2.5 assists per game to lead the team and Lewis gets 2.3.  They are the 76th youngest team in D1 out of 350 or so.

BG is a 6.5 point favorite and that's about right.  This is a game BG should win.  They have a bonus game on their home floor and this is a team they should beat.  I have not heard anything about the status of Holmes or or Dickerson, so that would certainly play a role as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

MAC Men's Basketball Check in...

A few updates.

First, BG is set up to play Canisius (gesundheit) on Saturday at the Stroh.

In other MAC news...

Buffalo plays Friday against West Virginia.  The Bulls are a sexy upset pick--I have them--but in general it worries me because it seems like every year the sexy upset pick that everyone tells you to take ends up losing.  Also, I think much of the public acclaim is about Hurley.  Buffalo is playing at a high level and I think they could beat WVU, though I guess WVU is getting a couple injured guys back.

Other than BG and Buffalo, only Kent remains in action.

Kent won by 12 @Middle Tennessee State.  They play @Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday.
In perhaps the worst MAC result, WMU lost by 29 at home to Cleveland State.  This is what I mean when I say that sometimes a team just doesn't feel like playing in the CIT.
EMU lost at LA-Monroe.
CMU lost in the NIT in a very tough assignment, playing at a Louisiana Tech.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Football Interlude--Offensive Coordinator Question is Answered

So Spring Practice is underway and the guys have had some great weather to play in.  This is Coach Baber's second spring practice with the team.

The last unresolved winter point was about who was going to be the OC.  As we know, BG's previous two co-offensive coordinators left for the same position with Tulsa, which has hired a fellow cult members and is going to be Hurricane Fast.

The co-OCs will be Mike Lynch and Sean Lewis.  Lynch coached RBs last year and this year is coaching RBs and the O-line, which is an odd combo.  Seems like we are still down one guy.  Anyway, he was at EIU before Babers got there and Babers kept him on.  It is unclear if he counts as being in the cult or not.

Lewis is coaching QBs.  He coached WRs last year.

Andrew Sowder, who was Director of Player Personnel and Recruiting, will now coach the outside WRs.  Kim McCloud, who was DC, is now coaching the inside WRs.

Of course, Coach Babers calls the plays anyway, so not sure how strong these distinctions are.  This sort of arrangement has been considered likely for a while, as the hiring season came and went without BG hiring any outside coaches besides the new DC.

Falcons Break 40-year Cherry

The Bowling Green Falcons MBB team broke a 40-year drought in post-season play last night with a hard fought 67-64 win over the St. Francis Red Flash in PA.  While that might have been unexpectedly close, it is important to know that BG played without Richaun Holmes and Delvin Dickerson, both of whom did not play due to injury.

On the road, under those conditions?  No bad wins.

As you can see below, it was a close game from start to finish.  With 2:12 left, the game was tied and 100% in the balance.  Pep Joseph nailed 2 free throws to put BG up 2 and then from there the game locked into a non-scoring phase.  In fact, no one scored again until there were :17 and that was a Josh Gomez layup that put BG up 4.  Except for a last-second buzzer beater, SF did not score for the last 2:30 of the game.

Shooting for the game was almost exactly even, with SF shooting much better 2FG (53% to 41%) but BG shooting better 3FG (40% to 27%).  That netted out to +1 for the Red Flash on field goals.  There were hardly any turnovers, but SFPA had 3 fewer than BG, but then BG had an enormous game on the offensive boards and got to the line one more time than SFPA, but finished with a +4 due to a 90% conversion rate.

Anthony Henderson continues to play at a high level for BG.  He scored 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting and 4 of 5 from 3FG, both of which are just ridiculous levels of efficiency.  Jehvon Clarke struggled a little more, with 12 points on 4 of 12 shooting, but with 8 rebounds and 4 offensive rebounds.

And Josh Gomez?  He had 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting and 7 28 minutes.

Spencer Parker also had 8 rebounds.  BG went very deep onto the bench, with Lyshe and Tisdale both getting minutes.  In fact, Lyshe started.  Austin had 5 assists in 19 minutes.

With the win, BG has now made the second round of the CIT.  Rumor is that game will be at home on Saturday at 1 pm.  We will see who we play after the games are played tonight.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Red Flash Preview

So BG heads off to play in a post-season game as part of the CIT.  They are playing the Red Flash (not Flashes) of St. Francis.  It is the second CIT bid for BG, the first one ending in a  defeat at Oakland.  As I have already covered, BG has lost every post-season game for the last 40 years.  This is a chance to right that wrong.

This is the first ever meeting with St. Francis.

St. Francis is in the Northeast Conference.  They were 16-15 on the year, and 10-10 in conference play.  They have an RPI of 183.  The game will take place in their gym, and they were 10-2 at home so that makes the assignment tougher.

Their biggest win was over Albany, an RPI of 104, who made the NCAAs.  They won @Duquesne and @Rutgers.  On the negative side, they lost to Wagner (295), Central Connecticut State (342), who won only 5 all year.

Let's take a closer look at the Red Flash.  First, we are using all game stats here.  Second, BG played a tougher schedule, which gives context to the numbers. The first thing I would notice is that they are pretty similar to BG in a lot of ways---not in terms of record, but in terms of style of play.  First, they played this year at 64 possessions per game, which is exactly the same as BG, so there should not be any tempo issues.

As you can see below, they have the numbers of a .500 team, meaning they are scoring slightly more than they are allowing.  They are a below average offensive team and an above average defensive team.  Meanwhile, BG is a better on both defense and offense and against tougher competition.

It is a little tough to figure out why St. Francis doesn't score more efficiently.  They only shoot 44% overall, but they attempt a metric f***ton of 3FGs.  They are in the top 20% of the country in attempting 3FGs.  They aren't great at making them---34%, 207th in the country--but it balances out to a decent EFG%.  Their turnovers are not great but not awful.  They don't do any offensive rebounding and get to the line OK, if not great.  That all somehow equals out to an above average offensive output.  Given BG's struggles defending the 3FG late in the season, I would say that should be the top priority for Tuesday's game.

