Thursday, December 31, 2020

Davin Zeigler no longer on MBB roster

Davin Zeigler is no longer listed on the BGSU basketball roster.

It isn't a huge shock.  After seeming to excel in filling the absence left by the quick departure of Dylan Frye last year, I think people had high hopes for him.  I assumed he would start this year, but he has not...he did not play more than 17 minutes in any game.  He played only 4 against Buffalo and did not play at all over the last two games.  I'm told he wasn't in the "oar" picture after the game.

Of course, we have no idea what's going on behind the scenes.  We had high hopes for him...he was clearly athletic and came from a family with a basketball DNA.  It appears that it hasn't worked out here but we have no idea what the bigger picture is.

Maybe this is a Frye-like situation and the whole thing will be a memory soon.

As I always say, you need a critical mass of good players to win the MAC. Having a guy like Zeigler to bring speed and energy--even off the bench--would help.  On the other hand, if it wasn't going to work out, it might as well be now.

BG has two scholarships open now.  Also, Zeigler and Chandler Turner came to BG together, and neither is making much of a contribution right now.

Best of luck to Davin.

BG MBB Wins MAC Road Opener

You're happy to get any road victory you can get in MAC play.  As I said before, we don't know how precious road victories will be, given the COVIDArena, but we will still take them any time we can get them.

BG caught a huge break without knowing it during an OU practice before this.  Jason Preston, one of the top players in the MAC so far this year was injured during practice and did not play.  Obviously, this makes them easier to beat--it didn't feel that way for a while, but there's no way they are as good without Preston as they are with him.

OU came out of the gate hard, motivated to win despite losing their best player.  They led 19-7 with 12 to go in the first half.  BG would peck away at the lead, but whenever they did OU would punch it back up again.  They led by 10+ at the 9-minute mark, the 3-minute mark and at the half.

With about a minute left they were up by 13.  BG had a 6% win probability at that point, according to KenPom.  That's the 45th lowest win probability a team has had and gone on to win this year.  (NIU's epic collapse in November against UIC is the year's one point, UIC had a .7% chance of winning.)

Anyway, BG came out with improved defense in the 2nd half.  It didn't change immediately.  The lead was still 10 with 14 minutes left in the game.  Finally, the Falcons got their traction.  Over the next 5 minutes, BG went on an 18-7 run to tie the game.  From there, it was a tight, entertaining one-possession game until the final sequence.

With 4 minutes left, Wilson scored to put OU up 2 at 74-72.  Mark that.

BG game down and Josiah Fulcher hit Diggs for a layup and the game was tied at 74.  BG got a stop and Diggs cleared the board.  The Falcons ran a tough sequence on offense, but Juice bailed them out, getting fouled in the paint and nailing both FTs.  With 2:43 left, BG was up 2.

OU turned the ball over and Juice hit Mektheny for a layup and BG was up 4 with 2:23 left.

OU turned the ball over again.  Next was what might have been the game's key possession.  BG had a possession with two offensive rebounds (the OU play by play doesn't make sense at this point, but they were struggling all day) and Turner was fouled with :55 left.  And made both FTs.  Anytime you can run 50%+ of the game off and then score is a dream scenario.

So, up 6 with less than a minute left.  At this point, we have a 94.7% chance of winning.

Vander Plas was fouled in a rebound melee and split his FTs.  With :28 left, Metheny was fouled and split his FTs.  Still up 6.  (Up to 99%).

BG got a last stop, Diggs cleared the board and made both the FTs and that was it, 83-75 victory for the Falcons.

I have always talked about those Dambrot Akron teams that were just ruthless in the last 4 minutes.  BG had that kind of performance.  In the last 4 minutes of the game, BG outscored OU 11-1.  That's how you close a game out on the road.

BG scored 51 points in the 2nd half and held OU to 33...both winning numbers.

The game was played at 68 possessions, which is slower than typical for BG.  Still, BG had 1.21 points per possession, which is outstanding.  That's two games in a row above 1.2.  BG topped that only three times all of last season--OU and both UT games.

Defense was not great.  BG allowed 1.1 points per possession. Interestingly, last year BG was 4-2 in games where they allowed 1.1 points per possession because they tended to be the games where they also had a big offensive night.  FWIW, BG held OU to 1 point per possession in the 2nd half, which is about the D1 average.

So look at the chart below?  What was the key part of the game, LOL.

Yes, BG won this game at the free throw line.  OU committed 23 fouls that led to a staggering 38 FT attempts for the Falcons.  And BG made 36 of them. Meanwhile, BG committed 17 fouls and OU shot only 12 FTs and made 9.  I doubt if any team in recent memory has been +29 at the line and lost a game.

A few things.  Plowden was fouled 5 times, Swingle 4 times and Turner...8 times.  And, by virtue of getting 1.7 foul shots for every OU foul, I'm assuming those were mostly shooting fouls.  Which means when BG was getting open shots, they were getting fouled...which has to impact overall shooting percentage.

Anyway, BG made them pay for that strategy.  

Here's what BGSU said about the free throws in a historic context.

It was a historic day at the free throw line for the Falcons, as BGSU came one make shy of setting a new school record. The Falcons went 36-of-38 (94.7 percent) from the charity stripe. The school record was set in a 2006 game versus Kent State, as BG went 34-of-35 (97.1 percent) from the free throw line.

The 36 free-throw makes are the most in a single game for Bowling Green since making 37 in a MAC Tournament win at Ball State on March 10, 2003. Incredibly, BG's 38 free-throw attempts are the most in a single game since its last MAC game, on Dec. 6, versus Buffalo. BGSU went 31-of-40 (77.5 percent) from the free throw line in the MAC opener.

