Saturday, November 30, 2019

It's Over...Buffalo game

BG got to the finish line Saturday, if only barely.  Undermanned, the team that took the field yesterday was beaten up and even more undermanned and finally the season ended with a 49-7 loss to the Bulls.

BG was playing without Perce, Bozeman, Biggers and Davin Wilson.  Numerous other players were playing at less than optimal conditions.  On offense, Loy was injured early in the game and replaced by Wade.

The results are no surprise.  BG struggles against the run and Jaret Patterson is the best RB in the MAC.  He torched BG without mercy, starting with an 81 yard run on the first play from scrimmage.  Patterson had a record-setting day, becoming the first MAC RB to score 6 rushing TDs in a game.  He had 26 carries for over 11 yards per carry.  As a team they averaged 8.9 yards per rush and the same on a per play basis.  Much like last year, they were content to run the ball and win the game, with 51 runs and only 14 passes.

BG managed only 9 first downs.  They averaged 3.5 yards per play and had 187 yards of total offense for the game.  It was as one-sided as it looked, possibly more.

BG finishes 3-9.  I will do a season wrap up shortly, but two things stand out.  First, of course, is this:

And the other is this...I think we have to take a minute to appreciate the players--the human beings--who were on this team.  It had to have been a very difficult year, but there's something to be said for being a survivor and if you made it to the end of this one, you are one.  This point was illustrated early in the game when RB Marlow was rolled up on and suffered a very serious leg injury. I haven't heard anything, but you can tell by the reaction of the other players and the training staff of both teams. 

Best to RB--but remember this, the players are putting their actual bodies on the line.  No one is happy with the results but only some of us pay in sweat and broken bones.  Some of us just watch.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Dartmouth Preview

Back to basketball now.  BG returns home to play the Dartmouth Big Green.  Let's see what we can expect.

BG has played Dartmouth twice but not since 1968.  So, you know, we haven't made the NCAA tournament since the last time we beat Dartmouth.  Speaking of which, while they have twice finished as runner-up in the NCAA Tourney, they actually have a longer dry spell than BG...they have not appeared in the tournament since 1959.

Dartmouth was 11-19 and 2-12 last year, finishing last in the Ivy League.  They returned all their starters from that team and are picked to be 6th in the Ivy this year.

For all that, they are off to a 5-1 start.  Two games are of interest to BG fans.  Dartmouth opened the season with a win at Buffalo, and that's not nothing.  Buffalo had won 26 straight games at home.  Obviously it was their first game under Whitesell with a ton of new players and people in new rules...still, it was a big upset.

Their other game of interest was Jacksonville.  That's a team BG beat by 16 on a neutral floor and Dartmouth lost by 20 to the Dolphins, also on a neutral floor.

So, make of that what you will.  Dartmouth also Florida Gulf Coast (by 6, #282), Merrimack (by 9, #272), UMass Lowell (in OT, #252).   Also a non-d1 win.

We know where BG is except this...according to Todd Walker from Lima, the Falcons will be without Justin Turner, who was injured in the Virgin Islands.  It's said to be a hamstring injury.  Those injuries can tend to be you want to make sure you get it taken care of before the real season begins.  There's not going to be an at-large bid, so keep our eye on the ball, as it were.

Having said that, I have no idea when they are expecting him back.

Let's look at how the game stacks up.  The charts below are from this year's season, so keep this in mind.  Dartmouth accumulated those results against the 275th ranked schedule, to date.  BG's are against the #32 schedule, but with one additional non-D1 game.

FWIW, scoring is down to date in D1.  Counting only D1 games, the NCAA is scoring .99 points per possession and last year it was 1.04.  If you are curious, the 3FG% has only fallen from 34.4% to 33%, so that's not it.  The 2FG% is also down 2%.

Anyway, with you can see what is match up.  BG has been successful on offense (#102) and on defense (#121).  Meanwhile, Dartmouth is decent on defense (#136) but really struggles to score (#269).

DU has been poor at everything.  Remember, these are placed against good BG numbers.  They are ranked #234 or below in all four of these categories.  They shoot poorly, turn the ball over, don't offensive rebound or get to the line.  They are below average on 2FGs and 3FGs and are #328 at the line, making fewer than 60%.  This means they could have trouble exploiting BG's biggest defensive weakness, which is allowing foul shots.

On defense, Dartmouth is actually pretty good.  They are #77 against the shot, they are #15 on the offensive boards and #55 in keeping teams off the line.  Even the turnover percentage is right at D1 average.  They are very good in defending the 3FG (#42) and right in the middle of the pack against 2FGs.  BG has struggled on its shooting (#278 overall and #313 on 2FG).  Again, the schedules are not equal, but BG needs to make shots.

Dartmouth is well above average in terms of bench minutes played.  In a related note, and this was thought impossible, but DU is actually MORE conservative than Coach Huger in playing guys with 2 fouls in the first half.

Individually, they are led by Chris Knight, who is scoring 12 PPG but shooting 44%.  He's a 6'7" JR from Madison, WI.  He also averages 6.2 RPG and leads the team with 14 assists, though he had 18 turnovers.  He was second-team All-Ivy least season.

That's their only double-figure scorer.  Aaryan Raj, a 6'6" JR who is from Canada nearly gets in double figures at 9.7 PPG, 54% shooting and 6.7 RPG.  Ian Sistere is a G but averages 6.3 RPG.

For trivia purposes, Cam Krystkowiak is on this team and his Dad coaches Utah Jazz.

They are not tall, 267 in the nation while BG is #187.

On we go.  BG should win this game at home and it could be the start of a significant winning streak until conference plays begins.  The team will need to adjust to playing without Turner but there is plenty of depth and we have a couple players who are off to cold starts who could fill in the gap.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

25 Questions About The End

 What is their body of work?

So here we are again, Buffalo at the end.  They are 6-5 and if they had not given Kent State a win for the ages, they would be 7-4 with a five-game winning streak.  Even starting slow, after big losses from last year's team, the Bulls are finishing strong and look to be one of the conference's consistently effective programs.  Their coach is a proven success.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 24, which is typical.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

Jaret Patterson is #13 in all-purpose yards, #8 in rushing yards
Ledarius Mack is #10 in forced fumbles
Taylor Riggins is #17 in sacks

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are +6, in MAC Play.  They lost 4 to Miami and have been + in every other game.


How is their QB play? (MAC Only, from here on)

Their QB is Kyle VanTrease, a SO who has not put up great numbers in his first season as a starter.  The only QB with a lower efficiency rating is Grant Loy.  He completes 59% of his passes, a 7:1 TD/INT ratio and 11.8 per completion.  He's not a dual-threat QB.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are 6th in the MAC in scoring offense and 8th with 5.4 yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Oh yeah.  About that.  Jaret Patterson was the MAC FR of the year and if there was a SO of the year it would probably be him.  If you happened to watch him gash UT a couple weeks ago, you see how good he is.  He has 965 yards on the season.  They run a lot, so his average is 5.5 which isn't great and as a team they are 7th in yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

See above.  Patterson also leads them in yards per catch.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run a lot, 69%.  A lot.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They are 5th in the MAC at 56%.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are very good with 5.8 points per possession.  They have 46 red zone trips and only 5 outright misses (all games)

Do they protect the quarterback?

