Thursday, November 30, 2017

Falcon MBB get sixth win

The Falcon MBB moved to 6-2 last night with a very entertaining win over San Jose State at the Stroh, with BG pulling away in the last 2 minutes to win by 6.

Last year's sixth win came on December 30.

One thing about this team.  They are fun to watch.  For all the years that we watched teams for BG be unable to score baskets for eras at a time, this team has five guys who can legit score and maybe more.  It is much more entertaining and less frustrating.

The thing that isn't great about this team is that they don't play defense all the time.  And when they don't, they play awful defense...they just get shredded with penetration and ball movement every time.  BG had a 19 point lead 4 minutes into the second half and a 3-point lead with 12:30 left.  That 3 and a half minutes was characterized by the Spartans have nothing but layups and very open 3-looks from a chasing BG defense.  It was just completely one-sided.

San Jose State never took the lead, but they did get it to 2 as last as inside 2 minutes.  Caldwell missed a three, but Derek Koch battled on the boards and got fouled on the way back up and made both of his FTs.  San Jose State had the ball then and finally missed a shot, but got the offensive board and a foul.  They missed both FTs and BG had a chance to put it away.  Less than a minute now, Frye missed a 3 but Wiggins got the board and was fouled and he split the pair.  BG up 5, the Spartans chipped it back to 3 inside of :30, but Caldwell was fouled and made both FTs and BG was back up 5 and then Wellage stepped on the sideline on the other end and BG had the win.

Note that while BG got abused on the boards for the night, they had two key offensive rebounds in the last minute to help put the game away.

It is nice to win close games, but as Coach said after the game, it would be nice to turn a 14 point lead into a 20 point lead and not into a 1 point lead.

BG scored 1.13 points per possession, which is their sixth straight game over 1.1.  The D1 average is 1.03.  Last year they were over 1.1 five times for the whole year.  San Jose State scored 1.05 PPP and made 43% of their 3FGs, and we had identified their lack of success in doing that so far this year.

This is the second straight win for BG when they have been outshot by their opponents (if only by a little).  They made it up in two places.  First, BG did much better taking care of the ball and had 9 steals.  Second, BG got to the line more and when they did they were much more effective.  BG shot 23 of 28 from the line while SJSU was 14-23.  All that counterbalanced the rebounding, which was ridiculously in San Jose State's favor on both ends.  We had noted that rebounding was a priority for their new coach.

78 of BG's 85 points came from the starters.  Justin Turner had a big game, scoring 27 points on 8 of 17 and 5 of 7 3FG shooting to go with 6-6 from the line, 3 assists and 1 turnover.  Wiggins also had a huge night, with a 17/12 line.  He shot 6 of 12 from the field and 5 of 7 from the line.  He also had 4 steals.

Derek Koch had 14 on 4 of 8 shooting.  Caldwell scored a tough 11 on 3 of 9 shooting but had 5 assists over 1 turnover and Dylan Frye had a tough 9 on 2 of 10 shooting but added 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

Trivia.  Kenpom ranks San Jose as the second tallest team in the country.

So, BG is up to 6-2.  Next up is 0-7 Norfolk State.  They lost to Kent by 9 last night in Virginia and last year actually led BG by 7 in the second half at the Stroh.  If you get a chance, check out Coach's comments about a lack of defensive energy from last December.  Kind of interesting.

By my count, Antwon Lillard should be back on the court.  It will be interesting to see how he will be introduced into the mix, given the current team chemistry.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Two More Football Players Announce Departure

Using twitter, two more Falcons have announced their intention to "re-open" their recruiting.

One of them has seen some playing time.  Terrance Stephens, a RB from Pittsburgh.  He was a true sophomore who played in 20 games over the past two years.  He played in 20 games over his years at BG, running the ball and catching some passes and returning some kicks.  As someone who didn't redshirt, he's a natural candidate to use his redshirt year for the transfer and then play two more years.

The other is Jared Wyatt, who was a R-FR.  He is from Texas and a WR who caught four passes in the Northwestern game.  He didn't catch another pass all year.

Both players were Jinks recruits, which is not a good sign.    Correction, Wyatt was a Jinks recruit and Stephens committed under Babers and stayed when Jinks came on board.

That makes it four players who have announced they were leaving on social media.  We will keep an eye on it.

Meanwhile, Coach has an opportunity to expand this recruiting class.  In the meantime, though, things aren't getting any better.

All-MAC teams announced, 6 Falcons honored

So, the All-MAC teams are out and BG had 6 players honored, which is more than the 0-3 fans were voting for in John Wagner's twitter poll.

Joe Davidson was named first-team punter, and that's certainly deserved.  He's a truly outstanding player.

Teo Redding made the second team.  Frankly, this surprised me a little.  He was 6th in receptions and reception yards, and I guess he gets a little bump for being on the highlight reels as often as he was and for much of the MAC season we weren't a high volume passing team.  Congrats to him, he really worked to break out this year.

Jake Suder was also second-team at K.  This is a great story.  He had one of the best years a kicker ever had for BG.  He was 18-22, with two of the misses over 50.  He took some heat last year, but you have to give this young man credit, he has worked on his craft and earned his stripes.

On the third team there was Scottie Miller, who had kind of a quiet year for having 63 catches--and seemed to have some chemistry with Doege.  Also, Andrew Clair, one of the best true freshmen RBs in the country and Nate Locke, who played very effectively in the middle of a beleaguered BG defense.

Honestly, for this team, that's pretty much what you can expect.  There were some other guys who were effective, (Cleveland comes to mind) but you are a 2-10 team.

Marcus Childers was the FR of the year.  Obviously, you'd like to think that Clair was equally qualified, but Childer is a QB and played a big role in NIU exceeding expectations.  He was also a true freshman.

I think Davidson should have been the special teams player of the year, but don't object to Darius Phillips of WMU getting it.  He was a big return guy and makes dramatic plays, as opposed to punting, which is boring.

I certainly endorse Jason Candle, Logan Woodside and Sutton Smith for their awards.  All truly gave outstanding performances.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

BG has second QB leave program

Elijah Cunningham has now left the football program, as announced by him on Twitter.  He joins James Morgan in announcing their transfer.  No idea how many of these there are going to be--the rumor mill is hot--but we will find out in the end.  Social media makes this a little harder for the University, when they had a better ability to control this information, sometimes until the next roster came out.

He was a Babers recruit who stuck with BG when the coaches changed.  In fact, one of the first things--if not the very first thing--the Jinks crew did was make a mass visit to Cunningham.  He was a 2-star recruit coming in and never took a snap for BG.  He was no higher than #4 this year, even with the turmoil at QB.

Anyway, all the best to Elijah on the road of life.  Go get 'em.

One last note for our program.  Coach Jinks had imagined this to be a smaller class.  I am wondering how much that is changing as scholarships open up.  We didn't have a huge senior class, but he may have more to give than he expected.

San Jose Preview

So, next up is the San Jose State Spartans....this, actually, is the second of three times in 8 days that BG will play a team known as the Spartans, which is a school record.  (A fact I made up right now.)

BG played out there last year so Ish Ali could play near family and BG lost by one point.  Since then, the program had a serious issue when their Coach resigned for family reasons over the summer and they were forced to make a change at a difficult time.  They hired former Colorado assistant Jean Prioleaou, who sounds like a guy who played for the Habs.

Then, in August, their top player Brandon Clarke, announced he was transferring to Gonzaga.  Clarke was all-MWC first team and defensive team last season.

They are not off to a great start.  They were picked to finish 9th in the MWC, and are 2-3 so far.  That's a win over Antelope Valley and #321 Idaho State, with losses to San Diego (153), @Southern Utah (329) and St. Mary's (35).  Right now, their kenpom is 302.

This is a team that is really struggling to score.  That .95 ppp you see below is among the 30 worst in the country so far.  BG's defense has certainly been suspect as well, ranked #220.  (The average ppp so far in D1 games in 1.03.)  Flipping this around, BG is below average on offense (not that the Lake Erie game is not included here) but San Jose State's defense is almost exactly where BG's is.