Flipping it around, things are pretty evenly matched.  Again, with the caveat that BG played a tougher schedule, we see that BG's scoring and offensive stats are pretty consistent with what SFPA is used to giving up.

Individually, they are led by 6'6" Sr. F Earl Brown, a first-team all-NEC selection.  He scored 15.9 PPG on 54% shooting and 8 rebounds a game.

PG Malik Harmon is scoring 9.5 PPG on 39% shooting and only 2.7 APG.  The Flash have three other players in the 8-9 PPG range.

In that sense, they are a lot like BG, in that they have one double figure scorer and it is a F who is the leading scorer and rebounder on the team.

Oh, and Ollie Jackson is their leading 3FG at 40%.  He's a senior guard.

So that's the deal.  I haven't done the full research, but if BG has had a better chance to break this post-season drought, I don't know what it is.  BG has played well on the road, this is a team that struggled in a lower ranked conference (The MAC is the 10th ranked conference and NEC is 26th).  This is a game BG absolutely should win, if they are looking to win.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

MAC MBB Post-Season Docket--UPDATE

And it looks like all the MAC post-season assignments are in.  There are 5 teams in post-season play and there would have been a 6th, but UT decided they were not going to be available for the CBI or CIT...which, if I am not mistaken Buffalo did last year.

First, in the big one, Buffalo is a #12 seed and playing West Virginia at #5.  The game will be Friday in Columbus.  Buffalo is getting some early love as an upset special and I think this is a good matchup for them.  Certainly not a gimmee, but I think a game that Buffalo could win.  They are playing at a high level right now.  Two years ago Akron was a #12 seed and then you have to go back to 08 for a seed that good.

CMU @ La Tech Tuesday (NIT)

As the conference regular season champion, CMU gets an automatic NIT bid if they don't go to the NCAA, which they obviously did not.  This is a good matchup, both teams had 8 losses during the regular season.  La Tech had an RPI of 60 while CMU has 73.  CMUs average win had an RPI of 164 and LaT was only 210 so this could be a good game.  They were undefeated at home.

BG @ St. Francis Tuesday (CIT)

More on this Monday or Tuesday but this should be winnable.

Cleveland State @ WMU Wednesday (CIT)

BG beat Cleveland State at the Stroh and WMU had the better ranking and has a good shot to win at home.

Kent @ Middle TN Wednesday (CIT)

Kent is a  lot higher ranked but the game is away.

The big problem is that you never know how much people are going to want to play in these more marginal tournaments, especially a long way from home.  All the CIT games are winnable for the MAC, but you just have to see who wants to play, if anybody.


EMU @ UL-Monroe Wednesday (CBI)

Eastern also is playing in the CBI.  UL-Monroe is a pretty good team, going 21-12 and having an RPI of 138.

List of Shame....11 teams with longer NCAA droughts than BGSU

There were 3 near misses on this year's list.  First, Yale has to be wondering how they failed to make it, because they had it all but wrapped up.  William and Mary was the #1 seed in the CAA and lost their final to Northeastern.  And St. Francis (NY) came up one shot short in the Northeast title game against Robert Morris.

So, this list threatened to get down to 8, but in the end there are still 11.  Below are the 11 teams with NCAA droughts longer than BG's.

One other note.  With Buffalo's win, BG is now the only current member of the MAC to have never won the MAC tournament.  BG has lost 3 finals in the 35 years the tournament has been played, starting with the first one.

Teams that have won in that time:  Toledo (1),  Buffalo (1), Ball State (7), EMU (4), CMU (2), WMU (2), Akron (3), Kent (5), Miami (4), Ohio (6) and NIU (1).  Just us with none...and Marshall.

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 13, 2015

Wrap Up for EMU

So wrapping up the EMU game....

From watching the game and using the ol'eyeball test, I would have said that what killed BG was an inability to do anything to get in the way of EMU's guards.  Talley and Lee seemed to have their way with the BG guards, much of the time on dribble penetration.  And they had big scoring games, Lee with 27 and Talley with 21, but at significant cost.  The two of them collectively shot 14 of 37, which is 38%.  Ward also shot 6 of 14.

Coach Jans said after the game that BG did a good job on "first shot" defense and fell apart after that and you can certainly see that in the numbers.  EMU only shot 39%.  However, they picked up a ridiculous 46% of their offensive rebounds--the best total against a BG team all year--and while those didn't get converted directly into made shots, they did seem to get converted into fouls and eventually FTs, at +5 for the game.

So, EMU shot poorly but maximized their possessions by only turning the ball over 7 times, getting all those offensive rebounds and getting to the line.  The other issue was the 3FG.  EMU was a poor 3FG shooting team coming in, but made 41% which was their 4th best game of the year.  Overall, BG allowed 1.2 points per possession, the fourth best game for EMU this year.

BG, meanwhile, had a good offensive game at 1.1 points per possession. BG easily outshot EMU, but had 15 turnovers (25%) of possessions and a terrible game on the boards, and that along with the defensive struggles cost them the chance to win the game.

Oh, and one other thing I didn't notice when I watched the game.  BG went the last 4:42 without scoring a single point.  It was tied with that streak started.  Anyway, you aren't going to win very often in tournament basketball not scoring for the last 5 minutes of the game.

So with all that, Coach Jans is right.  BG didn't play well enough to win.

Individually, EMU scoring was dominated by 3 mentioned, Lee, Talley and Ward collectively scored 63 of their 73 points, which is a wow.

For BG, Jehvon Clarke had 18 points on on 7 of 11 shooting.  Richaun Holmes had 18 on 6 of 7 shooting, most of it in the first half. where he was dominant.  Coach Jans said that Holmes was "out of gas" in the second half due to his layoff.  Denny had 13 on 5 of 12 shooting and a team-high 4 turnovers.  Holmes, Denny and Parker each had 5 rebounds.