BG is number 8 in the country in FT shooting at 81%.  They don't lead the MAC...Akron is at 82.4%,

Trey Diggs led the way for BG.  He made 3s when BG was struggling offensively in the first half and he was rock solid for the whole game.  He scored 20 points, shot 4 of 8 from 3FG, made all 6 FTs, had 7 rebounds and 2 steals in 25 minutes.  If that might interest you.

Kaden Metheny had 16.  He's a gamer.  He shot 2 of 4 from 2FG and from 3FG, 6-7 at the line and 8 rebounds.  He's an interesting PG in that he seems to be effective and yet has 8 assists in 8 games.  He had none yesterday.  He has 14 turnovers, which isn't terrible given being a FR and the minutes he is playing.  Turner is actually the one creating opportunities, with over 5 assists per game, #3 in the MAC and #55 in the country.

Justin Turner had 15 points, 9 of them at the line.  He added 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 turnovers.

Plowden had 11 with 9 FTs and 1 FG.  Also, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 turnovers.

And Dylan Swingle got rolling.  Literally, as BG was able to get the roll action of the ball screen going.  This would surely be nice moving forward as teams are hedging Turner hard off the screens and you'd think this would be open.  Swingle had 14 on 4 of 6 shooting, made all 6 FTs and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes.  We were +13 with him on the floor.

Last thing...Josiah Fulcher also contributed.  He played 20 minutes with 3 rebounds and 2 assists, including one that was part of the key sequence that won the game.

Last thing for real.  Davin Zeigler was DNP for the second straight game.  No idea why.

BG beat a team without their best player.  We didn't lose to a team without their best player.

No time to rest. BG heads to NIU on Saturday for a should win.  More later.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

MAC we go! OU Preview...

 And so it begins.  We don't know what's going to happen or how it will unfold...already the schedule had changed twice.  In the NFL, teams are taking the field severely shorthanded and playing critical games.  It's not going to be a simple 20-game march to Cleveland...if that happens.  

Whatever it is, it will start tomorrow.  BG was expecting to play Kent, a game already moved up on the original schedule to make sure there's flexibility at the end to accomodate any re-scheduled games.  That's not happening, instead, a late season game with OU has been moved up to tomorrow, at the Convo.

OU is 4-3, 3-3 in D1 play and 0-1 in the MAC.  Their highlights are a 2-point loss to #7 Illinois and a 55-point win over Cleveland State that featured a 40-0 run.  They lost at a good Marshall team by 14 (UT won @Marshall, for reference) and they were skunked by Akron in their MAC opener.  I watched that game...Akron is good once again.  Seemed like they made every shot they took.

OU was picked to be second in the MAC.  Last season, BG swept the series, winning by 9 at the Convo and 1 at the Stroh...courtesy of a Justin Turner buzzer beater.

Let's look at the numbers.  These are raw numbers from kenpom, not adjusted for schedule.  As you can see, both teams are scoring effectively.  OU is #48 in raw offensive efficiency and BG is #52.  Flipping it around though, OU is showing good defense whereas BG's defense is considerably below average.  We still have small sample issues...half of OU's numbers are from that Cleveland State game, Chicago State  (worst team in D1, already called their season off) and North Carolina A&T, #316.

OU held Illinois to 1.05 points per possession but in their most comparable games (Marshall and Akron), they were well below an average defense.

All that to say that we're probably looking at a "high scoring affair."  

OU is a really good shooting team.  They are #33 in the country (see sample sizes issues above...they shot below 50% against Marshall and Akron.)  They are making 37% of their 3FGs.  As you can see, they take average care of the ball, are good on the offensive boards and have gotten to the line, though they are a poor FT shooting team.

Flipping it around...BG is shooting just above the D1 average, which is just where OU is defending.  There's a gap on turnovers--BG takes good care of the ball and OU does tend to force some turnovers.  The other issues are similar.  BG gets to the line and is #19 in the country in FT shooting.

OU is lead by three key players.  The first is Jason Preston, who was all-FR in the MAC, second-team all-MAC last year and first-team pre-season All-MAC this year.  He scores 19 PPG on 60% 2FG shooting and 48% 3FG shooting.  He is the #113 shooter in the country.  Add 6 RPG and 7 APG to that and you have a well-rounded player.

The second is Ben Vander Plas.  He's scoring 12 PPG on 59% 2FG shooting and 31% 3FG shooting. Add 5 RPG and 3 APG. He was once MAC Freshman of the Year, he was third-team All-MAC last year and second-team pre-season this year.  He scored 25 against BG in the game at the Convo last season.

There's a new player that is contributing, too.  Dwight Wilson III is a transfer from James Madison who is scoring 14.9 PPG and grabbing 9.1 RPG, shooting 59%.  He's 6'8".

So here we go.  This is a big test for BG, but honestly, the MAC is a grind every week.  One of the things that will be interesting to see is how the home court advantage plays out in COVID-times.  Right now, in MAC games, home teams are just 50% but that's only from 8 games.  The Big Ten, with 19 games, is at 68%.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Matiss Kulackovskis Likely Out for Season

Disappointing news today from MBB, as The Blade reported that Matiss Kulackovskis had a setback in his injury rehab and will not play again this season.  It sounds as if it is possible he will not be able to return to competitive basketball again, but that remains to be seen.

He's had an injury-plagued career.  Originally from Lativa, he played a season of HS in Philly and came to BG.  He tore his ACL and missed the entire 17-18 season and then came back and played sparingly the next year as he got back into playing shape and then last year he averaged 11 minutes a game.  He made a contribution in a couple games, including the UB and UT wins at the Stroh.  He's post-sized but shoots from deep and brings real energy to the floor when he is out there.  BG was certainly counting on him in their smaller lineup where a traditional post can get behind the action.

He had off-season surgery and the setback occurred during rehab from that.  BG at one point hoped he would be available for the MAC season.

All the best to Matiss.  Be well.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Falcon Nation

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Falcon Nation. May the day bring you Peace...