There's no huge surprise why they struggle to score.  They rank #299 in shooting % and #328 (out of 351) in turnovers.  When you give the ball away and shoot poorly, it is very hard to score.  They are focused on 2FGs...only 4 teams have taken fewer 3s as a % of overall shots.  They make only 46% of them, which is like an extreme Louis Orr set up.  Now, they have made rebounding a priority (according to Blue Ribbon) and it is much improved.  That's a strong offensive rebounding number and when you get the boards, you usually get to the line.  They only shoot 69% from the line, which is slightly below average.

With this flipped around, we see that they aren't that good on defense either.  They allow 53% shooting on their 2 FGs and don't force very many turnovers.  They are 2nd in the nation on their own defensive boards and teams don't get to the line very much against them, so those things work in their favor.  BG has taken excellent care of the ball this year, so you'd expect that to continue.  The lack of turnovers and the strong defensive rebounding would indicate a packed-in defense, but teams are only making 36% of their 3FGs against San Jose State, which is slightly above average.

They have a really quality F in Ryan Welage.  He's 6'9" and a junior, and is scoring 19.6 per game on 54% shooting and 81% from the FT line to go with 4.6 RPG.  Jaycee Hillsman is a 6'6" JR who is actually symptomatic of the problem, scoring 10.8 PPG on 39% shooting.  Those are their only two double figure scorers.  Isaiah Nichols is actually their leading rebounds, and he's 6'5".  He also leads them with a little over 3 assists per game.

They do have some height, with 3 guys over 6'10", but none of them get really significant minutes.

They don't have any players from Northwest Ohio, but they do have multiple players from Indiana and Illinois, so I'd expect some family members there Wednesday, which can adjust the dynamic.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Morgan to Leave Falcon program

From John Wagner of the Blade, here's some news that can hardly be unexpected.  James Morgan will be transferring away from BG.  Clearly, he can see the writing on the wall and there's a QB in the next class, so I think he wants to find somewhere to play for his last two years.  We wish him well.  It was a tough situation with the coaching change.  He was highly recruited and just never got over the hump here.  Hope he has a great career, finishes his education and has a highly successful life.

Caldwell MAC East Player of the Week

Congrats to Rodrick Caldwell, the very deserving winner of the MAC East Player of the Week.  Here's what he racked up this week.

From the BGSU Website:

The Dayton, Ohio native led the Falcons to a 3-1 record last week. For the week, Caldwell averaged 20.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.5 rebounds. He shot 52.1 percent (25-of-48) from the field, an absurd 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from downtown, and 70.8 percent (17-of-24) from the free throw line.

Caldwell capped his week with consecutive 20-plus point games, setting his career high in points in both contests. Caldwell started the week with 18 points, and a career-high eight assists in a win over Lake Erie. He then racked up 18 points and seven assists in a victory over USC Upstate, before posting 20 points, five assists, and three rebounds in a win at Campbell.

In Sunday's game versus Abilene Christian, Caldwell scored a career-high 25 points, tied his career high with six rebounds, while also dishing out four assists. Caldwell hit a career-high six triples versus Abilene Christian, as he went 6-for-9 from downtown.

He had a great week and I know Coach was encouraging him not to leave it down there. Looking forward to the next chapter.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Falcon MBB lose to Abilene Christian

Well, the sweep in the Creek was not to be, as BG lost to Abilene Christian 88-83 to round out the event.  Still, a 2-1 weekend is good for the Falcons.  Very tough for a team this young to win three games in a row, much less three on consecutive days.  As I have said before, there's a lot to learn about this team as they face more difficult competition, but 5-2 is an excellent way to start.

The first 10 minutes were competitive, with ACU leading 19-18.  The Wildcats went on a 9-0 run to go up 10 and they maintained a comfortable lead until the final 2 minutes of the half when BG got it down to 4 before ACU got 2 straight hoops to be up 8 at the half.

They were still up 8 about six minutes into the second half, BG went on a 6-0 run to get it to 2.  BG then tied the game on a Koch layup and then Nelly Cummings hit a 3 and BG had its first lead of the second half with 10:30 left.  The next 7 minutes were highly competitive, with lead changes and tie scores.  ACU finally went up 6 just inside 3 minutes left.

With 2 minutes left, Clutch Caldwell hit a 3FG to get the lead to 3 and BG got a stop and had a chance to tie the game but Frye missed his 3FG.  After a foul, ACU split the FTs to go up 4.  Caldwell hit a layup to make the deficit 2 with :34 left.  BG really needed a stop, but the Wildcats got loose and Jalone Friday dunked one home with :28 to put the Cats up 4 again.  Caldwell raced down and with :23 left nailed a trey.

Still BG had to foul and ACU made both their FTs to go back up 3.  Caldwell missed a shot in the paint, ACU rebounded and made both of the next set of FTs and that was the margin of victory.

So, you win 2 and you're still alive in the last minute of the third game.  You can't complain too much about that.  Coach noted after the game that this is a learning experience for the Falcons, pointing out that teams that win the MAC tournament have to win on consecutive days.  He said that BG's issue is mental toughness, not the physical part, and that the young team needs to improve.

The other notable thing from the post-game is that BG played a 2-3 zone, which Coach said is in our normal package...and he had seen USC-Upstate use a zone against ACU, so he thought it might work.  His view was it worked for a while, but the Wildcats figured it out.  (My note.  It is a tough thing to go to once in a while.  Upstate plays it all the time, so they are proficient at it.)

Coach also identified the key issue.  BG played terrible defense.  ACU scored 1.25 points per possession, which was slightly better than Lake Erie had against us.  BG had an excellent offensive game at 1.17 points per possession, their best non-Lake-Erie game of the year.  As Coach said, it is just tough to win when you never get any stops.

As you can see, ACU outshot BG significantly.  BG was able to even things out (almost) with a much better day on the offensive boards and a good day getting to the line, making 68% of their FTs and ending up +1 at the line.

Rodrick Caldwell had what Coach called a "coming out party" in NC.  Now, the challenge, he said, is not to leave it there.  He scored 25 on 9/16 and 6 of 9 shooting, to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists over 2 turnovers.  Dylan Frye had 12 points, going 6 of 12 from the field overall but 0-4 from beyond the arc.  Justin Turner scored a tough 12, on 3 of 14 and 0 of 3 shooting.  Coach said his ankle continues to bother him.

Wiggins battled foul trouble and had 9 points in only 16 minutes.  Koch had 7 rebounds and Plowden scored 8 with 5 rebounds off the bench.  Cummings had 7 points.

Next up is San Jose State, a team that is off to an awful start.  Love to see BG get right back on the winning side at the Stroh on Wednesday.

Final Past and Future Opponent Land

Michigan State (9-3)  Beat Rutgers
South Dakota (8-4) On the road, beat Nicholls State in FCS playoffs.
Northwestern (9-3) Beat Illinois
Middle Tennessee (6-6) Bowl eligible, beat Old Dominion
Akron (7-5)  Beat Kent, will play for MAC title
Miami (5-7) Beat Ball State
Ohio (8-4) Lost to Buffalo.  Solich must hate November.
NIU (8-4)  Lost to CMU
Kent (2-10) Lost to Akron
UB (6-6) Beat OU, bowl eligible, though this year there are more teams than needed.  They wait
Toledo (10-2) Beat WMU


FBS:  11-26
P5:  4-17
FCS:  10-1

West vs. East.  11-7 West

Record of teams that BG beat:  7-17
Record of teams that beat BG:  76-42
Eastern was the only team with a losing record to beat BG
Coach Jinks has beaten only one team that finished with a winning record:  North Dakota

Abilene Christian Preview

BG rounds out the Creek event in North Carolina with Abilene Christian.  The Wildcats play in the Southland Conference and this is their first year as a full-fledged D1 school.  They were on a four-year probationary period prior to this.  They were 13-16 last year and finished tied for 8th in their conference, which is the 28th ranked conference out of 32.