So that's the sad tale of woe.  EMU did not advance and UT is in the semi against CMU.  We await the Red Streak.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

CIT Pairing....that was fast

Why wait until Selection Sunday to start to line up your bracket.  You might not know who is going in but you know some teams who aren't.

The CIT is the tournament and is a 32-team tourney open only to teams not in a major conference.  I believe...though I can't find anything about it...that teams pay to play at home.

The CIT will use a 30-second shot clock in 2015.

BG will open the CIT @ St. Francis (PA), located in Loretto, PA, which is between Altoona and Johnstown.

They're in the Northeast Conference, where they were 16-15 and 9-9.  Their RPI was 181 and they had a strength of schedule of 227.

Their nickname?  The Red Flash.

They lost to UC and Texas in the pre-season.  Their biggest win was over Albany, with an RPI of 112.  More to come on the Red Flash.

The last post-season game BG won was 1975 in the short-lived National Commissioners Invitational Tournament.  BG beat Tennessee.

Since then BG has lost to:

1975  Drake (NCIT)
1980 Minnesota (NIT)
1983 MSU (NIT)
1990 UC (NIT)
1991 Wisconsin (NIT)
1997 WVU (NIT)
2000 BYU (NIT)
2002 Butler (NIT)
2009 Creighton (NIT)
2012 Oakland (CIT)

Note that exccept for the NCIT games, all of those games were on the road, as this one will be.  Even so, BG has not been able to break its NCAA drought but how about breaking that 40 year post-season drought?  This seems like a pretty good opportunity to do that.

Football Interlude: Johnson will be back for Spring Practice

Quick interlude for football.  Spring practice is starting soon, and as you can see above, Matt Johnson has been cleared to return to the field.  Obviously, good news for the Falcons.  The team has an impressive set of offensive weapons which they will need, both with major losses on defense and a brutal schedule.  Johnson will join Clayton Nicholas and James Knapke in the QB picture and I would assume enters as the presumptive starter.  The season didn't end on a great note for Johnson with some legal issues, but let's hope everyone involved can get that behind them and move on to the business of football.

It Always Ends With a Loss

I know it didn't really end...BG is heading to the CIT.  But, the goal you play for when the season starts...the road you are to make the NCAA tournament.  That road came to an end Wednesday night at the Q as the Falcons fell to EMU in a very tightly fought and entertaining game in which, as Coach Jans said, BG "didn't play well enough to win."

It was certainly a very disappointing way to end the season.  There will be plenty of time to look back on the year, which was by and large excellent.  BG went from 20 losses to 20 wins and had their first 20 win season in 13 years.  It was, on balance, an outstanding season and nothing but thanks for the hard work and commitment shown by our coaches and players.  In particular, huge respect for our seniors who committed to a new program before their senior year, something not everyone would have done.

Back on the old website, Kyle Whelliston used to say that "it always ends with a loss."  And that's true.  Unless your conference doesn't have a tourney, in basketball your season always ends with a loss.  (Exceptions would be for winning the NCAA, NIT, CIT, or CBIT, etc).  It lends a tragic feel to the whole enterprise and just means that your final impression of any year is a losing game...and that might be one more loss at the end of a hard year (e.g. Ball State), a hard loss at the end of a surprising year (e.g. BG), or a heartbreaking loss one second from the prize (e.g., William and Mary and St. Francis (NY), both of whom came within a game of ending their NCAA droughts, which are longer than BG's).

But a loss.

And, as I always say, if you feel disappointed as fan, imagine how the players, coaches and their families feel.

More on the actual game later, but one last thought.  Yes, it was disappointing.  But when was the last time the season ended and you felt like our basketball program was on the right track?  2009?  Longer?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

MAC Player of the Year and Coach of the Year

So, the news is in, none of it a surprise.  Justin Moss is Player of the Year and Keno Davis is the Coach of the Year.

Those are really the only choices.  Moss is clearly the best player in the MAC and certainly the most productive.

As for Coach, I know that many Falcon fans hoped Coach Jans would have had a shot at the award. In a normal year he might have, and it certainly was a worthy season.

But you can't deny that Davis deserves the award.  Yes, BG was picked last in the East, but CMU was picked second to last ahead of only Ball State in the West (which is pretty much like being last), and they won the top seed and BG won the #5 seed.  Also, the program when Davis took over was in a terrible place and he has rebuilt it.  At BG, we were fortunate to never bottom out, like UT or CMU did.

Davis won 21 of 27 voters and would have had mine.

Congrats to all.

Step Two of the Journey

BG hits the second round game in the Q on Wednesday, taking on the Eastern Michigan Hurons in a #5 seed vs. a #8 seed.

BG and EMU played on January 21 at the Stroh.  It was the kind of game you like from a Falcon perspective, with the BG taking  lead about 10 minutes into the game and gradually stretching the lead to an 11 point lead at the half.  From there, BG held a steady and safe lead throughout the second half and won by 16 in the end.

EMU is known for playing really tough defense from a 2-3 zone in the Syracuse style.  In fact, in MAC play they were the toughest team to score against on a per possession basis and also the toughest team to shoot against--and the 6th hardest to shoot against in the whole country.

That wasn't the scenario in the first game.  BG scored 1.16 points per possession--the 4th most allowed by EMU during the year.  BG shot 46% and 44% and picked up 40% of the available offensive rebounds, which is a pretty potent combination.  BG held EMU to .91 points per possession, shooting 35% and 29%.  The Eagles did get 35% of their offensive rebounds, which is above average.

Henderson had 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting and 6 rebounds.  Both Holmes and Denny double-doubled--Holmes at 13/10 and Denny at 10/10.  Dickerson had 12 points.  For EMU, Tim Bond came off the bench for 13 points on 4 of 11 shooting.  Raven Lee had 11 points on 3 of 11 shooting.