Yeah.  Uh, sacks on 1.8% of passing attempts.  Only 3 in MAC play, impressive even with their lowing passing numbers.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 2nd in the MAC in scoring and yards per play allowed, behind only Miami and essentially the same as they are.

Do they defend the run effectively?

Very.  They lead the MAC at 2.9 yards per carry allowed.  That's also #8 in FBS.

Can they be passed on?

Not easily.  They are second in the MAC.  They allow 57% with 6 TD and 7 INT and 11.8 per reception.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 2nd in the MAC at 36%

Do they defend in the red zone? (all games)

They allow 4 points per trip, which is outstanding.  They allow TDs only 50% of the time in the red zone.

Do they pressure the QB?

You could say that.  28 sacks in MAC PLAY.  +25 compared to the opponent.  Sacks on 12.3% of opposing passing plays.

Special Teams:


They are last in the MAC in net punting.

Punt Return?

Middle of the pack on punt returns.  No TDs.

Placekicking? (all games)

He's not great.  Main kicker is 9 of 14 and 7 of 9 inside 40.  Long of 45


Opponents start on the 25.

Kickoff Return? (all games)

They start on the 27.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

Well, this is going to be a difficult one.  UB is just much better than BG right now.  This would be a UT type upset, maybe worse because it is on the road.  I fear BG will struggle to move the ball and struggle to stop Jarret Patterson.  Good thing...UB is a ball possession team.  BG is shallow and banged up...I believe there are maybe more players gone than we have heard and there have to be others on the field with it on their mind.  Long season.

Happy Thanksgiving to the Falcon Nation...


Happy Thanksgiving to the Falcon Nation.  It's time to reflect on our good fortune.  That includes the privilege of using our time and money to follow college sports teams.  As always, we can best demonstrate true gratitude by striving to be better people and to help those who are giving more and taking less.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Falcon MBB Run Out of Gas, fall to Nevada

The finals of the Paradise Jam ended up being more of Nevada's jam as the Wolf Pack rolled easily over the Falcons to win the event.  They opened the game at 18-6 and the lead was over 10 continuously over the last 30 minutes of the game.  BG didn't fold...they battled the lead back to the low teens a couple of times, but just didn't have anything in the tank.

Justin Turner did not dress and then Dylan Frye only played 20 minutes.  Todd Walker seemed to think it was exhaustion-related as there did not appear to be a physical injury.  So, you have a team that played two pitched battles and the late game the night before as compared to an earlier game for Nevada.  The Wolf Pack had two easy wins in their earlier games and BG was without their two best players.  It didn't work out.

BG made only 9 of 23 from 2FG and 0 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half, when the game was decided.  Meanwhile, NV made 41% of their 3FGS in the first half and ended up shooting 48% for the game on 3FGs.

Daeqwon Plowden had 13 points and 6 rebounds, both leading the team.  FR Chandler Turner had 12 on 5 of 8 shooting and Caleb Fields had 10 on 4 of 11 shooting.  Dylan Swingle had 9 points in 10 minutes and had a couple nice moves to get baskets, according to Walker's call.

It was still a great weekend in the VI.  BG picked up two big wins as they hit an easier part of the schedule.

A couple thoughts.  First, getting to the NCAA tournament requires winning three games in three days.  Hopefully, we learned a little about that and with everyone healthy we can win on that third day (especially with the adrenaline of a MAC final).  It's just one reason why it is so hard to win a tournament.

Second--and related--relates to Justin Turner.  I have no idea about his injury.  However, the only must-win games on the schedule are the last four or last three, depending on how you finish the regular season.  Hamstring injuries can be nagging and BG needs Turner to be healthy when we get to the MAC tournament and whatever that requires now should be done.

Dartmouth in on Saturday...the Big Green beat Buffalo earlier this year but also lost big to Jacksonville.  Let's get a nice crowd at the Stroh for the game....

Monday, November 25, 2019

Oh Man....Falcons take down Bearcats

These tournaments make it tough, but a quick post on BG picking up their biggest win in a long time by beating a very good Cincinnati team on a neutral floor.  Their kenpom was in the 30s when the game started...looking back...of course BG beat Buffalo (#22) last year...kenpom records go back to 2002 and that's how far back you have to go.  BG started that year with an OT win over Mississippi (#34) on the way to 23-9.

Which is interesting, because right now it's fairly clear that this is our best team since that team.

Last night's win was just huge.  As has been stated everywhere by now, this team is for real.  So often, a team exceeds expectations one year and then returns to the mean the next year.  This did not happen.  BG continues to play outstanding basketball and seems improved over last year.

A positive incredible that BG won the game without Justin Turner, who did not play in the second half or the OT.  No idea on what the status of the injury is  (So this could be a bad thing) but for now let's remember that BG beat UC without the pre-season MAC player of the year for most of the game.  That's something.

It's amazing to think about.  BG was down 67-57 with 3:49 left to play.  BG outscored them 15-5 in that time that again, BG scored 15 points in those 4 minutes.  UC opened the door by missing 7 FTs in that time, including one with :38 left that kept the deficit at 3 and set the stage for some Trey Diggs heroics, as he nailed a 3 to tie the game.

In OT, honestly, BG had control most of the way.  UC also missed 7 FTs in the OT.  (BG shot 77% from the line for the game).

I wanted to call out one item on the game...

So, when Todd Walker says something is the best performance in 17 years...that's worth hearing about.

Dylan scored 28 points, made 9 of 10 FTs, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.  That'll get it done.  Beyond that--and I didn't see the game--what I believe Todd is describing is Dylan being the team's glue against pressure and holding the team together...things there aren't stats for.

Dylan has had a very good career here and you have been able to see him mature and become a better player every year.  He handles the ball better, he runs the floor better, is underrated around the basket and is an unflappable floor leader for the team.  A very good career that is beginning to look like a great senior year.

BG moves next to Nevada, which is now coached by Steve Alford.  I know, right?  Anyway, you've seen them in the tourney the last couple of years.  Their ranking is #105...BG is #97.  They have had easy wins over Fordham and Valpo to get to the tournament final.

A couple thoughts.

First, the status of Justin Turner will determine a lot.  The good news is that the team knows that it doesn't determine everything.

BG played two very tough games to get to the final and had the late game last night, two other things that give Nevada an advantage.

Even so...BG is playing with momentum and grit.  I like our chances a lot tonight.  It's starting off to be a great year.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Bearcat Preview

BG now moves on to play the Cincinnati Bearcats, a traditional power in the Midwest.  BG and UC have played 10 times and UC has won 9 of them.  The only win for BG was in Game 3 of the Orr Era.

It's a new era at UC, too.  Mick Cronin has moved on to UCLA and the new coach is John Brannen who moved a very short distance from Northern Kentucky to UC.  He was highly successful in building the program at NKU, winning 20 games each of his last three seasons after going 9-21 in year one.  UC's a great job for him.

According to Blue Ribbon, his plan was to press 94 feet.  Not sure if that's going to happen--they turnover % is roughly what is was last year...and that was pretty much average.  Maybe it isn't in their DNA yet.