Kenpom has picked them to finish 9th in the conference.  They return 9 of their top 10 players from that team.

They are 1-1 at the Creek.  That includes beating host Campbell in OT and then losing to USC-Upstate.  Overall, they are 3-3.  The Campbell win is their only D1 win, the other two are non-D1 wins.  They have lost to Lipscomb and Arkansas State in addition to USC-Upstate.

They are the first team in D1 basketball in alphabetical order.

Do you know who went to Abilene Christian?  Clint Longley.  You're an old dude like me if you know who Clint Longley was.   You know who you are.

An interesting thing to watch with this game is Jalone Friday.  Jalone actually signed to BG under Chris Jans and then took his talents to Abilene when Jans left BG.  He was the freshman of the year in the Southland Conference as a redshirt freshman.

As far as a profile goes, they average only 1 point per possession, which is well below average.  They are an excellent shooting team, especially on 2 FGs and they don't take a lot of 3s.  They are right on the national average for turnovers, but they are very poor on the offensive boards and in getting to the line, though they are the #6 team to date on the FT line in the country.

The allow 1.09 points per possession, which is 293rd in the country.  They are easy to shoot on....334th in the country overall.  That extends to poor coverage of 3s and outright bad coverage of 2s.  They also foul a lot, but they do force some turnovers and do a good job on their own defensive boards.  Those shooting numbers are just tough to overcome.

They have four players scoring in double figures.  Jaren Lewis (6'6" Jr) is scoring 15.2 PPG on 65% shooting to go with 6.8 RPG and 81% FT shooting.  Tevin Foster also scores 15 PPG on 54% shooting.  Friday (6'9" r-Fr) is scoring 14.5 PPG on 45% shooting and 42% from 3FG.  Their PG Jaylen Franklin is scoring 10 PPG on 64% shooting as well as 5 assists per game.

BG has struggled with teams that effectively attack the basket, so that will be an issue.  They will need to tighten that up.  Having said that, they should be able to score on the other end.  This is a game BG should win, making it 4 in one week.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

BG MBB Beats Campbell, Wins Second Creek Game

So, the Falcons are now 5-1 on the young season, their best start since 2014-15.  There's still a lot to be learned about this team, but they are winning the games on their schedule and it's very pleasing.

This game was a road win over Campbell, on their home court, the second game of the Creek Classic.  The big note here is the Campbell's high-scoring G Chris Clemons, who has been battling injury but played on Friday, did not play in this one.

BG controlled the game much of the way.  Campbell got out to a 10-4 lead, but BG went on unusually strong start to lead 26-13 with about 11 minutes to go in the half.  From there the lead stayed pretty stable, with BG leading by as much as 16 several times and heading into the locker room at +14.

Campbell came out of the locker room like a team facing two straight home losses at their own tournament and scored the first 10 points.  With about 3 minutes gone in the half, BG was up 4 and they still managed to hold that lead until Campbell took a 1-point lead with 6:16 left. 

The game then went through a two minute period where neither team scored, a streak that was broken when Rodrick Caldwell nailed a 3 with 4:21 to put BG in the lead---a lead that would never surrender.  In fact, it was never a one-possession game and BG made 6 FTs in the last minutes (out of 6, 4 by Caldwell) to put the game away.

Caldwell had his second big game at the event.  He scored 20 on 5 of 9 shooting and 9 of 10 from the line, to go with 5 assists over 2 turnovers.  Wiggins had 14 on 4 of 7 shooting to go with 7 rebounds, Frye added 14 6/14 and 2/4 shooting, plus 5 rebounds.  Nelly Cummings added 10 on highly efficient 4/6 and 2/3 shooting.  Koch had 6 rebounds.

It was BG's slowest tempo of the year at 68 possessions.  Nonetheless, BG had 1.15 points per possession, just slightly ahead of what they did the night before.  Campbell had 1.06, which represents a slightly below average defensive night for the Falcons, based on the D1 average. 

BG was actually outshot in this game.  However, they evened things out in two places.  First, they were dominant on the boards on both ends, creating and preventing extra possessions at the same time.  And, BG made 18 out of its 20 FTs, for a +4 advantage at the free throw line.  Those two factors made up for a slight difference in shooting.

BG goes for the sweep on Sunday at 1 against Abilene Christian, who beat Campbell but lost to USC-Upstate.

Campbell Preview

So, next BG is scheduled to play the home team at this event, the Campbell Camels.  Campbell finished 7th last year in the Big South but also ended up 19-18 with a run to the finals of the conference tourney and made the CIT and won two games in the tourney.  They return 4 of 5 starters from last year, won 6 of their last 8 games and are picked to finish 5th this year by kenpom.

According to Blue Ribbon, there is a misconception that Campbell plays automated Princeton style ball which is considered not to be true, but honestly, there has to be some truth to it.

Campbell is located in Buies Creek, North Carolina.  They count Cy Young award winner Jim Perry as an alumnus.

They are off to a 2-3 start.  Most notably, they lost the opening game of this tournament to Abilene Christian, 85-80 in overtime.  Remember, this is a home game for Campbell.  They have yet to win a D1 game, while they have their other losses to Penn State and UNC-Wilmington.

The headline for this team is Chris Clemons.  The young man is a scoring machine.  Last year, he ranked 2nd in the country in scoring (25.1), field goals made (301) and attempted (673) and 3-pointers attempted (332), 6th in 3-pointers made (118), 12th in 3-point FG/game (3.28), 16th in steals (70) and free throws made (184), 23rd in free throw attempts (223), 36th in steals per game (1.94).

He's a junior and a little guy at 5'9".  He actually entered the NBA draft process last year before returning to Campbell for this season.  He dropped 39 on Penn State earlier this year.

Now, he was injured in the UNCW game and DNP Monday against Johnson & Wales (Providence, RI, alums include Emeril Legasse) but he was back in the lineup last night against Abilene. He may not have been at full strength, scoring 16 points and struggling to shoot.  He is still averaging 24.8 per game (on 40% shooting), 5 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

They are also getting big scoring from Marcus Burk, a 6'3" SO who scored 8 a game last year but is scoring 18 this on 63% shooting in only 25 minutes.  He's shooting 50% from 3FG and has hung 30 up twice.

They have another injury, which is the 6'8 Jr Spainaird, who has only played two games this year (Jon Ander Cuadra).

They are scoring 1.026 PPP this year, which is slightly lower than the D1 average to date this year.  They shoot 40% of their FGs from 3FG, which is above average as well.  They make 52% of their 2FGs and 36% on 3FG, which are all about 2 points above the national average.  They take good care of the ball and get to the line decently, with their only weakness on offense being 308th ranked offensive rebounding.

They have struggled on defense.  They allow1.07 PPP.  They are weak on defending the shot and they are weak on the defensive boards.  They do force some turnovers, but they also give up a lot of free throws.

Anyway, after the loss last night, this is a tough one.  If Abilene Christian can beat them, you have to figure BG can too.  I'm sure the Camels aren't interested in losing two straight at home.  BG won their opener...and you'd like to think they could bring this one home.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Falcon MBB Wins #1 at Creek Classic

BG opened the Creek Classic with USC-Upstate, a team you'd like to think you'd beat most of the time on a neutral floor.  Still, BG is young and still finding its way and so you don't know really know what to think.

It was a competitive game most of the way.  BG went on a run in the first half to lead by as much as ten in the last minute and then 9 at the buzzer.  That didn't last, though, as the Spartans rallied and had the lead 7 minutes into the half.  The game was tight for the next 8 minutes and was tied with about 5 minutes left.

There, the show was turned over to Mr. Rodrick Caldwell.  At this point, he had already scored the last 6 BG points, and then he hit a 3FG with 5:19 left to put BG up 3, a 3fg with 2:20 to put BG up 5 and then one at 1:26 to put BG up 8 and put the game out of reach, that one with the shot clock running out.  BG won 83-74.