I have already written about the EMU defense.  Beyond defending the shot effectively, they also lead the MAC in forcing turnovers by percentage of possessions.  They are vulnerable on the offensive boards, as zone teams often are and they give up a lot of free throws.  One last thing.  They are only in the middle of the MAC defending the 3, so if BG can get its shooters untracked, that could be very helpful.

On offense, they are 10 th in the MAC with 1 point per possession.   They are last in shooting, which they partly mitigate by being 4th in turnover percentage and leading the MAC in FT attempts.  They do not rebound especially well.  They are last in 3FG% and just an average FT shooting team at 71%.

Individually, they are led by All-MAC 3rd team Raven Lee.  He scored 17.6 PPG (2nd in the MAC) on 43% shooting and is respectable from 3FG at 38%.  All-MAC Honorable Mention Karrington Ward averages 12 points on 42% shooting and added 6.2 rebounds.  (Ward was also a JUCO teammates of Richaun Holmes).  PG Mike Talley averages 14 PPG and 4.4 assists per game.

Finally, there is no word on what to expect with Richaun Holmes.  That obviously makes a big difference, though BG has played well without him.  BG's guards are really playing well and it will be interesting to see if BG could put that together with Holmes here in the last few games.  But, Richaun will play if he is healthy and if he is not, BG will have to figure out how to shoot against this very tough defense and stay out of foul trouble.  They are sorely hurting for minutes in the paint.  In fact, it would not surprise me to see BG go to a zone.

Anyway, the fun begins Wednesday at 6:30.  Looking very forward to see if BG can make a run.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Richaun Holmes MAC Defensive Player of the Year

Congrats to Richaun.  Well deserved.  Thank you for being a Falcon.

Cleveland and 20 for Falcon Men

For the first time since 2011, the BG men will be heading to Cleveland.  Next up, EMU, who beat Miami.  I was OK with that because Miami plays a high pressure style that tends to give BG trouble.

For the first time since 2002, the BG men have won 20 games. That, of course, was the year of the WVU debacle that has marked before and after for the program.  In the 13 years since then, BG has had only 3 winning seasons, including this year.

So for those two things, we are happy.

BG had lost 3 straight first-round MAC tourney games, two of them at home, but did what they had to do last night without Richaun Holmes.  Coach Jans gave Ball State credit after the game and he is right.  They have now lost 17 in a row, and are 4-34 over the last two seasons in MAC play.  It is the worst non-Gene Cross-caused decline I can recall.  Anyway, those guys are still fighting and playing hard and you have to admire that.  Not many people would be.

Case in point.  After a tight first 5 minutes, BG gradually extended a lead that hit 10 with under 7 minutes left in the first half and then ended up at 16 at halftime after a late run by the Falcons.  But the Cards came out of the locker room firing and cracked the lead down to 8 in about two minutes.  BG got it back to 10 and the game was stuck on 57-47 for almost four minutes.  Ball State cut it to 6 and then to 3 with 9 minutes left and I think it is fair to say the Cards had succeeded in getting the Falcon fans sweating.

BG then did what the better team should do, which is absorb the run and reassert control of the game, which they did with a 9-2 run to go back up 10.  Ball State still was not done and had the lead down to 6 with about 3 minutes left when Zack Denny drilled a dagger 3 to put BG up by 9 and from there it was just formalities.

It was BG's best offensive game of the season and it isn't close.  BG scored 1.42 points per possession which is astounding.  Their next highest was 1.32 against USF.  Here's the skinny...BG shot 55% from the field (season high) and 50% from 3FG (second best) and made 85% of its free throws (third best) while maximizing possessions with only 7 turnovers (11% of possessions, 3rd best on the year).  They also had a good evening on the offensive boards, getting 36% of the available boards.  It is hard to do much better than that.

BG had a less than great day on defense.  Ball State shot 50% overall, but 60% on 2FG and only 36% on 3FG.  Ball State scored 1.21 points per possession, which is the second-worst game of the year for the BG defense.  They also only turned the ball over only 7 times, but had almost no offensive rebounding presence and while they made 71% of the FTS, they had an overall -8 on made free throws.

Individually, again, BG played without Richaun Holmes.  BG's senior guards are really picking up the pace.  Anthony Henderson had 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting and 1 of 1 from beyond the arc, and that's simply a great offensive day.  Also, a tied for team high 4 rebounds.

Jehvon Clarke also had 19 on 6 of 14 shooting but made all 6 of this FTs.  Zack Denny, who loves playing Ball State, had 16 on 6 of 8 shooting and 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.  Delvin Dickerson added 12 in 12 minutes.

One interesting thing was PG.  Pep Joseph had 5 assists over 1 turnover, which is pretty good by any measure.  I have written quite a bit about BG's struggles with pressure defenses and there was a little bit of that last night.  BG had a couple turnovers, but settled in and handled the press well.  What was interesting is that they did so with both of the PGs on the bench.  Henderson, Clarke and Denny were on the floor and doing the ball handling.  They are a steady presence and Clarke has the ability to advance the ball on the dribble.

So, a good win for the Falcons and a trip to Cleveland and the 20-win milestone.  Coach said in the post-game that he is happy with how the team is playing heading into the tournament.  It is a game by game thing, but it will be very interesting to see how the Falcons fare.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Congrats To Richaun Holmes, first-team All-MAC

Big congrats to Richaun Holmes, who was named first-team All-MAC a few minutes ago.  It is a huge honor and well deserved.  He clearly was one of the top players in the conference this year and has been a real point of pride during his time at BG.  I think his game really grew this year and he became a better and steadier player, providing very consistent, high quality play.