What IS in their DNA is defense.  Last year, UC was #28 in the country in defensive efficiency and this year they are #30 to date.  They are 3-1.  The loss was @Ohio State and the wins are Drake (129) and Alabama A&M (#350) at home and then a very close win over Illinois State (#197) in the VI.  They beat I-state 66-65.  Their kenpom is #31 and they are picked to be #2 in their conference behind on the Memphis Pennys.

So, that's not a world-beating schedule, but it's not bad either.

Their calling card is FG Defense.  They are #30 in the nation in terms of being difficult to shoot against.  That's 42% (#41) against the 2FG...something that has to make Falcon fans nervous, since BG is shooting the 2FG horribly (#342).  They are also only allowing 28% on the 3FG and BG is shooting that might end up being the struggle that defines the game.

They are average-ish in forcing turnovers and in defensive rebounding but also are #87 in keeping teams off the line---BG is #330 in the nation at getting to the line.

On offense, UC has also been very effective.  They are #49 in offensive efficiency.  They do turn the ball over quite a bit, but beyond that shoot 57% from 2FG and are #36 in the nation on the offensive boards and #46 at getting to the line.  BG is #347 at allowing FTs.

UC is lead by Jarron Cumberland, Blue Ribbon's America East player of the year.  He's scoring 15.7 PPG but inefficiently...shooting 37% and 24%.  He's a 6'5" SR.  His numbers last year were better, so look for him to pick up the pace over the year.

Chris Vogt is their second leading scorer.  He's a 7'1" JR scoring 11.8 PPG on 73% shooting adding 7.5 RPG.  He came from NKU and was supposed to sit out but won the NCAA's Magicwaiver Lottery.  Keith Williams, a 6'5" JR is also scoring about 11 PPG on 52% shooting. 

Other players...Cumberland has a cousin (Jaevin who comes off the bench, grad transfer from Oakland).  Tre Scott (6'8" SR) gets 9.5 RPG.

It will be interesting to see.  Clearly, UC is a high-quality team playing well on both ends of the floor.  BG had a day to get ready and why not?  It would be a huge win for BG.  Right now, UC is ranked ahead of LSU...can't wait to see.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Falcons Top Toppers (2/2)

So, looking at the don't win a lot of games that look like this.  You get out-shot, you are even on turnovers (and your turnovers are up and WKU's are down) and you give up way more free throw attempts...this is not the chart where the orange team wins very often.

How did it happen?  A couple things.  First, that offensive rebounding was key.  In a 74 possession game, BG had 6 additional multi-chance possessions.

Also, and this is a little oddity of the basketball game...all of those fouls by BG also caused WKU to get fewer FG attempts.  BG shot 15 more FGs than WKU did.

Here's the interesting thing.  WKU shot 54% on an effective field goal percent...and they only shot 61% from the line.  In essence, all those BG fouls converted FG attempts into FT attempts and WKU was barely more effective at the line than they were from the field.  In fact, if you're going to shoot that poorly from the line, you'd be better off not getting fouled.

So, with those 15 extra attempts, BG shot a lower percentage but out-scored WKU 70-58 on FGS.  Also, BG shot 70% from the line, so despite taking 18 fewer FTS, they were only outscored by 10.

BG won the game with 3FGs.  They shot 47.6% from 3, a total they bettered only three times last season.  Their 2FGs are awful.  BG made only 42% of its 2FGs.  For the year in D1 games we are 340th in the country on 2FGs.

WKU meanwhile shot 61% from 2 FG but only 29% from 3.

So, individually...I mean, Justin Turner is just a beast.  He scored 27 points on 10 of 19 and 2 of 5 shooting...a win in any league.  He made all 5 of his Fts, added 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.  And he made the shot you had to have and a decisive performance on the defensive end as well. 

This young man is a great player.  He's the best we've had in years, certainly outside of the post if you think about Richaun Holmes.  He's the best scorer we've had since Keith McLeod and probably the best player since then.  He's best in the big games, he is consistent and he seems to be getting even better.  And, he made the shot we had to have and that's not something you can measure.

Dylan Frye also had a huge night.  He played only 8 minutes in the first half due to fouls.  (Coach Huger is one of the most conservative coaches in the country when it comes to playing players with 2's been measured).  He came out in the second half and had 8 points in the first 3 minutes.  In all, he scored 19 on 7 of 15 and 5 of 7 shooting.  He had 19 points in 27 minutes, playing almost the entire second half.

Those were BG's only double figure scorers.  Mattos had 7 rebounds and Plowden 6.

I don't think that tells the whole story.  I believe depth played a role in this win.  WKU's starters played 83% of the minutes.  BG's starters played 70% and BG went 11 deep as opposed to WKU's 8.  I don't think it's any coincidence that BG ended both halves with big runs.  Also, having the depth to survive first half foul trouble and be down 1 and then have a fresh Dylan Frye for the entire second half...that matters.

Anyway, it's a very big win for the boys.  I'm PUMPED for this season...and for Sunday night.  Why not us?

Falcons Top 'Toppers (1/2)

Since the schedule came out, I have been pointing to this game...WKU is a very good team...they'd be a competitor for the MAC Title, they have an outstanding big man who is going to play in the NBA and they have a winning tradition.  Playing them on a neutral floor was always going to be a big test and one to look forward to.  It's a game that the best team in the MAC should be able to win.

And BG prevailed.  It was a great game--a great game--and a thriller right down to the end.  BG absorbed a lot of blows, kept the game in touch and then made the right charge at the right time...and I believe taking advantage of superior depth to be strong at the end of the game.

Everyone's phrase last night was that it was a game of runs.  It certainly was.  After some initial skirmishing, BG went on a 14-0 run to take a 14-point lead mid-way through the first half.  WKU fought right back with a 26-5 run to lead by 7 with 2 minutes left in the half.  They led by 7 with a minute left and then BG went on a 6-0 run in the last minute to trail by one.  Note the previous comment about depth...and, the last basket was Justin Turner scoring with :01 left.  Crazy.

On to the second half.  BG came out hot and had a 5-point lead 3 minutes in.  Over the next five minutes, WKU went on a 18-6 run to lead by 7.  At that point, it was 62-55.

Here's what you are looking for.  How does BG respond?  In the past, we have struggled in situations like this.  Good teams run right back up the hill in the face of the headwind.  BG scored the next 6 points to take the lead again with 10 left.

But it wasn't done.  WKU led by 7 again with 5 minutes left.  You start to think, do we have the legs to close a gap like that again?  

So note was 74-67 at that point.

WKU has two shots at the basket to extend the lead but BG gets the stop, Plowden with the board.

Frye for 3.  74-70 with 3:47 left.

Bassey turns it over and Fields scores, 74-72 with 3:01 left.

Then a point of high frustration.  BG gets 3 straight stops and has the ball three times with a one-possession deficit and fails to get a point.  You're just thinking, that's when you gotta be able to get a basket every time.

Frye fouled WKU and they are in the one-and-one and make the first but miss the second.  Now 75-72 with :41 left and it's not looking good.