That makes BG 4-1, the best start in the Huger era.  There have not been really tough tests, but winning is the first step and BG is getting the wins.

It was a 72 possession game, which is somewhere around an average pace for a D1 game.  USC-U did something which has traditionally caused BG huge problems, which is, play a tightly packed in zone defense.  Over recent years, BG has generally not had the outside shooters to attack the zone.  The results were good.  BG scored 1.14 points per possession, which is their second-best total of the season.  The Falcons made 11 of 22 3FGs, which obviously is really good.  BG has made 11 3FGs in two straight games, which is the same total that they had for the whole year last season.

So, that ended up with a pretty good EFG of 56%.  BG combined that with taking good care of the ball to get the offensive efficiency they had.  If you make shots and take care of the ball, you're tough to beat.  BG wasn't great on the offensive boards, but they did an OK job of getting to the line and made 74% of their FT attempts.

FTs were key.  The Spartans got to the line only 8 times, making 7, which means BG was +7 at the free throw line.  BG defended the shot well--which they have, in general, done so far this year.  USC-U also took good care of the ball and was OK on their offensive boards.  Overall, they had 1.02 points per possession, which is an average total.

Demajeo Wiggins and Dylan Frye led BG with 20 points each.  Wiggins was 8 of 13 shooting and added 12 rebounds, and that's simply a really good line.  Frye was 5 of 10 and 5 of 7 from 3FG and made 5 of 6 of his FTs.  Also a really good line.

Rod Caldwell had 18 points, and that was 6 of 10 and 5 of 8 from 3FG.  He also had 7 assists.

Justin Turner was back from injury and put in 36 minutes.  He had 10 on 4 of 12 shooting and 5 rebounds.  Plowden added 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting.

So, a good night for the Falcons.  Could have gone either way, but it did not.  The Falcons did what they have failed to do so often over the past few years, which is bring the hammer in the last 8 minutes and put the opponent away.

Saturday they play the host, Campbell.  More on them a little later.

USC Upstate Preview

First, it is the University of South Carolina Upstate Spartans, and the school is in Spartanburg, SC.

They were 17-16 last year, finishing 5th in the Atlantic Sun Conference.  They were picked to finished #4 this year.  (Atlantic Sun is the same conference Florida Gulf Coast is in.  Last year the conference was ranked #25 out of 32.  They played in the CIT.

USC Upstate is 2-3 so far this year.  They started the season with a 280 kenpom and that's where it is right now.

They lost by 15 to Minnesota and 9 to Georgia...both of which on the road and reasonable losses.  They also lost at home to Charleston Southern, which has a kenpom of 288.  Both of their wins are non D1 wins.

Style-wise, they are a 3FG oriented team.  Over half (54.1%) of their FG attempts have been 3FGs, which is the 4th highest percentage in D1.  They aren't that good at them....just a little bit above average, which explains why they are #237 overall in offensive efficiency in these early days.  They take really good care of the ball but are below average in everything else.  They are 306th in defensive efficiency and are only above average in forcing turnovers.

Their leading scorer is Malik Moore, a 6'6" JR who was a 10/5 guy last year. He's scoring 15 PPG this year to go with 5.6 RPG.  He is shooting only 39%, but that's partly because he is an awful 6 of 26 shooting 3s.  His 2FGS are over 50%.

Maybe their biggest surprise is Jure Span, a 6'4" Jr from Slovenia.  He scored 3.5 last year, but this year he is scoring 14 PPG on 57% shooting and 63% from beyond the arc.  He also averages 3 assists per game.  Even the ever-optimistic Blue Ribbon calls him "defensively challenged."

Mike Cunningham, their returning leading scorer, is a 6'0" and r-Jr.  He is scoring 13.8 on 37% shooting, which is pretty inefficient.  Ramel Thompkins, a 6'7" Sr is scoring 11.8 to go with 8 RPG, but shooting only 41%.

Hard to know what you are getting with these guys and frankly with our guys after the last two games.  Under most ordinary circumstances, this is a game you'd expect to win on a neutral floor.  I'd say two variables are whether BG can defend.  Whether Justin Turner plays will also be a factor.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

EMU Runs Over Falcons

As it turned out, Game 12 was a microcosm of the whole season.  As Coach Jinks said, "we couldn't get out of own way."

BG ends 2-10 and 2-6, which is two games overall worse than last season and one game worse in MAC play.

It was a terrible season.  No home wins.  Loss to South Dakota.  Record number of points given up to Toledo.  It was an awful season.

But more to review on that later.

EMU is a good team and way better than their record.  I love what Chris Creighton has done up there, with very little to work with.  He's built a culture around a program that traditionally has struggled year after year.

The Eagles came into the game ranked #9 in the MAC in yards per carry, but they were coming up against the worst run defense in the MAC.  And BG's run defense again failed the team.  EMU--playing without Roback, who was injured in the first quarter--took to the ground, running the ball 53 times for 266 yards, or 5 yards per carry.  BG's run defense was pretty much non-existent.

I thought Brandon Harris said something interesting after the game, as quoted in The Blade.

“Our struggles to stop the run were from a lack of execution,” said linebacker Brandon Harris, who led the Falcons with 12 tackles. “People weren’t fitting in their gaps. People weren’t doing their jobs, and they did a good job exploiting that.”

To me, that's coaching.  You don't need to have talent to be in the right gap.  But more of that on another day.

The offense had a good day, marred by a couple costly turnovers and a penalty on the Clair run for a TD.  BG ran for 6.7 yards per carry and passed effectively.  Doege is the real deal.  He completed 62% of his passes for 2 TDs and 12.2 yards per completion and one INT.  The idea he can still get better should be very encouraging for Falcon fans.

Michael Wilcox also had a great KOR for a TD called back by a penalty.

More later, but for now a couple last thoughts.  First, from what I see on twitter, there are Falcon fans who have not gotten the memo:  Mike Jinks will be back next year.  There is no doubt.  The larger question is whether there are staff changes made.  You know where I stand on that, but the question is where he stands.

I would caution fans to be patient on that front.  Coach said he was going to evaluate everyone and he has also said that his primary focus is recruiting starting on Sunday for something like 3 straight weeks.  I don't know if he's going to do anything or not, but it's possible it won't be his main focus until after the early signing day.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Falcons MBB has first '18 Verbal

The young man's name is Caleb Fields, and he is from New Jersey.  He's a 6'2" Combo guard who has played both 1 and 2 in his HS career.  He attends Wildwood Catholic.

He made his official visit to BG last weekend, presumably attending the FGCU game, which would have been a good advertisement for the potential there is for the Stroh to be a great place to play.

There's an excellent story here about his commitment from a local paper.

The Press first-team All-Star averaged 17.8 points and 5.5 rebounds and made 43 of his 108 3-point attempts.
Those numbers were for his junior year.  He scored 13.5 per game his sophomore year. 

Looks like somebody who can help us in the MAC.  BG has been working the Philly/Jersey area hard and this young man is looking forward to being a Falcon.  Welcome to the Falcons, Caleb!

Falcon MBB Escapes Ignomy

This is one of those games where you say this....the only worst thing would have been to lose.

Lake Erie College, a DII not well regarded even in their own conference, came into the Stroh last night and gave BG everything it could handle, with the Falcons eventually winning 109-106 in overtime of all things.

The Storm absolutely shredded the BG defense.  It was incredible.  Actually, on a lesser scale you could see the same thing in the South Dakota game.  The Coyotes were able to drive to the rim almost at will, and the same thing happened with Lake Erie.  Once they had the penetration, they did a great job moving the ball, even in tight spaces to find someone who was wide open.

They had a scorching hot shooting game on top of it.  They shot 56% from 3 FG, which is the most BG has allowed since a Kent game in 2015, which was the Chris Jans year.  We've played a lot of good teams in that stretch and no one shot that well another time.