Also, just as a note, The Blade reported this morning that Holmes is questionable to play tonight.  It didn't sound like he was going to play.  The man has a long life ahead of him, and he shouldn't put it at risk...a philosophy I'm sure our program and University shares.  If he's healthy, we could certainly use him.

Anyway, congrats to Richaun.  We're incredible proud you are a Falcon.

Also, BG did not place anyone else on the 2nd, 3rd, honorable mention or freshman team.

Babers Reveals Existence of Cult

Dino Babers was interviewed on about his off-season moves, particularly taking his DC and making him a position coach on the offense.  At the time, he said it was because he was getting guys into positions where they had historically coached, which I showed was pretty much not true for 3 of the 4 guys he was talking about.

New reason.

“Our offense is a system,” he said. “It’s almost like a cult. You don’t really bring new people into it. I was probably one of the last people brought in from the outside, when I was at Baylor.”

So, it's a cult now.  Or ALMOST a cult.  Anyway, I don't know when cults got to be a good thing (usually teams are described as families), but it goes back to my previous concern that when this cult moves to another commune, we're going to have to either find someone to coach from this tight little cult or change systems again and have an adjustment period.

Speaking of adjustment periods.  Coach has always. to be fair, said the offense would not gel into year 2.  (Switching systems and throwing a season away is on the AD).  Fortunately, for all of us, Babers is now ready to project the gelling time more closely:

"I’ve said this offense really takes off in the second year, between the second and fourth games.”

Presumably after spring ball and Fall camp we will be able to get this narrowed even a little closer, like 3 minutes into the 2nd Quarter of the Memphis game.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

MAC Preview, Ball State up first

The MAC tourney begins.

I have said for a long time that I like the MAC tourney set up the way it is now.  I think that most sports get it wrong when they don't give as much weight as possible to the regular season.  Also, you want to give your best teams the easiest road--as a reward but also to increase the odds that you get an NCAA tournament run and the credit and cash that comes with it.

The argument against that system is that teams can get disproportionate advantage based on minute performance differences.  Obviously, BG makes a last shot in Buffalo Friday and they are #2.  Having said that, they didn't and ended up tied with UT and UT beat BG and I don't think you can argue the seeding.  Whether it is fair or competitively balanced to make BG play two more games than UT to win the tournament is another matter. Since it was decided on a head-head tiebreaker, I don't have a problem with it. The system rewards winning.

So here is the bracket.  BG plays at home Monday against Ball State, a team that has lost 16 straight games.  You'd like to think BG wins that game, but there's plenty to watch for.  More on that in a minute.

If BG does beat Ball State, they would play the winner of EMU and Miami in Cleveland.  BG split with the RedHawks and beat EMU easily.  Either opponent presents a winnable game but likely to be a very competitive game.  Miami is playing well and EMU just savaged UT.  Anyway, if BG won that game they'd get a rematch with the highly inconsistent Rockets who will be playing their first game in the tourney at that point.

What's the history?  The last 2 years the top seeds have won the whole thing.  In '12 OU won from the #3 seed.  Those are the results from the years using the current format.  In '11 Akron won from the #6...the most recent team to make a run to the title that started playing a first round game.  Everyone knows the story of OU making its run in '10 from the #9 seed, but again, those were under the old format.

In the 3 tournaments using this format, 11 of the 12 semi-final spots have been occupied by the teams with byes.  The only team that started playing on Monday to make the semi-finals was EMU last season.  That's how it was supposed to work and that's how it has worked.

BG has not won a MAC tournament game since the last game at Anderson against NIU.  The next year BG played #11 seed CMU at the Stroh and lost and the year after that BG lost to #11 seed Miami at home.  Last season, BG lost at NIU in OT.

A key issue for BG is the health of Richaun Holmes.  I have no idea what his status is for Monday or beyond and obviously I would not expect a lot of info out of BG in the meantime.  BG should be able to beat Ball State without him, but the chances of them winning 5 in 6 days without Holmes are very remote.  The odds with him are long enough.

So, Ball State.

First, BG has played poorly at home of late and was only 5-4 in conference play at the Stroh.  That's a worry.  Obviously, Ball State is just awful, having lost 16 straight games.  They only won 2 MAC games last year, too.  Their last win was on January 10...improbably enough an 18 point win over CMU.  I almost wish they had won their last game.  They will win someday.  Let's hope it isn't tomorrow.

I worry about how BG will come out.  Based on the season, I expect them to come out with something to prove and take out some frustration against the Cards. But any team, coming off last week, might have trouble getting up for a 5-game title slog.

They have last place stats.  They are last in offensive efficiency, last in turnover percentage, 6th in offensive rebounds and 10th in free throw rate.  They are 11th in FT% and 10th in 3FG%, although they take a ton.

They are also 11th in defensive efficiency.  They are last in opponent effective FG% (and 325th in the country),  5th in forcing turnovers, 2nd in protecting the offensive boards and 9th in FT rate.

BG beat Ball State twice this year.

The first game BG won by 12 at the Stroh.  The game was close with 14 left in the game, and then BG went on a 17-3 run over 5 minutes to take command of the game and then the game was even again for the remainder of the contest.

BG shot poorly in that game at 37% and 17% and primarily won due to a +14 advantage at the FT line.  That was a game BG was happy to win, but I'd say BG didn't play its best.

BG won the 2nd game in Muncie by 12.  BG was up 9 at the half and then 16 by around the first media time out of the second half and BG coasted home from there until Coach pulled his starters a little early and the Cards rallied.  They never got the score within 10.

This game was a little more like the profile you'd like to see Monday.  BG shot 51% and 44% and made only 5 turnovers.  It was BG's best offensive performance in a MAC game.

BG did not play especially good defense, however.  In fact, Ball State outshot BG and made 50% of their 3FG attempts.  The Cardinals were undone by the large turnover differential.  It was the worst defense BG played in a MAC game that resulted in a win.