BG comes down, Turner misses up close but BG is swarming the boards, gets 2 offensive rebounds and Fields ends up with the tip in and it's 75-74 with :12 left.

Here's a key point.  BG had bad foul issues in the first half.  Most of the team had 2 fouls.  That had been cleaned up and WKU was still in the 1-1 with :12 left.  How often do you see that?

So BG has to foul and they do.  WKU misses the front end, Justin Turner takes the board and he heads straight down the court and hits one of those patented floater shots and BG had the lead and WKU was unable to get anything done and the Falcons had the victory.  (More on Justin Turner later....I mean THIS GUY!)

So, with 5 minutes left, it was 74-67.  WKU scored ONE POINT in the last five minutes.  And BG scored 8.  In a game of runs, BG had the decisive one.

More on the numbers, but all credit to the team.  They delivered like a team that is building on last year and not leaving it as a fluke.  Very proud of our program.  Next up is a big challenge...UC...a team currently ranked ahead of LSU.  But, neutral floor...

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Hilltopper Preview

The Falcon MBB team is in the Virgin Islands preparing for some guys that will provide what I believe will be an excellent test for this team, which has high expectations.

The first one is going to be very interesting.  Western Kentucky (also from Bowling Green) is predicted to win Conference-USA and is currently ranked ahead of BG on kenpom (#83 to #102).  They are 4-0 with no real impressive wins and BG is 3-1 and that's with only one D1 win.  BG has had one real test so far, which is one more than WKU...but both teams are looking to establish the season.

This is not a normal non-conference opponent for BG.  The Falcons and the Hilltoppers have actually played 33 times.  It was actually a real rivalry in the 1950s with the two teams playing twice a year sometimes...Battle of the Bowling Greens, you get it.  So, WKU leads 23-10.  WKU won the last meeting and BG won the meeting before that.  Since 2000, the teams have split four games.

WKU was 20-14 last year and 11-7 in CUSA.  The year before that they were 27-11 with a four-game run in the NIT.  They lost only one starter from last year's team, returned their top four scorers and added some significant transfers.

The guy BG most has to watch out for is their SO C Charles Bassey.  He was first team all-conference as well as Freshman of the Year AND Defensive player of the year.  He's 6'11, averaged a double-double last year and so far this year, shot 63% and averaged over 2 blocks a game.  He's a top flight post player and will be a challenge for the Falcons.

Their leading scorer is Carson Williams, a 6'5" JR who was Mr. Basketball in KY.  He went to Northern Kentucky originally.  He's averaging 17.5 PPG on 68% shooting, about 6 RPG.

Their third leader scorer (Bassey is 2nd) is Tavieon Hollingsworth, a 6'2" JR who is scoring 13PPG on 52% shooting, plus 4 apg.

Their fourth double-figure scorer is Carmon Justice, a grad transfer who is also a former Mr. Basketball in Kentucky.  He's scoring 12.8 PPG on 50% shooting.

There you have four players who can efficiently score with the basketball, at least to date this season.

And again, they haven't played anybody yet.

Having said that, they are scoring at 1.06 points per possession, which is 59th in the country.  They are the 8th best shooting team in the country...60% on EFG, 61% on 2FG and 39% on 3FG.  They are also #18 on the offensive boards and #8 in getting to the line.  Their only weakness on offense is that they turn the ball over on 25% of their possessions.

Defensively, they are much nearer to average.  They do force turnovers and are very difficult to shoot the 3FG against.  They are not great on their own defensive boards.

One note is that after Bussey they are not big.  Most of their 4 minutes go to a guy who is 6'5", so that might give BG a matchup advantage here and there.  This WKU team looks very good--yes, their games to date are not great tests.  But, to win the MAC Championship, this is the lane BG will need to swim in.  I look forward to seeing this neutral floor game unfold.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Loeffler Presser: Never had a clearer picture Loeffler's presser was something else last night.  I don't think he would have argued with Gibby's "Rock Bottom" assessment.  He sat at this angle for almost the entire 5 minutes.  He had his jaw set and a scowling frown on his face.  He barely moved his head.

Let's parse.

I felt like the key part was the part that should run if you hit play set the the previous answer he said he had been here "11 months and 21 days" and "never had a more clear picture of what we need to do."

He was asked a follow-up question, which you couldn't really hear, but the jist appears to be about how did you get this clarity.

And then he says. something about watching and listening...and then he takes an almost five-second pause and starts the sentence above...

"Trying to get people to go in the standards and expectations, coddling, tapping them on the rear end...that's not happening anymore, we're either going to do it or we're not.  Period.  End."

So, that's a mic-drop.  What I hear in there is that there are holdover players that they have been trying to get to buy in and the coaches have tried to be patient with them because we have numbers issues and we need guys.

Here's the thing.  You'd like to improve over the course of the year.  You understand the team is not a winning team, but it is frustrating to essentially play the Kent game over again in mid-November.

Coach also mentioned that there are issues you don't even see on the field--essentially, it's worse than what you see on the field.

I'm gathering Coach feels the same way, based on that.  And, for those players who have been "coddled," it sounds to me that if they aren't going to do what Loeffler is looking for they will be expected to move on.

So if that's the clear idea he has, it further impacts the numbers, but implied in all this talk about numbers is you need 85 guys who are bought in, not 85 guys with 70 of them bought it...which is really just having 70 guys.

I know I hear some frustration in the Falcon Nation.  I just want people to be patient.  This was a terrible situation when Loeffler came in and it's not going to get better right away.  I wouldn't expect huge improvement in wins and losses next year, either.  Year 3, at the earliest.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

"Rock Bottom" at the Doyt

"Rock bottom" aren't my words originally, but rather came from John Gibson.  Not that I disagree.  It was ugly...OU beating BG 66-24...on the home field, the whole thing.

OU had 66 points on 61 plays and almost exactly 10 yards per play.  It's the most points given up this year by BG.  Sadly, you only have to go back a couple of years to where we gave up that many at home, so ironically you kind of wish it was more historic than it was.

For its part, OU hasn't scored that many points since 1976.  According to The Blade.  I'm sure it's right....that's not a good look for us.

It's a tough night. 

The first half wasn't too bad.  BG was running the ball effectively with Davon Jones back in the lineup, they were throwing it effectively and were still in the game despite a couple of fumbles.  But the 3rd Q was a complete nightmare, as OU had 260 yards (or something) and BG had 18.  That included a nearly effortless 99-yard drive.

The loss was bad enough.  The depressing thing is looking forward.  As Gibby also pointed out (and Coach Loeffler has reinforced), we could see more players in the transfer portal over the next year and the numbers issues continue to be an uphill slog.  Our guys do not have an easy job ahead of them...and next year is likely to look a lot like this year.

I guess the final way to look at it is this...the hole is as deep as we feared it was.

Monday, November 18, 2019

25 Disappointed Questions

What is their body of work?

Disappointing.  On one hand, OU football has never in its history enjoyed a sustained period of success like they are now.  On the other hand, they have still never won the MAC Championship Game and won't this year, despite having coaching stability and quality any program would die for.  This year, they were picked to win the East and the conference title, and they will not.  In fact, they need to beat BG and AK just to have a shot at a bowl game.  Which they probably will...but still, this is another disappointing what-if season in Athens.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 25, which is typical.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

None.  No one.