So, part of it was hot shooting.  But part of it, according to Coach Huger, was BG not having defensive intensity and not having regard for the opposition, who came to play.  You could see it.  In overtime, when BG focused, they did manage to get a couple of stops and disrupt the offensive flow.

Look, you can't put too fine a point on this.  BG took at 14 point lead in the 2nd half and you kind of felt like order had been restored but then Lake Erie actually rallied to force OT.  When the clock hit 1:00 in overtime, the Storm was ahead.  Wiggins got a steal that led to a Frye layup and BG was up 1.  The Falcons got a stop and Wiggins grabbed the board and nailed both FTs with :24 left.  And the Storm still had one possession, but BG actually D'd up a little and they only got off a weak 3 which missed and BG had pulled off the win.

Here's the key quote:  "I'm happy that we can learn a lesson in a victory." – Coach Huger

Here you can see what we going on.  It was a 78 possession game.  BG had 1.25 points per possession, which is the most since the UT game last year and LEC had 1.22, a figure that BG eclipsed 6 times last year.  BG also shot really well--the only comparable game last year was the UT game.  BG erased (barely) the Lake Erie shooting by taking much better care of the ball, generating a couple extra possessions on the offensive boards and going +9 at the line.  BG was 24 of 36 and the Storm was 15 of 18.

Demajeo Wiggins had 25 points on 8 of 15 rebounds to go with 7 assists.  He was 9 of 12 at the line.  Dylan Frye had 19 on 6 of 14 and 3 of 9 shooting and 6 assists.  Caldwell had 18 and 8 assists.  Fox and Cummings each had 12.  Fox was 4-5 from 3FG.  Uju had 10 rebounds and Plowden had 8.

One other note.  Justin Turner did not play due to an ankle issue.  He was wearing a boot at the game.  Hopefully, he is better for the three games coming up on the weekend, but that could be tough with three games in three days.  Coach said after the game that Turner is our best defensive player....and we know what he does on let's hope he heals up.

Monday, November 20, 2017

25 questions to finish at the Factory

What is their body of work?

They are 4-7 on the year, but that's far from the whole story.  First, one of those wins was over Rutgers, which plays in the Big Ten.  They lost to Western, Ohio and Northern in in, lost in OT in all 3 games.  Let us say that BG did not fare that well against the last two.  They lost to Toledo by 5.  Need I say more?  There was Kentucky by four, Army by 1.  This is a team that can do everything but get over the hump.  That includes beating bad teams.  They have won 2 of their last 3, beating Ball State and Miami.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They are pretty experienced, with This is a young team, with 28 upperclassmen on the two deep.  They have 10 sophomores on the two deep.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Roback is #17 in completions per game.
Maxx Crosby is #5 in sacks

What is their turnover ratio?

Unless noted, all stats are MAC Only below.  They are -4, same as BG.


How is their QB play?

He's good.  He's one of the best they have ever had.  He is #4 in passing efficiency.  He has 59% completions for 11.6 yards per completion, which is good but not overwhelming.  He has 12 TDs and a propensity to get picked with 12.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are 8th in scoring offense and tied for 7th in yards per play.  BG is #7 in scoring offense and tied with them in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Traditionally, this is a strength, but they are #9 in yards per carry.  After the UT game, this should be a relief for BG, but then again if we see the Eagles running wild, we'll know that's a bad sign.

Do they pass the ball?

They are 9th in pass efficiency.  Their stud receiver is Sergio Bailey II, who with 50 catches at 16.8 per.

How was their run/pass balance?

They run on 47% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 11th at 32%

Do they score in the red zone?

They are average at 4.3 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

Bad sign.  They are very good and BG are last in sacks.  EMU allows sacks on only 2.9% of its attempts.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They are #7 in scoring defense and 6th in yards per play allowed.  Where they are equal to BG in offense, they are much better of defense, even if they are not great.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are pretty good, #4 in yards per carry allowed.

Can they be passed on?

They are relatively easy to pass on.  They are 10th in pass defense efficiency.  They play some youth in the secondary, and allow 63% completions (11th) at 12.2 YPC and 11 TDs and 2 INT.  This is a time for Jarrett Doege to have a coming out party.  His numbers are stronger than you think and BG's offense is coming together.  Here's a chance to plant the flag for next year.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are very good on 3rd down, #4 in the MAC.

Do they defend in the red zone?

They are not bad at 4.8 points per trip.

Did they pressure the QB?

Big worry here.  They get sacks on 8.9% of their opponent's passing attempts, which is high.

Special Teams:


They are 7th in net punting.  The issues are on distance, not returns.  And they've been blocked twice.

Punt Return?

They get about 5 yards per return.  One block.


He's pretty average, 13 out of 19, blocked twice, long of 46. (All games)


They are 4th with a 26 yardline start.  Actual returns are just 16 yards per, which is good.

Kickoff Return?

They start on the 24 (all games)

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So Dave Clawson used to say that a game like this is about who loves football.  Neither team has anything to play for.  Neither will play another game.  I don't expect this to impact the game, actually.  BG's guys are playing hard and I think that EMU is, too.  I expect a competitive game.

Doesn't seem to be a line, but EMU appears to be a favorite.  ESPN's thing shows an 84% likelihood of victory.

Be that as it may, I think we need to understand the our average offensive numbers are largely influenced by the non-Doege games.  He's putting some good numbers up and I think we're better on offense than they are.  This should at least be a competitive game and how nice would be it to at least get this one?

Lake Erie Preview

Quick preview.  BG plays four games this week, but this is the only one at home.  BG is playing the Lake Erie Storm, which is a DII school over in Painesville.  BG played them to open the 2012 season and BG had one of those games where they struggled with an inferior team, winning by 10 in the end on their way to a 13 win season.

They were 4-24 last year and picked to finish 10th in their conference.  They are 2-2 so far this year.

They are a young team.  Of their top 7 players in terms of minutes played, 6 are SO or FR.  Their leading scorer is Ryan Middendorf at just over 14 PPG.  Gabe Kynard and Harrison Riggs played HS at St. John's.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

BG Gets O-Line Verbal

And this one is a 3-star O-lineman from the Detroit area.  Who picked BG over UT and CMU.  Which seems to indicate that the recruiting mojo has not been lost.

His name is Quinton Barrow and he's from Romulus, MI.  He's listed at 6'6" and 303 pounds, which are obviously the kind of numbers you like to see.  O-linemen don't get stats, so we don't get a lot of the information we would get on a QB, for example.

Welcome to the Falcons, Quinton.

Past and Future Opponent Land

Michigan State (8-3)  Beat Maryland
South Dakota (7-4) Lost rivalry game to South Dakota State.  Made the FCS playoffs, unseeded, playing @Nicholls State.
Northwestern (8-3) Sunk the boat, beat Minnesota 39-0
Middle Tennessee (5-6) Lost to WKU
Akron (6-5)  Shocked OU, control destiny for East
Miami (4-7) Lost to EMU
Ohio (8-3) Lost to Akron
NIU (8-3)  Beat Western Michigan in close game
Kent (2-9) Lost to CMU
UB (5-6) Beat BSU, moving toward bowl eligibility
EMU (4-7) Beat Miami


FBS:  11-26
P5:  4-17
FCS:  10-1

West vs. East.  10-6 West



Falcon MBB Win Thriller at Stroh

And that, my friends, is why we love sports.  For the five times you might sit freezing in the Doyt watching the Rockets score at will against your team, you get a day like that.  What a game.  Big opponent, good crowd, and a game that had us on the edge of their seats for the better part of the contest and then a thrilling finish with a happy ending.  Honestly, I was on a high for hours.  That was a great game.  Thank you to the team for giving us that kind of pleasure.

I'm pretty sure that was what Bill Frack had in mind when he made his gift.  And thank him, too.

So for the first half was generally what was expected.  About six minutes in, FGCU had an 11 point lead and it was still 11 points with 7 minutes left.  BG then turned things around, got the lead down to 3, which is where the half ended on a Plowden dunk.