The Magi (The Heart of Man is a Palace)

Oh the magi were the prophets
And they wandered through the desert
They saw the star above them
And they knew they'd find their way
Through the valley of the shadow
With the hope of human kindness
They were strengthened by the vision
Of a new and brighter day.

And the wisemen spoke of peace on earth,
Of harmony and struggle
Know you now a cycle's gone and a new one is revealed.
In the weaving of your fingers
In the whisper of a love that's born again
In the weaving of your fingers
In a promise that we made that never ends.

Well now each man is a pilgrim,
Yes, we all must make the journey
And it seems that time is telling us to be all that we can
To help lift up the fallen, we must sow the seeds of goodness
The torch is passed among us now to light the way of man.

For the heart of man's a palace
And his dreams are as the sunlight
They burn away the darkness, as they warm the freezing cold
As an eagle flying higher, as a river through the canyon
The diamond star shines down upon, a pathway to the soul

In a promise that we made that never ends.
In a promise that we made that never ends.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A little belatedly....All-MAC football...

 So, the All-MAC teams were named this week.  As you would expect when you are 0-5 (and the most 0-5 you can pretty much be), BG didn't have too many people named.  Nonetheless, BG did have some standout performers.

Quintn Morris was named first-team All-MAC after being 2nd team last year.  Big time congratulations to him.  Here's what BGSU had to say.  

Among tight ends, Morris ranks 11th nationally in receptions per game and 13th in receiving yards per game. His 1,529 receiving yards rank second among active tight ends in the country and his 125 receptions are also second. Morris is the first BGSU tight end to be named first team all-conference since Brett Landman in 1991.

In addition, Morris has been invited to play in the Hula Bowl and the Senior Bowl, two excellent opportunities for him to show his skills off to NFL Scouts as he moves toward a shot to play on Sunday.

Khole Coleman was named third-team All-MAC for the second straight season.  He was second on the Falcons in tackles.

Lastly, Bryson Denley was named third-team All-MAC as a kick returner, his first appearence on the all conference team.  He finished #13 in kick returns.

Fair is fair....all 3 were Jinks recruits.

Massey Enters Portal

Quick news here, Noah Massey becomes the second Falcon in the portal (that we are aware of).  He was one of four players reported in the November suspensions.

A native of Houston, he was a Jinks recruit.  Part of the ill-fated 2018 class, he is one of 13 players to leave before exhausting their eligibility.  There were 23 originally, with one career-ending injury and two gradutes...leaving 20, 65% of whom are no longer here.

He caught 10 passes for the Falcons, with 1 TD.

All the best to Noah. 

It can happen.....

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Falcon MBB Triumphs Over Robert Morris

 BG had a game yesterday in Pittsburgh against the Robert Morris Colonials.  It was pretty much as expected and probably on the positie side of that range.  BG won by 20.  RMU never led and the game was tied for a little over 2 minutes out of 40.

Nine minutes in it was pretty good for BG.  BG was up 16-5.  Over the next six minutes RMU had a 20-11 edge to cut the lead to 2 and BG led by 4 at the half.  BG scored the first 6 points of the 2nd half to lead by 10, RMU got it back to 2 at 47-45.  BG went on another 9-0 run to go up 11 and from there the issue was decided.  Over the last 9 minutes the game was inside 10 only briefly and the 20-point margin was reached just as the game ended.

BG finished 5-2 in the pre-season schedule, though that includes one confernece win.  They take a break now until December 30, when the 20-game MAC schedule begins.  The game against Defiance tomorrow was cancelled due to COVID issues with the Defiance program.

BG scored 85 points in a 68 possession game, which is 1.24 points per possession, their best offensive game of the season.  That's a pretty big offensive game.  BG topped it only once last year.  BG is currently #49 in the nation with 1.095 points per possession.

Meanwhile, BG held the Colonials to .95 points per possesions, given the Falcons well-rounded results on both side of the ball.  RMU was picked to be 4th in the Horizon...but also were playing their first D1 game of the year.

BG shot the ball really well.  That's 51% on 2FG and 53.3% on 3FG.  It was BG's best 3FG shooting since the NIU game in 2019, also a 20-point well.  BG took excellent care of the ball and did a good job on the offensive boards.  BG did not get to the line as much as normal, but they did make 75%.  

BG is #27 in the nation in FT shooting.

On the defensive side, RMU shot 51%, which is unusual for a team under 1 point per possession.  They gave points away on turnvoers and offensive rebounding and even though they got to the line a lot, they made only 61%.

Individually, it was a big day for Justin Turner who rose to #5 in the all-time BG scoring list.  He had 24 points on 8 of 17 shooting, and 1 of 1 from 3FG.  He was 7-8 at the line and added 8 rebounds and 11 assists.  That's very nearly a triple-double and the first points-assist triple double for BG in 8 years.

Plowden also doubled at 15 and 13, on 7 of 10 shooting.  Caleb Fields had 13 on 5 of 8 shooting and Trey Diggs had 13 on 5 of 10 shooting.  BG ran a nine-man rotation, with Davin Zeigler not playing at all.  

I would assume this is our last game until Kent, though who knows.  RMU is certainly not the toughest team we will play but it is a decent team that would have been in the tourney last year (albeit a 16 seed) and it was on the road and BG did what they probably should have done with the comfortable win.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

RMU Preview for MBB

 BG has a late breaking game against Robert Morris tomorrow.

They've had a tough time of it.  They've had games canceled and a pause in the program.  They have played only one game this year, and it was a non-D1 game.  They were supposed to play Cleveland State twice this weekend and that was cancelled, which opened the door to playing this game in Pittsburgh.

It is a tough year for RMU to be having this issues.  Until this year, they placed in the Northeast Conference, but this year they moved into the Horizon, where they were picked to be 4th, which isn't bad first year in your new league.  The Horizon favorite kicked our butt the other day.