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are -8, all games, which explains everything, or a lot.


How is their QB play? (MAC Only, from here on)

See, this was part of the thing.  Nathan Rourke was the most efficient passer in the MAC last year and the #17 rusher.  He was the best returning QB and that makes you a favorite.  This year, he just hasn't been the same.  He's still good, but not the same.  In 18, he completed 66% of his passes with a 13/4 ratio and 15 yards per completion, while this year it's 62% on 7/2 and 13.3 per completion...noting that there are still two games left.  He is also their leading rusher--5.7 a carry and a shot at a 1,000 yard season.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are 5th in the MAC in scoring and 2nd in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

They are 4th in yards per rush.  OU is typically a run-first team.  They lost Oulette, but they have Allison and Tuggle averaging 5 yards per carry.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, they are in the middle of the pack in passing offense.  Isaiah Cox is their leading WR.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run a lot, 63%.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

They do.  They lead the MAC at 54%

Do they score in the red zone?

They average 5.6 points per trip, which is very good (all games)

Do they protect the quarterback?

They give up sacks on 8.7% of their passing attempts...that's a lot.


The defense is not what OU typically has had.  I know some people are wondering if that's because their DC (Burrow) retired to watch his son win the Heisman Trophy.  No idea if that's the case or not.  OU has incredibly stable coaching, I do know that.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play

They are 8th in points per game allowed and 9th in yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 6th at 4.8 per carry.

Can they be passed on?

They can.  They are 10th in pass efficiency defense.  They allow 64% completions and have only 1 INT on the year.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are 11th at 48%

Do they defend in the red zone? (all games)

They allow 5 points per trip, which is pretty normal.

Do they pressure the QB?

Not really, they get sacks on 5.6% of their plays.

Special Teams:


They are 9nd in net punting. 

Punt Return?

Nothing too special, they have a long return of 19

Placekicking? (all games)

Zervos has kicked here forever.  He's perfect inside 40 and is 4 of 8 outside 40.  Long of 49.


Opponents start on the 25.

Kickoff Return? (all games)

They start on the 24.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

On paper, this should be a game OU expects to win.  The question is how motivated are they to gut out a 6-6 season and get to a bowl game, maybe.  The other question is how motivated they have to be against an undermanned and beat up Falcon team. OU doesn't have a great defense but I don't know if BG has the firepower to take advantage.  I believe BG will play hard and if OU shows up not interested in playing, we would have a shot.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Past and Future Opponent Land

Morgan State (3-8)  Beat "VU Lynchburg" to finish season.
Kansas State (6-4) Upset by Doege-led Mountaineers, I swear to God
La Tech (8-2) Lost to Marshall
Kent (4-6) CRAZY comeback, beat UT
Notre Dame (8-2)--Beat Navy
Toledo (6-3) beat Kent
CMU (7-4) Big comeback to win @Ball State, stay alive
WMU (7-4) Won @OU, one game from West title
Akron (0-9) Lost 42-14 to EMU in Akron
Miami (6-4) Beat BG, clinched East
Ohio (4-6) Lost to WMU...disappointing season in Athens
Buffalo (5-5) Gives up 24 in last 8 minutes to lose to Kent

East vs. West:  7-7 East
MAC vs P5:  (1-21)
MAC vs. G5:  (6-9)
MAC vs. FCS: (11-0)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Falcons Roll Over Fairmont State

The Falcons did what they expected to do, beating Fairmont State 88-66 in a school-day game at the Stroh.  In case you were upset they played a game when most of us couldn't go, it's worth noting they drew 3,300 which is double what they probably would have drawn last night...not sure what anyone paid, but seems like a successful experiment to me.

I listened to some of the game via Todd Walker and the screaming wasn't even too bad.

BG jumped into a big lead and then Fairmont began to make some plays and the lead got into the low teens and was 13 three minutes into the second half and then BG went on an 11-0 run to close the door.

Everybody played.  Justin Turner scored 16 on 7 of 10 shooting in 24 minutes.  Trey Diggs has 11 on 2 of 2 3FG shooting and 6-6 at the line...made every shot he took and added 6 rebounds.  Fields had 10, Frye had 10, Plowden had 10 rebounds.

BG is 3-1.  We're going to find out a lot coming up next week.  The team heads to the Virgin Islands to play in the Paradise Jam.

They'll play Western Kentucky in the first game.  Blue Ribbon tabs them as the C-USA favorite, so the MAC favorite and the C-USA favorite playing on a neutral floor is a legit mid-major event. 

The next round is Cincinnati (picked #2 in the American) or Illinois State, a mid-level MVC team.  The third game would be one of the four teams in the top bracket above.

Anyway, this is an excellent test for our team.  I look very forward to following it.

In case you are curious, Todd Walker will be on site providing game descriptions.  The games will be on FloHoops which you can check out's a paid service.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Football Verbal

BG has another football verbal, this one is Jeremiah Banks-Wall, from Mortini Catholic in Lombard, IL.  He is projected by 24/7 to be an OT and he's rated a 2-star.  They list offers from Arkansas State, Syracuse, Eastern Illinois, Illinois State and Southern Illinois.

They list him at 6'6" and 250, his twitter bio says 265.  So, probably the right frame for a prototypical OT, but needs some building up.  He did play both ways.  Here's a short interview with Lemming where he talks about who had been contacting him.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jeremiah!

A little additional recruiting commentary...I think it is entirely possible we added Jeremiah and Troy Rainey to our class to address issues with offensive lineman with the two transfers this week. 

My opinion only, but I don't think you can win the MAC unless you are effective up front on both sides of the ball.

As for numbers...I have BG with 29 verbals, counting this one.  The limit is 25, as we all are now well aware.

A couple notes.  Some of these guys may be preferred walk ons.  They announce they are committing but they are committing as a PWO.

Also, some of these guys may have de-committed or might no longer be coming to BG for whatever reason.  There are no de-commits listed on 24/7, but with some of the below-the-radar guys, they might not have picked that up.

24/7 lists BG with 24 commits, counting Banks-Wall.

The players I have that are not on their list are...

Anthony Hawkins, Matthew Paull, Shon Strickland, Dylan Walker and Myles Williamson.

I look at all their twitter feeds and I didn't see any reason to think they were no longer coming to BG.

Here's the deal.  I don't have any sources.  I deal with publicly available information and this is what that is.  It will all be revealed in about a month.

And don't worry about it...the coaches know the rules and can count to 25.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Fairmont State Preview

Friday morning BG has Fairmont State coming into the Stroh.  This is one of those morning games that is designed for school kids on a "field trip" and if games at Fifth Third Field are any indication, they involve high decibel sustained screaming for most of the game.

Fairmont State is in West Virginia.  They are a DII team and they aren't bad.  They are also the Falcons, but do not be confused.  We're the ones in orange and brown.

A few notes.