In the first game, Zack Denny double-doubled in support of Richaun Holmes, who had a rough nice with 11 points on 3 of 8 shooting.  In the second game, Holmes had 20 and Denny had 18.  (Denny clearly likes playing the Cardinals!).

Zavier Turner had 14 points to lead Ball State in the game at the Stroh.  Matt Kameiniecki added 11 rebounds. In the second game, Kiapway scored 16 on 5 of 7 shooting, while Turner added 12 points and 8 assists.  Bo Calhoun had 11 points and 9 rebounds.

It begins Monday.  BG should be heavily favored, but you fear a hangover from last week along with struggles at home.  Hopefully BG can get its first win in 3 seasons and make it back to the Q.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

UB-BG by the numbers

Friday's Buffalo game is a perfect example of why Effective FG% is the right stat to use.  Remember, EFG% is where you give a team 1 FGM made for a 2-FG (as is normal) and 1.5 for a 3FG.  It allows the stat to reflect whether the team is taking and making high risk and high reward shots.

On the traditional stats, BG and Buffalo were very close.  Overall, BG shot 43% and Buffalo 42% and from 3 Buffalo shot 46% and BG 47%.  The difference was that Buffalo's 42% overall FG% came from 24 3 attempts and BG only tried 15.  So, in EFG% Buffalo had 52% and BG shot 48%.  Made FTs were even for the game so the made 3s were the difference.

Overall, UB scored 1.07 points per possession.  As noted in my preview, that's actually below the 1.12 they have been getting.  Meanwhile, BG scored 1.04, which is well above the .93 that Buffalo had been allowing in their previous 5 games.

Turnovers were pretty even and 2 of BG's came in about 1 second at the end of the game.  Perhaps the most impressive stat is the rebounding.  Buffalo had been owning the boards on both ends of the court, but BG held them well below their average on the offensive boards and actually had a good game on their own offensive boards--both without Richaun Holmes for most of the game.  (To be fair, Justin Moss only played 21 minutes as well due to fouls).

Buffalo got to the line more, as they usually do.  However (and this was critical to keeping BG in the game), they only made 57% and BG made 70%.  In the end, made FTs were even.
Individually, you can't talk about this game without talking about Justin Moss.  He played 21 minutes due to fouls.  He scored 19 points on 6 of 9 shooting and had 9 rebounds in those 21 minutes.  That's your MAC POY and he is an absolute beast.

Also, you need to talk about Josh Gomez.  Gomez is a big guy but saw virtually no action for much of the year.  When he did, it was hard to see him do anything impressive.  He was behind Mayleben on the depth chart.  Then, a few games ago, he started to make little contributions in limited minutes spelling Holmes.

Well, clearly he needed to contribute Friday.  He played 20 minutes....scored 8 points on 4 of 7 shooting and had 8 rebounds.  Without that contribution, we're not talking about this as a close game.

Jehvon Clarke had a monster game for the Falcons.  He scored 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting and 2 of 3 from 3FG to go with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals...and 5 TOs, to be fair.  Still, that's a senior picking up his game with Holmes out.

Anthony Henderson scored 19 on 6 of 9 shooting and making all 5 of his 3FGs and had 5 rebounds.  David Joseph, who has been struggling to score, had 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting and 4 of those points came in the final minute.  Also, 4 assists over 2 rebounds.  

Amazingly, with Holmes out Gomez played 20 minutes and Dickerson only played 13 minutes.  Moss's foul problems helped with that, but BG ran a small lineup out there and our guards kept us in the game and nearly won it.

Falcon Men Heartbroken Again

That was some week of March basketball.  Sadly, though it came soooo close to being otherwise, it ended up with 2 BG defeats and a #5 finish.

And while everyone is disappointed not to have gotten a bye, and while the trip to a MAC Title is much, much harder than if one of those games had turned up a win, you have to have some perspective.

If you had told me on the day Chris Jans was hired that this would be the result he got out of that team, I would have taken it all day long.  As heartbreaking as each of these two losses were, they should not detract from a great effort by our boys this year.  And in time they won't.

In the same vein, if you had told me at tip off yesterday that BG would play without an injured Richaun Holmes for 24 minutes and still lead the game inside of :30 left to play, I would have told you that was not possible.

Yet, that is exactly what happened.  Without their star player, their BG player, BG battled a very hot Buffalo team in front of a capacity crowd until the very last second.  I feel so badly for our seniors.  They were THAT CLOSE to capping off what has been a frustrating career with a signature win they could have talked about for the rest of their lives.  They left nothing on the court, put everything they had to it and played heroically.  In the end, it was just one basket short.

I'm 100% proud of the season.  That was an incredible effort by the Falcons and I'm proud of them.

Check this out.

That right there is an example of what makes basketball such a great game. That's more than 20 minutes of nail-biting action on each and every possession.  Two teams, right on top of each other, slugging it out in front of a huge crowd with a lot on the line.  It was as good as it gets from an entertainment standpoint and would have only been made better with one more basket or one more stop.

It is hard to remember after all that that BG led by 11 points when Holmes went out and actually led by 14 a couple seconds later.  UB went on a scorching, 3-fueled 15-1 run to tie the game by the half.  It would have been easy for BG to check out at that point, especially because at some point they had to know that Holmes was out.  Instead, after closing the half out like that, BG settled in to trade punches and competed the whole way.

With 1:30 left, Buffalo went up 1 on a Moss and-one.  Spencer Parker was fouled and split the pair to tie the game.  BG then got a stop on a turnover and Pep Joseph drove to the basket and scored to put BG up 2 with :52 left.  Buffalo has a great offensive team, and Will Regan was shooting out of his mind last night and he nailed a 3 with :38 left to put the Bulls back up by 1--very similar to the dagger 3 Kent hit on Tuesday.