Since 1982, they have played in the NCAA tournament 8 times.  Their biggest win in history was to shock Kentucky in the first round of the NIT a couple years ago.

Last year, they were 20-14, 2nd in their conference in the regular season and won the conference tournament before the whole world ended.

Their leading player is AJ Bramah, who was second-team all-Horizon in the pre-season.  He scored 13.4 PPG and 8.2 RPG, shooting 57%.  Those are in 29 minutes a game.

That's the only double-figure scorer they return.

They return Dante Treacy, who was the NEC Tournament MVP.  He scored about 8 a game on 46% shooting and almost 40% from 3FG.  Also, he had 4.6 assists per game.

There are 7 FR on the roster as well.

They are #207 in kenpom, but that's on no game experience.  BG should win this game but it's far from a sure thing, given what we have seen.  This is a good opportunity to get back onto the horse.

Loeffler Presser on NSD

 I watched Coach's presser following NSD yesterday.

Not too much newsworthy.  He gave a 15-minute "introductory statement" which makes if 500% longer than the Gettysburg address.  Anyway, it was mostly a reiteration of where the program is going, what his vision is, etc.  You have heard that before.

I'd say the news was the following.

  • He says we have 2 slots open.
  • It was revealed that of the Northwest Ohio guys, only Tae'Shaun Johnson was on scholarship, making Jaedyn McKinstry and Cade Zimmerly both PWOs.  Any player can earn a scholarship and I can see it happening in both cases.
  • We are going to recruit for speed next.  We needed to get the lines right first because they take longer to develop and next we are recruiting for speed.

Blade: Diata Burns in Transfer Portal

BG's Diata Burns is in the transfer portal. He was the exception to the no-JUCO rule and started 4 of the 5 games in BG's depleted secondary, with 10 tackles.  

I expect others will follow suit.  Of course, he was only here one year, but I suspect that others who have been here longer (and even graduated) may move along.  

Biggest significance is the continuing issues with our numbers.

Best of luck, Diata.  Be well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

MBB Adds Two Games

 So, after the Wright State game/Hindenburg event, we heard that BG had a line of 2 games to play before Christmas and the December 30th game against Kent.

The first one will involve a trip to Pittsburgh on Friday to play Robert Morris, currently the #229 ranked team in Kenpom. They have only played one game--a non-D1 game--and have had a bunch canceled and the program was, at one point, paused.

Last year,they won 20 games.

BG will then play at home on Sunday against Defiance, which plays DIII in the NCAA.

National Signing Day is in the Books

So signing day is written and done. 

Everything went as expected.  BG inked 22 players, including QB Drew Gunther, who is a transfer from Syracuse.  So, that's a QB in the class.  No idea if we expect a HS QB as well.

As you know, we had 20.  When you add Gunther and then LB Jaylen Lawson who delayed his admission and will start in have 22.

18 of the players came from our footprint, which is every surrounding state plus Illinois in this case.

A couple other things.  I had thought Rocco Hicks (whose Dad Eric is 5th in career sacks for the Chiefs) was going to be a LB, but BG lists him on the OL.

Which gives us 4 OL in the class.


Jalen Burton is listed at DB, not WR.

Jamal Johnson is listed at ATH, not WR

McKinstry is listed at TE, not WR

We had Jaison Patterson as ATH, but he is coming in at RB

Here's the position breakout

QB: 1 

RB: 2 

WR: 2 

TE: 2 

OL: 4 

DL: 4 

LB: 2 

DB: 4 

ATH: 1

So, that leaves us with 4 OL and 4 DL, with a total of 5 expected based on previous comments.

As noted yesterday, this class was ranked #8 in the MAC.  We were #2 in 17 and #3 in 18.  Wonder which class will yield more players?

Last thing.  Four of them will be enrolled in January...Gunther, Neri, Russell and Patterson. Also, Lawson is a LB and will be enrolling in January.  As we know, it's helpful to have those guys around for whatever passes for Spring practice.

Anyway...this is the start of the second class that we need to rebuild this program.  We are clearly following the plan in terms of geography and high school players.  Trust the process.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

National Signing Day is Tomorrow

So tomorrow is the big day--bigger, in fact, than any game we played this year.  The first national signing day is tomorrow.

To keep track, follow BG football on twitter.  When it is all done, every coach in America will hold a presser to proclaim the quality of his class...and I'll have a post to take a look at what transpired.

Coach has said before that we expect a full class, which would be 25 guys.  Through various means, I have us with 20 commits.  Sometimes we get one no one has heard of and sometimes a guy will go elsewhere at the last minute.

247 has 19, including Jacory Jordan, who as far as anyone knows has de-committed, making it 18.  They do not have McKinstry and Zimmerly...which could be a lot of things, including someone being a PWO or 247 just not having all the guys listed.

And sometimes, you get a guy because you see something no one else does or you are in the right place at the right time.  We won't know for sure for three-four years.

Anyway, the list to the right has 20 guys. 

Like with everyone, there's a love-hate relationship.  They are a data point...and the most immediate one but far from the most meaningful.  Still, you can't help looking.  

This class is ranked #8 right now.  UT, UB, Miami, NIU, CMU, WMU and BSU are ahead of BG.

The 2017 class, for example, ranked #2 in the MAC at the time.  Datrin Guyton, Jarret Doege, Matt Wilcox, Joshua Croslen, Travis Koontz, Jamari Rouse, Tyree Jackson, Caylon May were all 3-star names on that list.  

Also, to be fair, was Andrew Clair (3), All-MAC Quinton Morris (3) and Kholbe Coleman (All-MAC, 2 stars).

BG has 12 3-star players out of 18 (on 247), which is pretty good.  However, there are only 2 2-star players.  I'd expect some of our no-star players to get upgraded once time goes on, but for now that's what it shows.