  • Last year they were 22-9, 18-4 in their conference.
  • They made the DII national tournament but lost in the first round
  • They were picked 3rd in the Mountain East this year
  • This is despite losing two 1,000 point scorers to graduation.
  • They have a new coach--Tim Koenig.  He previously coached at Notre Dame College.
  • They are 2-0 this year.
  • They are led in scoring by Cole VanderHoff at 23.5 per game.  He's a 6'2" G shooting 52% and 46%.  They have 3 other players averaging in double figures and have topped 85 (free fries!) in both of their games.
  • They are shooting 45% and 36%, which is pretty good and have only 11 turnovers per game.
  • D1 games...they opened with George Washington and lost by 20+ a couple years ago.  Similarly with UC a couple years before that.  In general, they don't play many D1 games.

Miami Thumps BG

Not much to write about here.  Miami beat BG 44-3.  Miami started out cold and made a couple turnovers that BG failed to turn into points (well, turned into 3 points) and from there Miami was off to the races.  It was 37-3 at halftime.

The stats are what you would expect.  Miami had 8.2 yards per play and BG had 3.8.

A couple points, though.

First, I am in admiration of our guys for the fight in them.  This cannot be easy but they were flying around the field until the end.  Obviously, everybody would like to be winning more, but these guys are representing important qualities of our program and University, including grit and resilience. 

Second, I want to specifically call out Bryson Denley.  This dude is a warrior.  He ran a guy over in the second half.  One, he's not that big and two, we were down by over 30 points when he did it.  He is forced to be on the field all the time--which backs are rarely called on to do--and he ran for 105 yards on 14 carries plus he led the team with 3 catches for 33 yards.  He's giving us everything he's got--as are many others.  As a fan who, god willing, will still be in my seats when this thing turns around, I appreciate it.

Falcon MBB Signs Three to NLI

Yesterday was NLI day and the Falcons have signed the three players they expected to can see them above and there's a link to BGSU's official release.  In the sidebar on the left you can find the information we used to develop their original profiles.

Just a general comment.  To win the MAC, you have to be in the title conversation often...way more often than not.  To do that, you need to bring in talent year and year.  It has been well documented that BG had very few, if any, recruiting classes between the return of Dakich and the end of Orr/Jans that brought a critical mass of talent to the program.  I think we're recruiting well now and you can see it on the floor and I think this class fits the bill as well.  These young men are winners and highly sought recruits.  Only time will tell in the end, but I'm optimistic about the future of our program.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

BG Football verbal

Signing day is coming up on December 18...right around the corner.  You can see BG's commits in the sidebar to the left...those are all still good as far as I know.  A couple of guys have been taking visits...when you get good players you have to hang onto them. 

With that, BG has a new verbal.  Young man is Troy Rainey from Bridgeport CT.  According to 247, he had 3 FCS offers and one from UMass.  He's listed as 6'5" and 300 pounds, which is obviously the size you'd like to see. 

As an aside, he plays at Warren Harding HS, which seems like an odd name for a school in CT.  They are known as The Presidents.

Welcome to the Falcons, Troy.

Blade on BG numbers issues

NickP has the latest from the BG football program, and it is safe to say that when it rains it pours.  (Or snows).

Here's a direct quote:

Two offensive linemen — freshman Grant Abbott and redshirt sophomore Zach Dziengelewski — both left the team, according to Bowling Green. Redshirt senior Charles Lamar, who shuttled between running back and linebacker during his time at BG, also left the program.
For those keeping score at home, Grant Abbott was a true FR G from St. Ignatius who never played. Dziengelewski played at Swanton and did get in five games this year.  Lamar has played for BG, but never found a positional home.

Those losses are on top of the ones we had over the off-season, along with Nunn-Lidell and James Harris during the season.

It's just tough.  You're at 70 scholarship players BEFORE injuries.  And then the guys you are going to lose through normal graduation...and Loeffler seems to understand other players will leave as well--which should not be surprising.  This is a very different football experience than existed here under the previous regimes.

We can only bring in 25 guys in each class, so your numbers won't be right until the second class...if not the third.

Just a reminder.  We're in bad shape.  Loeffler told The Blade that BG needs three great recruiting classes in a row--we literally can't afford to miss on anyone.  If we do that, we will have righted the ship.  In the meantime, it's going to continue to be tough times.

25 Oxfordian Questions

What is their body of work?

Weird stuff seems to happen when BG and Miami play
Miami is one of the MAC's original football powers...except for the last decade or so.  They were a real power when Terry Hoeppner left after 2003 season, but since then have had only two winning seasons and won 2 or fewer games 5 times.  Their current coach is from the Brian Kelly tree, but he's 22-24 over the last four years.  The Redhawks are 5-4 this year, but in the driver's seat to win the MAC East after beating OU last week.  If they beat BG and Akron, they will be in their first MAC Championship game since 2010.  They have won 3 in a row (OU, NIU, KSU) as well as wins over TN Tech and Buffalo.  Their losses are to WMU, Iowa, UC and OSU.  BG has won 4 of the last 6 in the series.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

They have 24, which is typical.

Who are their statistical leaders? (Top 20 Nationally)

Sam Sloman is a stud kicker.  He's #8 in the nation in FG/game
Maurice Thomas is #6 in punt returns.

What is their turnover ratio? 

They are +4, all games.


How is their QB play? (MAC Only, from here on)

He's not bad, not great.  Their whole offense, in fact, is not great.  Gabbert is #5 in the MAC in efficiency.  He completes a very low percentage...53%, but they get 13.6 per completion, indicating higher risk passes.  He has 4 TDs over 3 INT.

What is their scoring and yards per play

They are 8th in the MAC in scoring offense and 10th with 5.1 yards per play.  BG is 11th in both.

Can they run the ball?

Not really, no.  They are 9th in rushing at 3.8 yards per carry, which is lower than BG's.  Their lead back is Bester, who gets 4.0 per rush, and Tyre Shelton averages 5.3.

Do they pass the ball?

As noted, they are good but not great.  They do have 3 WRs averaging over 19 yards per reception.

How is their run/pass balance?

They run a lot, 61%.

Do they convert on 3rd Down?

Not to be forgotten.  This is from my senior year. BG was
undefeated, Brian McClure was injured and Rick Nieman
(seen here) was at the helm.  BG recovered two onside kicks
to cap a furious rally to win.  To this day remains the most
exciting sporting event I ever watched.
They are second to last at 29%, which is really bad.  That's worse than BG.

Do they score in the red zone?

They average 4.6 points per trip, which is poor (all games)

Do they protect the quarterback?

They give up sacks on 7% of their passing attempts...that's a little above average.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play

So, they're going to win the East and the offense isn't that good...must be the defense.  That would be correct.  Miami is #3 in scoring defense and #2 in yards per play allowed.  This will be a big test for a BG offense that lacks a lot of high-powered weapons.

Do they defend the run effectively?

They are 5th at 4.5 yards per carry.

Can they be passed on?

Not easily.  They are second in the MAC.  They allow 54% completions at 9.9 yards per completion, both very good numbers.  They've allowed 5 TDs and 4 INT.

Do they get off the field on 3rd down?

They are middle of the pack at 44%.

Do they defend in the red zone? (all games)

They allow 5 points per trip, which is pretty normal.

Do they pressure the QB?