Even with that, BG came down the court and Joseph got another layup to put BG back up by 1 with :26 to play.  The Bulls were playing at a high level too, and their FR PG Lamonte Bearden hit a shot to put Buffalo back up 1.  BG came down the floor and Anthony Henderson was fouled with :08 left.  BG was still in the 1 and 1, and Henderson missed the FT.  BG had to foul and Moss made 1 of 2 of the FTs.

BG will down 2, came down, Clarke had the ball and Buffalo guarded him with Moss to keep Clarke from launching a 3.  Clarke dribbled the ball off Moss' foot and it went OB.  There were fractions of seconds left and a crazy set of inbound passes occurred, resulting in nothing and UB had the win.

Again, an incredible game and a great effort by the Falcons.  To understand how heartbreaking...if whatever minute thing would have had to happen for BG to win had happened, BG would have finished #2 and had a bye UNTIL FRIDAY and been two wins from the NCAA tournament.  Now, they need 5 wins in 6 days.

They were so close and it was a second crushing, heartbreaking defeat in the same week...what a week.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Regular Season Finale: Bulls Preview

And it has come to this.  You know all the scenarios, but there is only one contingency that really matters.  If BG wins tomorrow they will play in Cleveland no earlier than Thursday.  If they lose tomorrow, it is Ball State at the Stroh on Monday and a need to win 5 straight games in 6 days to break the non-tournament streak.

Buffalo is a very good team that is playing well.  They are 20-9 and 11-6.  They have an RPI of 40, but are not on the bubble because their best win is over Kent State.  Yes, they played some tough games against top teams, but that doesn't equal high profile wins.  I don't think its fair--seems like the #10 conference should have 2 bids, but we have this discussion every year.  If you want to get to the tourney in the MAC, you have to win the tournament.

Buffalo is hot.  Since losing at home to CMU, they have won 5 straight.  They won @EMU, @BG (by 12), Akron, @Kent and OU.  With 5 straight and 3 on the road and a war crimes style whipping on OU, they come into the game at their place flying high and should have a big crowd

Before that, they were pretty inconsistent.  They were 5-6, winning here and there.  So, they are either an inconsistent team who found their rhythm or an inconsistent team waiting to fall back.

Rather than our normal preview, I thought I would take a look at Buffalo during the back season but before they won 5 straight and then what they have done while they have been winning 5 straight.

This chart goes a long way to figuring it out.  Offensively, Buffalo has not gotten more efficient during their winning streak.  They have been very hot from 3, but it has not resulted in more points per possession.  Do note, however, that 1.12 points per possession is scoring at a very high level so it might be more accurate to say that Buffalo has sustained their efficient scoring during the winning streak. That's 34th in the country now, so there wasn't room for it to go much higher.

The real difference has been on the other side of the ball.  Before, UB was playing sub-par defense and since then they have been playing outstanding defense.  That .93 was what BG's was early in the year when they were playing what everyone considered to be really good defense. If you could sustain that for a season, it would be a top 20 defense nationally.

Breaking those two elements down, you can see here that Buffalo is even consistent in the four factors on offense.  The only difference has been a slight uptick in FT rate...and Buffalo gets to the line a lot and they make 73% when they get there.

Here's where the difference came from.  Teams before were making shots at a high rate against Buffalo and now they aren't, and teams before were getting an above average number of offensive rebounds and now they are getting well below average.  When you force misses and control the glass, while having decent turnover rates and keeping teams off the line, that's a prescription for a top-20 defense.

So, what does that mean for the game?

First, to all the stats dudes out there, I know we are dealing with a small sample, especially with the five games and one of them being a war crime committed against OU. It is unlikely Buffalo can sustain a move from a below average defense to a top-20 defense.  Some regression to the mean is certainly possible, but not guaranteed.  If it did happen Friday, all of us in orange would be all the happier.

This is a really tough assignment.  To win, BG is going to have to play the kind of defense they were playing earlier in the season while finding a way to solve the Buffalo defense.  BG has allowed more than 1 point per possession in 6 of the last 8 games while allowing it only 5 times in the previous 20.  That's a trend that needs to be fixed or regress to the mean or whatever.

I'd like to see more balls inside to Holmes, as we did against Kent, and BG simply must make shots from 3FG to compete with Buffalo.

The final battle will be on the boards.  Buffalo's effective rebounding is evident on both sides of the ball.  BG must compete on the boards, something that is tough when your second big is Spencer Parker.

Anyway, BG has come up with big performances this year and they need to do it again on Friday. If so, then lots of things pop up in their favor.  If not, we will see everyone Monday at the Stroh.

Jehvon Clarke from Waaaaaaaaay Downtown

OK.  One more thing from the Kent game.  BOOM.

Final Look at Kent

A final look at the stats from last night's heartbreaker.

We have already noted that it was Kent's best 3FG shooting game and the best 3FG shooting against BG all season.  It wasn't the only superlative.  Kent scored 1.3 points per possession, by far the most allowed by BG and scored by Kent all season.  Kent had an effective FG% of 66% which is also the best against a BG team this year and their best this year.  Beyond the shooting, Kent also took really good care of the ball.  They didn't do much on the offensive boards and BG did a good job of keeping them off the FT line, though they shot much better than normal from the line, making 12 of 15 for 80%...their 4th best game of the year.

BG obviously also had a strong offensive game, at 1.29 points per possession.  (The game was played at 62 possessions, a pretty slow pace).  It was kind of a landmark in that respect.  It was BG's 3rd best offensive game of the year and BY FAR the best offensive performance that has not resulted in a victory.  Previous to this, they were undefeated over .97 points per possession.

BG shot pretty well....48% and 40%, combined with taking excellent care of the ball and having a strong game on the offensive boards.  Everything about BG's offense was good enough to win, except in this game Kent's shooting advantage meant that it wasn't enough to win.