As for positions:

  • 5 of these guys are WR.
  • 2 are LB
  • 3 are OL (expecting 5)
  • 4 are DL (expecting 5)
  • 1 TE
  • 1 RB
  • 1 all-purpose back
  • 3 DBs

 Notably, no QB.  Loeffler has said that BG will take a QB in this class.  (There is still February to go).  and I'd expect 3 more lineman.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Falcon MBB: "Old-Fashioned Butt Whipping"

 So, it was ugly against Wright State yesterday.  BG was simply dismantled by the Raiders from the opening tip to a point in the second half when BG rallied to cut the final deficit to 18.  For most of the time, it was way worse.  BG never led and the game was tied for about :30.

This was supposed to be a strong matchup between two teams predicted to win mid-major conferences.  In reality, it was, in the Coach's words, "an old-fashioned butt whipping."  It was, too.  BG had defense in the paint followed by outstanding ball movement by the Raiders and wide open outside looks, terrible rotation by our defense and then nothing on the offensive end at all.  The Raiders did exactly what they wanted to whenever they wanted.  They are a very good team--skilled, well-coached and hard to beat.

They burst out to a 13-2 lead before the first media time out.  In fact, BG needed to call a timeout before the media timeout.  Over the next 3 minutes, Wright State went 10-6 over BG to lead by 15. The lead was 20 with 10 minutes left and 26 with 6 minutes left and then 31 with 3 minutes left and 33 at the half.

Sometimes a team makes a quick run out and then it all comes back together.  Not this time.

WSU came out and scored the first 5 points of the second half to push the lead to 38.  It didn't get worse. The lead was over 30 with 13 minutes left in the game and was at 29 with seven minutes left.  Over the last 7 minutes BG went 23-12 to get it back to 18, which felt more respectable, but actually is not.

In the first half, Wright State had 1.54 points per possession.  They shot 67%.  They were 17 of 21 on 2FGs and 5 of 12 on 3FGs.  They only missed 11 shots, and got the offensive rebound 6 times.  

Loudon Love was 7 of 10 with 11 the first half.  He pretty much had free rein under the basket.  He's a good player--very good--but he's not Tim Duncan.

BG, meanwhile, was 8 of 34 shooting for 24%.  That's 8 of 25 on 2FGs and 0-9 from 3FG.  BG missed 28 shots and Wright State got the rebound 23 times.

Butt-whipping is correct.

You can see it here with final numbers softened up by those last 7 minues.

BG allowed 78% on 2FGs for the game, their worst since a game at the JAR in 2015 (Chris Jans).

Last note...the Raiders protected the rim.  They blocked 7 shots.

Individually, there were no true highlights.  Kaden Metheny is a warrior.  True freshmen had  15 points on 5 of 14 shooting, which isn't great but he's a "punch back" guy.  Plowden had 14 and BG was +3 while he was in the game.  Steve Hawkins said that WSU had to make Turner either a shoot guy or a pass guy.  They did the latter, mostly.  JT was 4 of 13 shooting but had 6 assists.  Even so, I felt like there were lots of times they doubled Juice and we didn't find someone open.  Eventually, there were some pick and pops with Plowden, but it took us forever to get there.

BG was torched on the inside.  I don't like to call people out, but our center was -23 in 11 minutes.

So, the good news is that Wright State isn't in our conference.  This game can be a bad memory and it can wake the Falcons up.  Whether it does or not remains to be seen.  You'd hope it would, but you'd hope it never happened in the first place too.

BG's next currently game is scheduled for Dec. 30 against Kent.  Coach said he is looking to add 2 games before them.  One will be Defiance once a date is worked out and I have no idea what the other one is.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Wright State MBB Preview

We have an excellent game on tap for Sunday.

Or so it appears.

BG will be taking on Wright State.  The Raiders have a very strong team and will provide a great test for the Falcons.

Let's take a closer look.

First, Wright State is a good program.  Since becoming a DI program in 1987, they have made the tournament 3 times.  They have won the Horizon the last two seasons in the regular season.  Last year, they were 25-7 (MAC wins over Miami and Toledo--twice--and a one point loss to Kent) and won the title outright.  They had one of those inexplicable meltdowns in the first round of the Horizon tourney against UIC, but would have played in the NIT.

They are picked to finish first in the Horizon this year as well.

They are coached by Scott Nagy, who might be the most successful coach people have not heard of.  He coached for 21 years at South Dakota State, winning 63% of his games and 67% of his conference games.  They started in DII, and he made the DII Tourney eight times.  They moved to D1 and he took them to the NCAA Tournament three times.

This is his 5th year at Wright State, he's won 68% of his games and 74% of his conference games and been to the NCAA Tournament once.

The man is a winning basketball coach.

Wright State also returns the Horizon Player of the Year and the pre-season player of the year.  Loudon Love is the young man's name.  He was going to go to SD State, but moved to Wright State with Nagy.  

He is 6'8" and 260.  Last season he scored 15.9 PPG and 9.7 RPG.  Here's the amazing thing...he only played 26 minutes a game.  Same this year, more or less.  I'd honestly be interested to see if there were any other League POYs who played 27 minutes a game.

He shot 49% and blocked 40 shots as well.  One weakness is at the line, he's a sub-60% FT shooter.

With his 4th rebound tomorrow, he will become Wright State's top career rebounder.

Last year, Wright State was a big 3FG team.  They made over 40% in conference play, which is huge.  They returned 2 players who shot over 40% and Trey Calvin is hitting 50% this year as well.

This is a team that is an inside-outside threat.  So, BG is going to need to bring its guarding.  We're comfortable playing with a smaller lineup, but BG will need to be playing well at both ends of the floor to compete.

Actually, Calvin is their leader scorer to date with 16 PPG.  Also, Tim Finke, a 6'6" Grand Canyon transfer is scoring 11.5 PPG and adding 8.5 RPG on 50% shooting.  They also have Grant Basile, who is 6'9: and is scoring 11 PPG to go with 5RGP and shooting 71% and 4 blocked shots.