They get sacks on 7.3% of their pass plays which is a little bit above average.

Special Teams:


They are 2nd in net punting at 41.5

Punt Return?

As mentioned, Maurice Thomas is a national leader with 13.5 per return and a 30 long, which means he's getting consistent production.

Placekicking? (all games)

You want to talk kicking.  Sam Sloman is the next coming.  He is 14 of 16 with a 53-yarder outdoors in November to put the OU game away.  We are not worthy.


Opponents start on the 24.

Kickoff Return? (all games)

No idea where they start but they also have Maurice Thomas returning here.  He's less effective on KOR.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

So, on paper you'd expect BG to really struggle to move the ball against Miami.  The Redhawks have it all right in front of them, but they're not great and they are coming off a big win.  You know, no surprise, you'd expect the RedHawks to be pretty big favorites, but this is one of those times that something weird could happen on a dark November evening in front of (likely) a relatively empty stadium.

Falcons Sail Past Dolphins

Everything went as expected in Miami...316 people (officially) cheered on BG's sizable Florida contingent as they built a 12 point lead with 9 minutes left in the first half and never saw the lead get inside.  It never got inside 10 again and in the second half never got closer to 14.  This is what you'd expect from the Falcons, and it was achieved, 75-59.

BG scored 1.07 points per possession, which is a good number and above the NCAA average.  They achieved that with respectable shooting and their normally very good control of the ball.  If sustained, that's a winning combination.  On defense, they worked the opposite levers...JU shot very poorly, turned the ball over a lot and scored .83 points per possession.

What kept JU in the game at all was FTs.  They were 20 of 27 while BG was 11 of 11.  Without that +9 it's a total blow out.

BG shot 49% and 37%, the first just a little below average and the second above average.  For JU, it was 29% on 2FG and 37% on 3FG.  Obviously, the first number is dreadful.

Justin Turner led BG was 15 points.  He struggled a little at 5 of 14 and 3 of 4, but added 11 rebounds and 8 assists.  Trey Diggs had 12 on 4 of 6 from 3FG, which is obviously very efficient.  Marlon Sierra had 11 on 4 of 6 and 1 of 2 shooting (also very efficient, plus 5 rebounds) and Plowden had 11 on 3 of 5 and 1 of 2 shooting and 3 blocked shots.

BG played pretty small for the game, which might partly explain the rebounding stats.  Mattos played 9 minutes and Swingle played 12.

BG moves to 2-1.  They play Fairmont State on Friday in the morning in front of screaming school children...more on that game later.  Fairmont is a decent team at the DII level.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Past and Future Opponent Land

Morgan State (2-8)  Beat NC A&T
Kansas State (6-3) lost to Texas
La Tech (8-1) Smoked N Texas
Kent (3-6) Lost to UT
Notre Dame (7-2)--Beat Duke
Toledo (6-3) beat Kent
CMU (6-4) Idle
WMU (6-4) beat BSU
Akron (0-8) Idle
Miami (5-4) Beat Ohio, in control of East
Ohio (4-5) Lost to Miami, will struggle for bowl eligibility
Buffalo (5-4) Idle

East vs. West:  7-5 East
MAC vs P5:  (1-21)
MAC vs. G5:  (6-9)
MAC vs. FCS: (11-0)

BG Finishes Road Trip in Miami Against Jacksonville

Yes, it's a little strange.  No, Jacksonville is not near Miami.  And yes...we mean it when we say we will schedule a game in your hometown if you play for us.  The crowd may consist strictly of friends and families, but we promised it and we got it done.  The game will be played at the Watco Center, where the Hurricanes play.

The game is with Jacksonville, not Jacksonville State.  They are the Dolphins.  In 1970, they played UCLA in the national final, spurred on by Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore.  There's an assistant coach who claims now that the Dolphin coaches were told they weren't going to be allowed to win...take that for what it is worth.

Anyway, BG has only played Jacksonville once, and that was in 1989, also on a neutral floor...this one in Providence.  BG won by 12.

The Dolphins play in the Atlantic Sun, the 20th ranked conference.  They were 12-20 last year and are picked to be 6th/7th out of 8 or 9 (depending on how you count N. Alabama) in the Atlantic Sun.

They lost 2 of their 5 starters from last year and five total transfers at all.  They lost more than half of their total offensive production.  For the cherry on the sundae, their leading returning scorer, Tyrese Davis, is out with a knee injury suffered last year and hasn't played this year, though for all I knew he could be back for this game.

They are 1-1 this year.  They lost to Xavier and beat Johnson (in the NCCAA).

They have 2 players scoring in double figures.  Their leading scorer is 5'10: G Aamahne Santos, who is scoring 18 on 61% and 54% shooting.  The big surprise is Bryce Workman, who averaged 1.9 last year, is averaging 15 and 9 rebounds off the bench in 18 minutes a game.  David Bell is averaging 9.5 RPG and JUCO transfer Destin Barnes is scoring 9.5 per game.

Last year, they played the 2nd fastest tempo in A-Sun.  They were #4 in offense and #6 in defense.  They were a decent shooting team, especially on 2FGs and they were good on the offensive boards, but they also lost front court players and might not be as strong.

Anyway, it's an odd one that BG should certainly win.  It isn't 1970.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Falcons Battle Hard, Lose at LSU

It was a strong effort, just not enough to get BG the big upset win.  Even so, they stuck with a top-25 team on the road and had their chances...and I think the result validates our hopes for this season.  Time will tell all on that and the results won't lie, but I'm overall encouraged.

Also Dylan Swingle.  More later.

BG came out strong and actually led 20-15 with 12 left in the first half.  Alas, BG went into an awful cold streak with the shot, allowing LSU to score 19 straight points over 6 minutes.  With 4 minutes left they were up 39-24...and this is a point of maximum danger.  Last 4 minutes of a half, on the road, on your back foot...there's a shot you end up over 20 at the half.

But that didn't happen.  BG punched back with a 12-4 run to get the lead back to 7, gave up an unfortunate and-one in the last seconds and went to the locker room down 10, but still in the game.

BG continued the momentum in the second half, going on a 10-5 run to get the lead to 5 with the ball about five minutes in.  BG missed on their next possession and LSU scored the next 8 points to go back up over 10.  It stayed over 10 from about 12 minutes to 5 minutes, when Plowden hit a 3FG to get BG within 8.  BG needed a stop, but instead Dylan Frye fouled out on the next possession and LSU was off and running, stretching the lead back up to 13 with 3 minutes left.

BG continued to battle, getting the lead back inside of 10 points a couple of times, but LSU always responded with points and that was the end of it.  A final of 88-79, with BG outscoring LSU in the second half.

Again, there are no moral victories.  But BG didn't quit, didn't turn on themselves as they have done in the past, and they punched back in a difficult environment.  LSU is just better than us.

So, first of all, the game was played at 80 possessions, which is a FAST game.  BG played only 2 D1 games faster than that last year.  I'd say the numbers show us that BG's offense was the largest reason the Falcons didn't get the win.  To be sure, LSU got 1.1 points per possession, which is higher than we would like.  Still, I'll bet they finish the season over that level.