Individually, Richaun Holmes had a career night on Senior Night.  He scored 29 points on 11 of 20 shooting, 3 of 5 on 3FGs, 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.  Jehvon Clarke had 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting.  Pep Joseph scored for the first time in quite a while, with 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting with 4 assists and no turnovers and Delvin Dickerson scored 10 on 5 of 9 shooting.

So, that's the story.  Just an incredible way to lose all around in such a big game.  It is now over.  BG has put themselves in a big hole.  With a big win Friday, they can still get a bye and even finish first or second.  It will be tough.  Buffalo is playing well and I'd expect a loud sell-out.  But, you never know.  BG has played better on the road.  Maybe they can put together a truly great win in Buffalo.  I will be watching eagerly and in admiration for what they have done this year, even if it has not been an unqualified success.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Bull Run with Friday's Permutations...

CMU @ WMU EMU @ UT BG @ UB KSU @ UA Double checked? #1 Seed #2 Seed #3 Seed #4 Seed #5 Seed Notes and explanation
CMU 13-5 Toledo 12-6 UB 12-6, BG 11-7 Kent 12-6 Y CMU UB Kent Toledo BG UB-Kent-Toledo: UB 2-1, Kent 2-1, UT 1-2 H2H2H. Then UB 2-0 vs Kent 0-2 H2H
CMU 13-5 Toledo 12-6 UB 12-6, BG 11-7 (Akron) Kent 11-7 Y CMU UT UB Kent BG UT H2H over UB; Kent vs BG 1-1 H2H, both 1-0 vs CMU, Kent 2-0 vs UT, BG 0-1.
CMU 13-5 Toledo 12-6 BG 12-6, UB 11-7 Kent 12-6 Y CMU Kent Toledo BG UB Kent-BG-Toledo: Kent 3-1, BG 1-2, UT 1-2; Toledo H2H over BG
CMU 13-5 Toledo 12-6 BG 12-6, UB 11-7 (Akron) Kent 11-7 Y CMU Toledo BG UB Kent Toledo H2H over BG; UB H2H Kent
CMU 13-5 EMU (UT 11-7) UB 12-6, BG 11-7 Kent 12-6 Y CMU UB Kent Toledo BG UB over Kent H2H; Toledo over BG H2H
CMU 13-5 EMU (UT 11-7) UB 12-6, BG 11-7 (Akron) Kent 11-7 Y CMU UB Kent Toledo BG See Kent-BG-UT tie above
CMU 13-5 EMU (UT 11-7) BG 12-6, UB 11-7 Kent 12-6 Y CMU Kent BG Toledo UB See Kent over BG above; Toledo H2H over Buffalo
CMU 13-5 EMU (UT 11-7) BG 12-6, UB 11-7 (Akron) Kent 11-7 Y CMU BG UB Kent Toledo See top row for UB - Kent - UT three-way.
(WMU) (CMU 12-6) Toledo 12-6 UB 12-6, BG 11-7 Kent 12-6 Y CMU Kent UB UT BG UB 2-3, CMU 4-1, UT 1-4, Kent 3-2 H2H2H2H
(WMU) (CMU 12-6) Toledo 12-6 UB 12-6, BG 11-7 (Akron) Kent 11-7 Y CMU UT UB Kent BG CMU-UT-UB: CMU 4-0, UT 1-2, UB 0-3 H2H2H; Kent over BG see above
(WMU) (CMU 12-6) Toledo 12-6 BG 12-6, UB 11-7 Kent 12-6 Y Kent BG CMU UT UB CMU 2-2, Toledo 1-4, BG 2-2, Kent 4-1 H2H2H2H; BG H2H over CMU
(WMU) (CMU 12-6) Toledo 12-6 BG 12-6, UB 11-7 (Akron) Kent 11-7 Y CMU BG UT UB Kent CMU 2-1, BG 1-1, UT 1-2 H2H2H; UB H2H Kent
(WMU) (CMU 12-6) EMU (UT 11-7) UB 12-6, BG 11-7 Kent 12-6 Y CMU UB Kent UT BG CMU 2-1, UB 2-2, Kent 1-2 H2H2H; Toledo H2H over BG
(WMU) (CMU 12-6) EMU (UT 11-7) UB 12-6, BG 11-7 (Akron) Kent 11-7 Y CMU UB Kent UT BG CMU H2H UB; Kent-BG-UT see above; Toledo H2H over BG
(WMU) (CMU 12-6) EMU (UT 11-7) BG 12-6, UB 11-7 Kent 12-6 Y Kent BG CMU UT UB Kent and BG 2-1, CMU 1-2 H2H2H; Kent over BG see above (maybe division record matters here?); UT H2H UB
(WMU) (CMU 12-6) EMU (UT 11-7) BG 12-6, UB 11-7 (Akron) Kent 11-7 Y BG CMU UB Kent Toledo BG H2H over CMU; UB 2-1, Kent 2-2, UT 1-2 H2H2H here, courtesy of our friends over at Bull Run, is a comprehensive table of how the final day of the MAC season can roll out.  This is awesome and a lot of mind numbing work.  By the way, they will be updating and "greying out" possibilities as they are eliminated on Friday night, so you can click this link and follow along.

First, the ultimate thing is this.  If BG loses @Buffalo....and they have to be considered significant underdogs going in...they will get the 5th seed and play Ball State on Monday at the Stroh.  That part is 100% certain.

If BG wins, they could still finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th and are guaranteed a bye. Further, there are more ways for them to finish 1-2 than 3-4.

You can see what has to happen above.  If you are talking finishing #1 and winning the regular season, you can see on that bottom line how that happens.  None are completely impossible, but all would be upsets.

As for a #2, there are ways for that to happen with any team winning or losing, just depending on the combination, which you can see above.

It is interesting to see.  Honestly, I think BG will be thrilled to beat Buffalo--a very tough assignment--and less worried about which seed it is, but certainly a top-2 seed would be huge.  All the games will be going on at roughly the same time, so that will heighten the drama for sure.