BG came out and built on the momentum in the second half, taking their first lead just a little over a minute into the game.  What followed was an outstanding half of basketball, with BG leading most of the way, but never by more than 6.

That 6 point lead came with 1:17 left when Dylan Frye nailed a 3.

Brandon Goodwin, who is a great player, came down the floor and drew a foul on Wiggins, his 5th.  Goodwin made both the free throws to cut it to 4 and then they got a steal on the other end and converted it to a hoop and it was down to 2 points with :46 left.

BG got a timeout and had Justin Turner driving to the hoop when he was called for a charge.

With :19 left, BG needed a stop.  They got it.  Goodwin drove to the hoop but couldn't get the ball to fall from close range and Derek Koch snagged the board and was fouled.  He missed both ends of the FTs and then with :06 left on the other end Koch fouled and the Eagles had 2 FTs down 2.

Zach Johnson made both of the FTs and the game had been tied up, with FGCU on a 6 point late run.  There were :05 left.

We had been here before and usually without a great result.

FGCU had been pressing, but on this possession, they went to 3/4 court.  They fed the ball into Dylan Frye who attacked his way up the floor.  I think FGCU expected him to drive to the rim looking for a basket or a foul since the game was tied.  Instead, he pulled up and launched a 3-ball that went down and BG had a 3-point lead with less than a second left and the Falcons had the 83-80 victory.  Players were in the stands shaking hands, there was a buzz in the arena for minutes afterward.  Just a terrific night.

The great thing?  Before those two late baskets, Frye was 1-9 on the night.  Stone cold.  Born shooter.

The crowd was great.  It was a good crowd and they were into the game and it was really loud in the last minute. Coach said that it "almost" was like Anderson.  Here's the point.  If this thing goes the way that it feels like its going, that place is going to be LOUD when its full.  Can't wait.

When we look at the stats, we see what we'd expect, which is a pretty close game.  It was a FAST paced game.  There were 84 possessions in the game.  That's the most possessions in a BG game since at least 2002 and maybe longer...there were whole years when BG never got over 75 or so.  BG is clearly looking to push the pace and they look comfortable doing it to me.

Anyway, beyond that, BG didn't have a great offensive day with .98 points per possession.  The big news is that they held FGCU to .95 points per possession.

Quick note.  This game is an excellent example of why we use tempo-free stats.  Yes, both teams were in the 80s, but they didn't have great offensive nights.  They scored on volumes of attempts.

The biggest thing is what you don't see.  FGCU came in getting 50% of their available offensive rebounds and BG held them to less than half of that.  The other difference was at the line, where BG had 33 attempts and FGCU only 19.  BG made 23 and FGCU 14.  That +9 was more than the difference.  BG got to the line a lot and FGCU had been excelling at that, too.  The Falcons made 70% of their free throws, which is right on national average and an improvement and the key to this one, beyond clutch shooting (52% in the second half).

Individually, Justin Turner had a big night.  He scored 20 points on 6 of 14 and 2 of 3 shooting, plus 6 of 8 on the line, 7 rebounds and 4 steals to go with 5 turnovers.  He also drew innumerable fouls.  Dylan Frye had 15 on the aforementioned 3-11 shooting and 7 of 8 at the line and 6 rebounds.  Wiggins had 14 on 6 of 11 shooting and 7 rebounds.  He struggled in the first half, especially on defense, but Coach said they told him they were going to feed him the ball and he was effective on the offensive end.  He has a nice touch around the basket.

Caldwell had 11 on 5 of 10 shooting and 1 assist.  He played 24 minutes and Cummings played 19.

Derek Koch had 11 rebounds.  Matt Fox had 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 17 minutes.

So, it was a great night.  And this team looks competitive and fun.  They play four games in the next 7 days and it is possible they could win all of them or at least 3.  Looking forward to watching it unfold.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jinks Presser: EMU Edition

Coach Jinks gave a pretty interesting presser yesterday in advance of the EMU game, especially toward the end.  Here are the parts that I found interesting.

The most interesting part was when he described EMU by saying that he had looked at their roster and they had a bunch of guys for whom EMU was their only offer and that they had done a good job developing their talent and skills.

Which made me pause.  Because my question has been, why isn't that happening for our team?  You mean it is possible to take guys who weren't great recruits and turn them into better players?  That's interesting because the attitude around our program appears to be that you just have to suffer until the Babers players are gone.  Jinks himself has said that the only way to improve players is to bench them.  Apparently, someone has found another way.

And, when asked if the defense had made progress over the year, he said, "No."  He went on to say we don't get pressure and when we try to blitz we don' have the speed to cover on the edge.

Also on Eastern, he said that "they don't ask their guys to do too much on the back end," apparently indicating that there are tactical responses to not having the best players.

I will say this again.  Jinks is honest.  He said he hasn't wavered from his belief in what he is doing, but that at the same time you have to face your "weaknesses."

"That's how we are approaching it now," he said.

One other interesting thing...just one word, really.  When discussing the early signing period, he previously he said that he expected all of our commits to sign.  Yesterday, the answer was "a majority."  Could be nothing but it seemed interesting.

On the early signing, he said that he expects the P5 schools to fill their classes on 12/20, which will mean that when the smaller schools go out in January, they will know who is truly available as opposed to have a Noah Harvey-like situation from last year.  Which I think is interesting.

Coach has put a good recruiting class at the top of his priority list, so all of this is worth keeping an eye on.  I have no inside information, but my guess is that other schools are coming hard after all of our verbals.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hello Dunk City....

Welcome to...this city.

So, BG has the Bill Frack game on Saturday.  If you recall, Bill Frank donated a huge gift to the men's basketball program with part of the money going to paying for better opponents to come to the Stroh.  This year, this is that game...Florida Gulf Coast.

They are ranked #102 on their kenpom, which does indeed make them the best team on our home schedule right now, including conference games. (The highest ranked team on the schedule is Old Dominion).

This is an excellent game to play at home.  First, this is a name team due to being the first team to go from being a #15 seed to the sweet sixteen and doing it with a high-flying style, a flashy coach with a supermodel wife, etc.  The coach/supermodel left for USC, but their new coach has them back and they have made the tournament the last two years.

Second, they are still good.  They are 2-0, with a win over a very good Illinois State team that has gone on to beat South Carolina.  The other win was @Siena.

We played them two years ago in Fort Myers and BG actually beat the Eagles 82-77.  We have literally one guy who played in that game (Wiggins) who will play Saturday.  In that game, BG had an un-falconlike 1.17 points per possession to win.

They have some big games coming up on their schedule, as they try to up their ranking with non-conference scheduling.

They play just like always have...around the rim and effectively.  Two-thirds of their shots are inside the arc (top 100 in country) and they make 60.5% of their 2FGS, which is #38.  Being around the basket has allowed them to get 50% of the available offensive rebounds, which is #2 in the nation.  They take good care of the ball and get to the line...this is a very good offensive team that is #71 overall on offense.

They aren't bad on defense.  They are a little worse than average this year, just like they were last year.  They don't force turnovers...and in a related fact are in the top 100 keeping teams off the line.  They are also above average defending the shot and protecting their defensive boards.

Brandon Goodwin is their lead player.  He started at UCF, but now is one of the best mid-major players in the country.  He is scoring 18.5 PPG on 46% shooting with 5 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists. 

Their leading scorer so far is Zach Johnson.  (After our last two football games, let's just say we aren't thrilled to be playing someone named Johnson).  He is scoring 20 PPG on 44% shooting.  They also have Christian Terrell, who is scoring 14.5 PPG on (uh) 68% shooting and 6.5 RPG.  Finally, Dinero Mercurius has been through like 3 schools but now is scoring 12.5 PPG on 45% and 40% from 3FG.  He has 6 of their 13 3FGs.

This is a very solid team that BG is playing.  It is at home.  Hopefully, the known name will bring some additional fans to the Stroh and BG can generate some home court advantage.  Also, teams tend to play UP for an opponent like this.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.  Would be a great win for us to get.