BG had .99 points per possession, which is below the NCAA average and rarely a winnable number.  BG was 1-9 last year when scoring .99 points per possession or less.  BG had an EFG of 41%, which would be among their five worst shooting performances last year.  BG made only 25% of its 2 FGS, which is just awful.  You have to go back to the Duquesne game in 2010 to find a worse 2FG shooting game, and that team was on its way to 14-19.

BG's 3FG shooting was 40%, which is above average and a good number in today's game.

BG stayed in the game despite this shooting by taking great care of the ball, with turnovers on just 11% of its possessions.  When looking at rebounding, this is a good example of how tempo-free stats give a clearer picture.  On the totals, LSU outrebounded BG significantly, but that's because BG missed so many shots they were able to rack up bushels of boards.  BG actually won the rebounding battle narrowly, which also bodes well.

As you can see, LSU got to the line a lot, which is often the sign of a team that's overmatched.  LSU got to the line and made shot 34 FTs, making 27 for 79%.  BG was 17 of 21 for 81%, also helping the Falcons stay in the game.

LSU shot well, as you can see.  They made 51% on 2FGs and 39% on 3FG, both above average numbers.  However, they turned the ball over too much and didn't have a great day on the boards, keeping them from converting their good FG and FT shooting into a really big offensive night.

Individually, Justin Turner certainly proved he can play at this level.  He scored 26 on 10 of 19 and r4 of 7 shooting, a highly efficient night.  Also, 6 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals.  Caleb Fields had 17 on 4 of 10 and 4 of 7, a solid offensive night.  Dylan Frye had a less efficient 15 points, on 5 of 16 and 2 of 9 shooting, though he also had 5 assists.

Taylor Mattos had 12 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.  He's not doing much on the offensive end, but he is providing rebounding the team badly needs.

With Fields back, neither Ziegler nor Chandler Turner appeared in the game.

But you know who did appear?  Dylan Swingle.  BG actually had the NCAA Star Chamber/Magic 8-ball belch out a favorable decision, and Dylan will begin one of his four seasons at BG now.

It's pretty big.  Coach has really been talking him up, and he clearly steps in at the team's biggest open area.  He only played 6 minutes (in his college debut), but as that ratchets up, I think there's reason to think BG can have a really solid post presence with Swingle and Mattos.  I think Swingle increases BG's shot at making the NCAAs significantly, but time will tell.

BG now travels to Miami to play Jacksonville, a game scheduled to prove that we will get you a game in your hometown if you play for us.  We should look for BG to win that one on a neutral floor

Meanwhile, BG will not play another road game until January 11.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

LSU Preview

So BG makes its first foray into P5 land since we played Wisconsin back in the Orr Times.  The Falcons have played some teams that would qualify as P5 if basketball had such a thing--such as UC and Xavier.  However, this is the first major conference team.

And they are a good one.  Last year, they won the SEC and made the Sweet Sixteen.  Of course, you are aware of the coaching controversy with Will Wade--which appeared to be a shitshow on everyone's part--but he's back now and on the bench at LSU.

This will be their regular season opener.  Blue Ribbon picks them to be 8th in the SEC this year but kenpom has them in a grouping behind Kentucky and Florida.

They lost 3 starters off that team.  They return two guards who were all-SEC pre-season...Skylar Mayes who is first team (13.4 PPG) and Javante Smart, who is second team (11.1 PPG as a FR).  They have also added a 6'9" 5-star FR big man named Trendon Watford.  Wade told Blue Ribbon that Watford could play anywhere from 1-5.  Also, they traveled to Spain and Watford went with the team, so he has played with them a little bit.

He will be interesting to watch. 

LSU was the #12 most efficient offense in D1 last year at 1.18 per possession.  Interesting, they were not a great shooting team (#149) or at protecting the ball (#138).  They were, however, #9 at offensive rebounding and #64 at getting to the line and #35 at FT%.  They were downright poor from 3FG, but made up for it by making 52% over the 2FGs, probably assisted by those offensive rebounds...and forcing turnovers, which they did on one-in-five opponent possessions, which is in the top 20% of the country.

Wade worked with Shaka Smart and my understanding is he pressures half-court like Louisville did under Rick Pitino.  They were #59 in the nation in defense last year.  In addition to the turnovers, they were above average in defending the shot and about average in not putting opponents on the line.  They defended the 2FG and the 3FG effectively.

They played at 70 possessions per game, which is above average.  According to the local paper, they are switching to a motion offense rather than using ball screens to break down defenses.

Anyway, that's a preview of the Tigers, who very likely are a tournament team.  It will be interesting to see how BG reacts.  You'd expect to see BG bring their very best game and try to pressure the Tigers, much as they did with St. John's this year.  It won't be easy--this is a good team, but things like this do happen.

Geaux Falcons!

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Falcons Do the Expected Against Tiffin

You put a team like Tiffin on the schedule...I get it, you need games and you'd like a couple games you know you're going to win.  That's long as you actually take care of business and win easily.  Which BG did, 94-73.

As a counterpoint, we can look back to the Lake Erie College game a couple of years ago.

I wasn't able to attend last night, but reviewing The Blade and the stats, it appears BG won easily while playing a less than perfect game.   BG was up 15 in the first half but struggled with turnovers.  With 8 minutes left, TU had it to 6 but BG closed the half out 25-10 to head into the locker room up 21.  The lead bounced between 17 and 26 for the second half before BG won by 21.

A few general notes.

Mattos started at C and had 15 rebounds in 17 minutes on a big height advantage.  Also 3 fouls in the same minutes. BG out-rebounded the Dragons 44-24.

Gadson and Fields DNP again.  Coach told The Blade that Fields would back for the LSU game on Friday.

Turner played 29 minutes and Plowden 30, which kind of surprised me.

Ziegler started in Caleb's spot.  Beyond that, the biggest surprise was Matiss playing 13 minutes again.  If he's able to produce off the bench, it's a huge advantage for this team.

So, an LSU preview coming tomorrow.  BG is off to an expected 1-0 start. more thing.  The Dylan Swingle eligibility waiver is still hanging out there.  No decision has been made.  Here we go that would be a big game changer.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Tiffin Comes to Town

So, for the second straight year, BG will open with the Tiffin Dragons at the Stroh.  Last year, BG bolted out to a 21-4 lead and beat the TU 91-52.

Quick preview here...they went on to be 10-18 last year and they are picked to finish #10 in the Great Midwest Conference, which is the same conference Findlay is in.

They have played once this year, pressing IUPUI before losing 81-77.  The game was within a bucket in the last minute of the game.  (FWIW, IUPUI is predicted to finish in the bottom tier of the Horizon.)

They play up-tempo ball.  Last year, they led the Great Midwest in scoring but finished last in defense.

Joshua Williams is considered one of the better scorers in their conference.  He had 14 against IUPUI on 3-11 shooting, but averaged 17.5 PPG last year.  He was a JUCO transfer.

Dalanio Walker had 15 in his Tiffin debut after transferring from a JUCO.

Jairus Stevens also scored in double figures.  He's an IPFW transfer and a native of (wait for it) Merrillville, IN.

As is often the case, the Dragons are small, with their post players being in the 6'6" range.