Wright State is 1-1.  They lost to what is expected to be a really good Marshall team and then they beat Miami by 71-47, holding the Redhawks to 26% shooting from 2FG.

This is an excellent test for BG for what is anticipated to be the last non-conference game.  We are off until right before New Year's, and a win certainly would send us into that time with the right kind of momentum.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Football: State of the Program

 This is an annual thing I do...and here it is.  Where are we?

Most of this has already been said...scroll down to the Akron game post and the Loeffler presser.  The state of the program is, currently, not at all good.  We're not competitive...right now.  We're young but we're undisciplined.  Youth we can't control.  Discipline we can...which means we could be better than we are right now.

The hope is that we look back on our first winless season since 1919 (a pandemic-pandemic streak) and think, man that sucked but it was part of a process that got us back to competitive and we figured out how to stay there and not go boom and bust.

Whether that happens remains to be seen, of course, and I don't say that to be pessimistic.  It just does.

I've said it a million times, I support what we are doing and think we have to ride this out.

Not all of you agree with me.

I know it's hard, because we could tell Jinks wasn't going to work from literally the first game (or before) and we had to endure 2.5 seasons of self-destruction until we made a move.  (Note, because we didn't "have $2 million" not noting that it was mitigatable.  Had Jinks gone after the first year and gotten another job--he would have gone straight back to Texas Tech--we don't owe anywhere near $2M.  Anyway).

So, if you see Loeffler in that vein, I can see why you think we should make a move now.

It doesn't help that if you are a fan of football on twitter, Scot Loeffler and Brian Van Gorder are the butt of jokes nearly every day.  People say things like "Scot Loeffer, Head Coach??" and that's the whole post and everyone knows what they mean.

My response is this....

  • Who cares about people on Twitter.
  • I don't see this as the same as Jinks.  The part that is the same (and different than Clawson) is that we have a head coach without a proven track record to provide comfort.  But, Loeffler has a stronger staff than Jinks had and I think he is organizing the program for success.
  • I don't think any Coach would have done better than 1-5 this year.
  • We can't afford to switch gears AGAIN.  This needs to work.

Again, I know some of you disagree and time might prove you right.

Here is what I see moving forward.

The program is not where it should be, and some of that is on the current staff.  Loeffler said as much after the Akron game.  

So, the first thing is Loeffler has to be a better coach.  It's not unreasonable to expect him to grow into the job and learn from what is happening and I think he's prepared to do that.  He needs to grow, and I don't mean it as a criticism.  I think he would agree.

The second thing is that the strong recruiting needs to continue.  We need 3 strong (strong!) recruiting classes to get this thing right side up and we appear to have one in the books.  It needs to happen twice more in an environment where we continue to lose.

Glad it's not my job.  I saw that Cade Zimmerly said he picked BG because he "believes in what Loeffler is doing."  That's what we have to sell.  Or, pick a winning program and sit for three years.  If recruiting falls off, it's a way bigger loss than losing to Akron.

Third thing is that our staff has to prove they can develop players.  We have a lot of guys getting playing time early, but they have to be coached up and their potential realized.  It doesn't happen only from playing.  I'm not saying we can't...I'm just saying we have to see it happen.  Mike Jinks also had a highly rated recruiting class.

So what to look for.

1.    Signing Day (see above)

2.    What kind of returners we have.  I think some of the players who are seniors might not come back, even though they can.  I don't blame them, if they have graduated.  They've persevered through the worst period in our history.  I know all of us hope to see improvement next season, and the return of at least some of our Seniors and Juniors (small though the numbers are) is going to matter.

3.    Given what we hope is a full off-season, we need to see a young but competent team on the field next Fall, as opposed to a young but undisciplined.  We won't know how this works until it does or doesn't.

4.   To show progress, we are going to need to move the ball better.  There's been a lot of discussion about out QB.  I think people had unrealistic expectations for him, given that he had no real collegiate game experience and given the cast around him.  He has the chance to take a big jump (as many first year players do) for next year.  I'd expect him to be the starter next Fall...we do have a Syracuse transfer coming in...but I'd expect it to be McDonald, who hopefully will improve, given our QB-Guru Head Coach.

I think we're still a year away from a shot at .500, to be honest.  Maybe not.  But, next year could still be rough.  We just hope less rough.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Football is over for 2020

 First winless season since 1919, the very first.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Football Verbal: Jaedyn McKinstry

BG has a new football verbal and it's somebody who's pretty well known in the area.  Jaedyn McKinstry is a WR who attends St. John's.  He was injured in the groin playing basketball and when he was treated the doctor noticed something.  It turned out he had stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer.  He had a 50/50 shot.

And he is here and going to be a Falcon.  He was on chemo for a year, two rounds of radiation.  Most of us can only imagine. But he's here.

Steve Junga had a great story in The Blade. 

Here's what his Coach said...

“I love him. When you talk about kids, and stories of kids, when I’m older and grayer, he’s going to be the kid that I talk about. To try to come back out of it now in this time of uncertainty, you just don’t have stories like this.”


“He’s a young man that understands the importance of how fragile life is,” said McDaniel. “That was life and death so that’s something that he thinks about all the time. He’s worked his tail off and he’s worked his tail off out here on the field and he’s worked well in the weight room so he’s a man on a mission, no doubt.”

He was being recruited before all this happened.  He's a 6'6" 210 and also a star basketball player.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jaedyn.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Loeffler Presser, Wake Up Call Edition

Just watched Coach's presser yesterday.  Very honest, very direct...apparently he got some sleep the night before and was not quite as rabid as he had been in an earlier presser.

But, he was, as is typical, direct.

In short, the Akron game was a wake up call.  It's one thing when UB and OU and UT smoke you because they have more talent on their roster right now.  With Akron, the talent was equal and BG got embarrased.

He said that was


"A reality check."