Falcons with new o-line verbal

The Falcons have their latest verbal commit, via the internet.  This young man is Joe Maxwell, a 6'4", 274 pound T/G from Florence, Alabama.  There isn't a lot of information on him--which happens on o-lineman.  Maxpreps says he is the #48 o-lineman in Alabama for his class.

I can't find anywhere that lists him as a ranked recruit.  That's not necessarily a big deal--BG has had plenty of unranked players turn into contributors and in fact, those overlooked guys with a chip on their shoulder can fit the culture of a mid-major program perfectly.

Given that the coaching staff and its supporters are pointing to recruiting as the reason to think the program can rebound, it is worth noting that BG's first 13 verbals were all 2 or 3 stars and since the season started BG has lost one of them and added two non-ranked players.

Certainly nothing definitive, but worth keeping an eye on.  We will get an earlier look than normal with the early signing period on December 20.  Coach has said that he is going on a 23-day recruiting trip when the season ends (in case you ever thought you wanted to be a football coach), and this is a critical time for the program.  He says we need to "stack" some recruiting classes.  Well, he'll be on the road with a 6-18 or 7-17 record, testing every bit of the recruiting muscle.

Welcome to the Falcons, Joe.  Prove 'em all wrong!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rockets Destroy Falcons

The sad thing is that it was expected.

You have to figure if you can't stop Tyree Jackson, Logan Woodside is going to eat you alive.

The Falcons were simply dominated by the Rockets Wednesday night at the Doyt.  There's no other way to look at it.  Particularly on offense, UT rarely was challenged as they racked up 66 points, which is the most points ever scored in the 82 times these two teams have met.

And if you're keeping track, that means the Jinks teams have now played 23 games at BG and given up over 70 twice and 66 once, and the first two came early in his tenure and one was to Ohio State but THIS one was at the end of his second year, when he might have started to get it together and it was to a team in our conference.  And our rival.  On our field.

The defense is an absolute mess.  Bad angles, bad fits, no one setting the edge, no tackling in the secondary, poor pass coverage, little pass rush.  Just an absolute mess.

Somehow, I'm sure Dino Babers is to blame.

Something has to be changed.  I understand that the university won't buy Jinks out, but if he brings his staff back intact, he's just setting a date for when he leaves at the end of his contract.  I have been writing about his under-prepared staff since they got here.  He under-estimated what you need to win at this level and now the program is paying the price.  I am convinced that it won't get fixed with the guys in headsets for this game.  If we can't get a new head coach, he's got to do something to change the trajectory.

Not to call anyone out, but, you know, you might start looking on the defensive side of the ball.

There is one good thing about this game.  No one can be under any illusions about where we are, relative to our goal, which is to be the best team in the MAC.  That team was on our field last night and they scored 66 points.  Last year's mini-streak passing tired horses might have created the illusion that things have stabilized, but with this finish there can be no doubt how bad it is.

Changes need to be made if for no other reason than for recruiting.  BG is going to be negatively recruited like crazy over the next few weeks, partly by the guys who beat us tonight.  Yes, I know bad teams can offer playing time, but no player wants to be on the business end of a beating like that.

The fear is that we are slipping into the position that Miami was in after Hoeppner left.  A decade of losing that they appeared to have snapped out of, but have not.

The negativity was already bad and this is just going to make it worse.  Frankly, it's hard to see them beating EMU either, though I guess its possible.  Either way, 2-10 or 3-9, this team has not improved over last year, record-wise or playing-wise.  Changes are needed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

25 Questions to throw the record book out

What is their body of work?

 Say what you like, the Rockets have been one of the most consistent teams in the MAC.  They have been cursed by being bested by great NIU teams and then a great WMU team.  This year, they appear to have broken through and should appear in the MAC Championship game for the first time in years.  The had a shot to run the table and play on New Year's Day, but a loss at Miami (FL) scuttled that and then they laid a serious egg in their last game against OU, something which should be of zero comfort to the Falcons.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

This is a young team, with 23 upperclassmen on the two deep.  They have 18 sophomores on the two deep.

Who are their statistical leaders?

Diontae Johnson is #4 in all purpose yards, #15 in combined return yards, #12 in kickoff returns, #8 in receiving yards, #9 in receiving TDs,
Reggie Giliam is #2 in blocked kicks
Jameson Vest is #12 in FG%, #2 in FG/G
Logan Woodside is #5 in passing efficiency, #13 in passing yards, #7 in yards per completion
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi is #19 in TFL

What is their turnover ratio?

Unless noted, all stats are MAC Only below.  They are +6.


How is their QB play?

He's the best in the MAC, I don't think there's much doubt about that.  His efficiency rank is 166 and the next guy is 136.  He has 66% completions, 15 yards per completion and 9 TDs over 1 pick.  He's no Tyree Jackson, if you know what i mean.

What is their scoring and yards per play?

They are #4 in scoring and #1 in yards per play.  They get 7.2 yards per play and the second team gets 6.3.  (BG's defense is 11th in both).

Can they run the ball?

They are second in the MAC at 5.4 yards per rush.  BG is 11th on defense.

Do they pass the ball?

See above.  They lead the MAC in passing efficiency and it isn't close.  You can also see Diontae Johnson above, but they also have Jon'Vea Johnson at 14.9 per catch and Cody Thompson at 19.2.

How was their run/pass balance?

They run on 52% of their plays.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

So, you saw the gap between yards and scoring.  They should have more points based on the yard production.  That's partly because they are 11th on 3rd down.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are also poor in the red zone at 3.9 points per trip.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They give up sacks on 6% of their attempts, which is about average, especially considering the relatively long routes they throw.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Unlike previous UT teams that came up short, this team is strong on both sides of the ball.  They are #3 in scoring defense and #4 in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

This is an opportunity for BG.  They are #8 in yards per carry allowed.

Can they be passed on?

Not easily.  They are #2 in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 53% completions, 10.8 per completion, 7 TDs and 8 INTs, great numbers all down the line.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 6th in 3rd down defense.

Do they defend in the red zone?

First, they have allowed only 13 red zone trips, which is best in the MAC.  When teams do get there, they score at 5.3 per trip, which is not good for the defense.

Did they pressure the QB?

Not very.  They get sacks on 4.1% of opponent attempts.

Special Teams:


They are 11th in the MAC in net punting.  Their return defense is good, it appears to be a length of punt thing. He's been blocked once and no TDs allowed.

Punt Return?

See above, they lead the MAC with 13 yards per return, which is 5 yards more than the next team.  They have 1 TD and 2 blocks.


Vest is just money.  20-23 with a 49 long.  3/4 over 40.


They are 7th with teams starting at the 25-26.

Kickoff Return?

They are #3 in kickoff returns.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So John Wagner asked a good question this week.  What happened to the rivalry?  My answer was that BG quit winning...he claims that it starting to go down before that, which is not how I remember it.  Also, I think that having BG and UT in separate divisions also hurt the rivalry.  It is possible (thank god) for BG to win a MAC title without beating UT.

Simply put, this would be one of the biggest upsets in the history of the rivalry if it happened. BG did lead last year in the 4th Quarter, but ultimately lost.  UT would be a huge favorite under ordinary circumstances, but then factor in BG's lack of health on the o-line and then the fact the UT needs a win and is coming off a bad loss and it has a really tough look to it.

And yet, such things happen.  This is why we love sports.

BG's opening is the UT run defense.  BG simply has to run the ball effectively and use the clock to have a shot.  Coach says we are "so close" to having a top tier offense...well, this is where it is going to have to show up.  If the BG defense is left on the field most of the night, this is going to be a rout.

That's just based on the way Buffalo moved the ball on our defense and these guys are way better than that.  Now, the defense might well rally for the big game, but they have shown us no reason to think that they are capable of slowing down this Rocket attack.  The offense is going to be need to help out and BG needs to get some breaks on top of it.