"Eye opening."

Also, he said BG is "mis-wired the wrong way."

It sounds like it was ugly in the locker room afterward.  Coach said that guys were "holding each other accountable," which to me sounds like pointing fingers and some of them lost their cool.  Which is understandable.

Coach said he told the team that the place to "hold each other accountable" is in the weight room in January, not in the locker room after the game.

He said he was in a funk, but realized that you "can't change anything when you are in a funk."

Essentially, the message is that no one can be under any illusion that this is bad. On the other hand, Coach invites us to think of this year with our memory--that is, how it will feel after "it's right."

Which feels like a very long way away right now.

A couple of news notes.

Matt McDonald will not practice this week.  Sounds like he is expected to play, lot of Chad Henne comparisons.

We have a lot of guys banged up.  It is a good time for them to learn to play hurt....not injured, but banged up.

He doesn't know how many of our "seniors" will re-up for next year.  That will be interesting.  It may also be that some of them will be wished along their way, too.  And certainly, you'd understand any player who had completed five years, has graduated or will graduate, and is ready to move along with their lives.  Also, with the ability to transfer, so might want to try something else.  College is just a start to life.

BG MBB Gets Initial MAC Win

 BG survived its first MAC game at the Stroh this year, beating a very solid Buffalo team in a very competitive contest.  It was an encouraging performance by BG.

And yes, Justin Turner.

Buffalo led most of the first 13 minutes of the game, leading by as much as 7.  BG had the game tied again with 7 to play, led by 6 inside of 2 minutes and by 2 at the half.

The second half was highly competitive and entertaining college basketball.  Buffalo took the lead with about 9 minutes left and led most of the rest of the way.  They had the lead by 6 with 6 minutes or so to go and led by 4 with 4 to go.  Finally, after grinding away at the lead, Plowden hit 2 FTs to tie the game with 2:52 left.

Then Justin Turner and Josiah Fulcher happened.

Buffalo possession, they miss, Fulcher on the board.

Turner is fouled and hits both FTs to put BG up by 2 (2:09)

Buffalo misses, Fulcher on the board.

BG runs clock, Turner hits a 3FG as it expires, BG up 5 (1:18)

Buffalo misses, Fulcher on the board.

BG runs clock, Turner hits a late clock running in the paint.  BG up 7 (:41)

Buffalo misses, Turner rebounds, is fouled.

Turner hit both FTs, BG up 9-0, :25 left, game.

To recap...over the last 2 minutes, it was Turner 9, UB 0.

It was incredible to watch.  This guy is among the best we've ever had.  Late in a  game, when you can run the clock down and score....that makes you hard to beat.  Teams are already fouling him, but even that's tough, since Turner was 15 of 15 at the line.

Both teams like to play a fast pace and they got it, with a 76 possession game.  BG didn't play great defense, allowing 1.03 points per possession, which is above the D1 average of .99.  Even so, it wasn't terrible defense and it will more than do if BG is going to score 1.13 points per possession.  That's a winning number...since 2018 (which has become a reasonable point for the program being competitive again), BG has only lost one MAC game with scoring 1.13 or above.  BG has been in that range every game except App. State...would clearly seem to be the model we are working...though I am sure Coach wants the defense to improve.

Shooting for the game was pretty even.  The teams got there different ways, UB with good 2 FG shooting and BG with good 3FG shooting.  BG had a slight edge in turnovers and UB had good offensive rebounding, as they always do.  The biggest difference was at the free throw line. 

The officiating reminded me of a MAC game from 20 years ago, with huge numbers of fouls called.  There were 51...admittedly, a fast paced game and UB fouling a little at the end, but there were a bunch of fouls called.  My impression is that the MAC officials got better at that over time, but you wouldn't have seen that in this one.  

BG shot FTs well...31 out of 40 (as noted, Turner was 15 of 15) and UB did not...18-29.  It's the highest free throw rate for BG since a 2018 Akron game...Free Throw Rate is FTA by FGA.  BG had 57 FTA and 40 FTs.

That....and the play down the stretch by Turner, decided this game.

Individually, it starts with Turner.  He had 33 points, on 3 of 11 2FG and 4 of 7 3FG.  He drew 9 fouls. Yes, that's right...presumably, most of those were just before he was about to make a basket.   He made 15 of 15 from the line, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 turnovers.  He's our best player since Antonio Daniels or McLeod.

Kaden Metheny scored 11.  He shot 4 of 7 and 1 of 2 from 3, including one big 3FG.  He's not afraid of anything.  No assists, no turnovers.

Trey Diggs scored 10, shooting 2 of 8 from 3FG.  He also had 3 steals.

Plowden added 10 rebounds and Fields added 3 assists and 2 steals.

Dylan Swingle also had a productive 15 minutes, 3 of 4 shooting and 2 rebounds.  And three fouls.

Three notes on rotation.

First, you have to understand that Huger does not play guys in the first half with 2 fouls.  They keep track of this.  If you take all the minutes when guys had 2 fouls (like Turner gets his second with 8 left and Swingle with 12 left, that would be 20) and then figure the amount of time a guy actually played with 2 fouls, you get a percentage.  

The D1 average is 23%.  For BG this year, it is 0.5%.  Last year, only 10 D1 coaches (out of 350 or so) were more conservative than was Izzo and one was Marshall.  Just to understand, he just doesn't do it.  He brought in a walk-on late in the first half to avoid it.

Second, if you think BG's PGs are Metheny and Zeigler, they only played 25 minutes.  Fields was bringing the ball up much of the time.  Zeigler's minutes have been a surprise...he's in single digits for the last 3 games, including Purdue Northwest.

Third, BG played mostly a post-free lineup.  Swingle played 15 minutes and Washington played 8.  This is certainly a trend in basketball and UB does have a post guy and he only played 18 minutes.