By far the most likely outcome will be that the streak continues.  I will say this.  A win and Coach Jinks can count on silencing the doubters for a while.  A blow out?  Well, the fan base tends to react pretty poorly to those, especially in this game.  If that happens, the overall ecosystem just grows more toxic.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Coyote Run Dooms BG MBB

South Dakota was shaping up to be a tough that won their conference last year...and they proved it at the Stroh Center Monday.  BG played well for much of the way, but the Coyotes remained in contact and did what good teams do, which is fire off a big run in the last 8 minutes and they picked up the road victory, 88-79.

BG was up 1 with 8:39 left to play in the game.  Over the next 3 minutes or so, SD went on a 16-4 run to jack the lead up to 11 points.  BG did battle and had the ball down 4 in the last minute but missed a jumper and then the Coyotes were good from the line to seal the victory.

In all, I am encouraged.  Justin Turner showed what it means to be a freshman, making on 2 of 14 shots.  Derek Koch double-doubled though and BG got good minutes from Cummings and Plowden and even four competitive minutes for Gadson.  Frye played well, despite some phantom foul calls.  This team has young talent and I think there's reason to think that BG is on the comeback trail, tonight's loss not withstanding.

The primary factor in the game was fouls.  There were 51 fouls called, which is just crazy.  Frye was the only player to foul out, but eight others had four fouls when the game finally ended.

The second factor is pace.  This game was played at a very fast fact, the game had 80 possessions, a pace BG reached only four times last year.  So, when you see the high score total, you have to take the pace into account.  In fact, SD had 1.1 points per possession, which is good but not great and BG had .99, which is bad but not awful.

When you look at BG's offense, you can't get by that shooting.  BG's 39.7% EFG (rounded to 40 in the chart) was a total that BG only did worse than twice last year....that awful EMU game early in the year and then the football player game against OU.  BG made only 35% of its 2FG attempts, which also would have been their third lowest last season.  With that poor shooting, you'd expect to have a really stinky offensive night, but BG took care of the ball, did well on the offensive boards and while they didn't get to the line as much as SD, BG made 78%.

On the defensive side, SD shot much better, obviously.  It surely seemed that they had an easy time attacking the basket and often shredded BG on the inside.  They made over 50% of their 2 FGs and 40% from beyond the arc after missing their first 8, meaning most of them came in their big run to finish the game.  They took even better care of the ball and didn't rebound well.  They got to the line a lot but only made 63%.

So, look.  BG is a young team.  SD is a veteran team that has a championship.  THEY had 10 new guys last year.  So, let's just hang with it.  For this night, BG found it very difficult to make shots and SD didn't, and that was really the difference.

One thing is clear.  The fans are going to have to be won back.  BG drew only 1,200 for the season opener.

So, Florida Gulf Coast comes in Saturday in what should be an even tougher contest.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Past and Future Opponent Land

Michigan State (7-3)  Nightmare day in Columbus
South Dakota (7-3) Pummeled by North Dakota State (#5)
Northwestern (7-3) Beat Purdue
Middle Tennessee (5-5) Beat Charlotte
Akron (5-5)  Lost to Miami
Miami (4-6) Beat Akron
Ohio (8-2) Destroyed Toledo
NIU (7-3)  Destroyed Ball State
Kent (2-8) Lost to WMU
UT  (8-2) Lost to OU
EMU (3-7) Lost to CMU


FBS:  11-26
P5:  4-17
FCS:  10-1

West vs. East.  7-5 West

Yote preview

So this is an interesting one.   When BG traveled to South Dakota last year, they were picked 7th in the Summit with 10 new guys on the roster.  (Sound familiar?)  Anyway, BG played them in the opening game at their new arena and played a solid game, leading with 3 minutes left to play before giving up an 11-3 close to the Coyotes to lose by 6.  South Dakota went on the exceed all expectations, winning the Summit and ending up in the NIT.  They were 22-12 in the end and a kenpom of 143.

They are itching to build on that season this year.  They lost two starters--both double figure scorers--but they certainly have to feel better than they did at this time last year.  They are picked to be #2 in the Summit by kenpom.

Last year, they were an average offensive team.  They didn't shoot or rebound especially well, but they were 35th in terms of taking care of the ball and 19th in getting to the free throw line.  They also played at over 70 possessions per game, with was in the top 20% or so of D1 teams.

Defensively, they were decent against the shot and at forcing turnovers (around d1 Average) but were top 100 in keeping teams off the boards and off the line.

They return their leading scorer, Matt Mooney, who scored 18.6 PG on 46% shooting last year as well as being #13 in the country in steals.  He scored only 9 against BG last year but is pre-season All-Summit this year.  Trey Dickerson who scored 10 per game on 40% shooting and led the team in assists is also back as is their leading returning rebounder, Trey-Burch Manning, who had 6.6 per game last year to go with about 9 points.

They beat Mayville State 87-59 in their only game this year...that's an NAIA school.

With BG's good start Friday, this one gets even more interesting.  Looking forward to being in my seats and watching the boys go at it.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Falcon MBB wins opener

Well, then.  That's a good way to start.  Not that it was a win at Duke but there are no bad road wins and this one certainly builds optimism for the season.  Drexel had a big crowd and the lead 24 minutes into the game and then BG went on a 19-0 run (how often do you see that?) to turn the game and then closed the deal to get the win.

More on that later.  Right now...Justin Turner.

Justin Turner.

He had a historic game last night.  To catch you up, Turner was with the team last year but was red-shirted due to an injury.  Coach Huger talked about him being special and it turns out he was right.  Last next at Drexel, Turner scored 33 points.  That (tied with Spencer Parker) is the most for a BG freshmen since at least 2000 and I assume that total is going to be updated as the people at BG have more time to research.

It's a huge night. He shot 12 of 19, 4 of 7 from 3, 5 of 8 from the line, 4 rebounds and 7 assists (that assist total could also be a freshman record).  The only blemish was 5 turnovers.  He played 39 minutes.  That's a huge night...scoring points efficiently and in buckets.  Man, it is just one game, but this guy appears to be a playmaker.

Demajeo Wiggins also had a big game.  Coach said he wants him to be a 15/10 guy and he was 14/8.  He shot 3 of 6 and 8 of 10 from the line.  That's a solid game, especially with only 27 minutes played.

Returning all-MAC FR team Dylan Frye had 9.  He shot 3 of 8 but 2 of 4 from 3 and added 4 rebounds.  Freshman Daeqwon Plowden also had 9,  shooting 4 of 5 and 1 of 2 and adding 3 rebounds in only 18 minutes.

So, in terms of the game flow, the first half was mostly competitive until there were about 5 minutes left when Drexel went on a 9-0 run to lead by 10 and then 9 at the half.  Six minutes into the second half Drexel still led by 10 when BG went on a remarkable run.  For the next 5 minutes, BG scored 19 and Drexel did not score any, and that completely flipped the field.  BG was up 9 and then they closed the door on the way home, never allowing the Dragons within 1 possession.

BG didn't miss a shot until the end of the run---a 3 that would have made it a 22 point run.  Wiggins had 6 and Frye and 5 during the run and Frye had a steal that led to a Wiggins dunk.  On defense, there were 4 turnovers from Drexel and obviously, no made shots, even after 2-second chance possessions.

So, lastly the numbers.

It was a fast-paced game with 76 possessions.  BG ended up with a slightly below average (by D1 standards) with 1.03 points per possession.  However, they held Drexel to .91 points per possession, which last year they did only a handful of times and even then to teams ranked in the 300+ range.  BG shot the ball really well and defended the shot effectively as well.  (Last year, the national average was 50.5%).  Both teams struggled with turnovers, but that's what is holding BG's offensive numbers down.  Drexel also won the battle of the boards and BG was slightly better at getting to the line in a game with a ton of free throws.  BG only shot 63% from the line, which is a continuing weakness.

But let us not quibble.  This is only the third time this year I have been able to write a post about the Falcons winning, so we will take it.  A road win is a road win, and it was a D1 win.  Let's enjoy and look forward to Monday.