So BG is 1-0.  Which is what you needed.  Finals are this week and then Wright State is here on Sunday.  They smoked Miami on Saturday.  Then we play Kent on December 30 and that's it for the month.  I guess games could still be added.

Anyway, this was a nice win.  Competitive, tough game, UB is a very solid team with good players.  It's a quality win.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Football Verbal: Rocco Hicks

BG has another football verbal in advance of a signing day coming up in 10 days.  He's our second straight commit from the Kansas City area, though this time from Overland Park, KS.  Certainly has a football name.

As you can see, his BG graphic lists his position as "BIG ATH," which I am not even sure what that means.  He is 6'4" and 240 and 247 lists him as a strong-side DE, which usually means more of a run stopper than a pass rusher.

He's unrated currently with an offer from Northern Iowa.  

Interestingly, he was a top-flight lacrosse player as well.  That's not something you see too often, but he was a midfielder which means he was running the field.  At his size, you think that would translate...along with the other attributes ascribed to him in the article I linked.

He was an accomplished football player as well...

  • 2019 1st team all-Blue Valley OL
  • 2019 2nd team all- EKL OL
  • 2019 Kansas All-State honorable mention OL
  • (UPDATE:  Since posting, Rocco was named All-State)
Interestingly, those accolades are all for the o-line.  He did play both ways.  Maybe that's why BG said ATH instead of specifying.  Maybe the secret plan is to make him a TE.

Welcome to the Falcons, Rocco.

MAC MBB Starts/Buffalo Preview

 Well, BG starts MAC play today against the Buffalo Bulls.  Very dizzying how quickly this has all happened...usually there's a whole pre-season overture to the season, but in a few hours we are playing with live ammo.  

We'll start our preview with where the Falcons are.  I think it's fair to say that there are a lot of open questions right now.  Probably the same can be said for other teams, but I do not think we have performed like the pre-season favorites in our conference yet this year.  In both the South Carolina State and Purdue NW games we were eventually good enough but allowed those teams to score on us and stay with us into the second half.  The App. State game is a nice win, but I'm not sure that was a championship performance and Michigan was what you'd expect.  They beat us by 14 and then later Ball State by 19.

There have been some surprises.  I think we thought PG was going to be Zeigler-Metheney, and it has been the other way around.  In fact, Zeigler is playing single-digit minutes.  Matiss has been injured. 

Defensively, teams are just making too many shots against BG.  They are giving up 49.5% on 2FG--worse than last year--and 40.4% on 3FG, way worse than last year (33%).  The D1 averages are 49.2% on 2FG and 32.6% on 3FG, for reference.  Overall, BG's FG defense is 250th in the country, D1 games only and obviously at a very early date.

But it will need to get sorted out.  BG can score and I'm not sure they have to have the world's greatest defense.  On the other hand, they do need stops to move in transition, where it seems like they are more effective.

And pray no one plays a zone.

Buffalo comes in as the MAC's most dominant team over the last few years.  The 2019 team that beat BG in the MAC Final and won a game in the tourney was historically good at 32-4.  Their coach left and they lost a bunch of guys, plus a top-rated group of JUCO recruits, and they still went 20-12 and 11-7 before they lost at home in the first round of the MAC tournament to Miami, the #12 seed.

BG and UB split two highly competitive games last year, each winning on the road.

From that team, they lost their 3rd and 5th leading scorers.  They return Jayvon Graves, who was first-team All-MAC preseason, and Josh Mballa, who was on the second team.  Also, Jeenathan Williams is back and he's their leading scorer to date.  They were picked to be #4 in the MAC.

They've only played twice.  Their opener against Canisius was canceled for COVID and then they beat Towson and lost to Army on a neutral floor.  The Army loss is clearly not good....they lost to Army last year, too.  Josh Mballa was DNP in that game, no idea why and what his status is for today's game.  That was 8 days ago.

Buffalo plays fast.  Last year they had the #8 ranked pace in the country, and this year it is up but #28 in the nation.  They go at 75 possessions a game and BG is at 73.8, so this will be an up and down game.

FWIW, and it probably doesn't mean much, UB has allowed only 17% on 3FGs on defense this year, literally half the D1 average.  I'm calling small sample size.

Anyway, this should be a very competitive game.  The Falcons have high expectations--after being picked to win for the 2nd straight season--and this is one of 20 games you gotta have.  It's not make or break...lots of time...but a really good early indicator.

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Hopefully Rock Bottom

Not a good day at all today.  BG had one chance to win a game this year and it was in Akron.  Akron...21 straight losses...longest losing streak in FBS.

BG not only didn't get the win--as they did last year, easily, over the Zips--but they were blown off the field, 31-3.  It's hard to put into context.  BG lost 31-3 to Akron today.

We're almost for sure the worst FBS team.  And it's our worst season in the history of the program, so far as I can tell.  Before, we were dueling with 1935, but this is historically bad.  

Today, BG was a bad team playing badly.  There was some ball movement, but then turnovers and penalties and blocked punts and gaping defensive misalignment and poor tackling.  This team was undermanned to start with and they played a terrible game.

Coach Loeffler made the point during his presser.  Certainly, BG is a lot of things.  Ridiculously young.  Undermanned on top of that.  But also undisciplined and sloppy.  They aren't doing the things that don't require skill.

Loeffler took responsibility for that today, as he should.  This team needs to grow and it appears that means the Head Coach, too.

I believe he will, too.  And I believe he can get this back to a competitive level.

But the debacle today.  Just incredible.  These are teams in BG's conference, and it was fine when we were getting scorched by UT and UB and OU.  But this one puts the season in a different light.  The 11th ranked offense in the MAC scored 31 on us and we scored 3 on the 11th ranked defense.

Which left all of them standing in a snowy stadium watching the whole thing come down around them.

Five years ago--FIVE YEARS ago--BG was hoisting the MAC Championship trophy for the second time in 3 years.  And today this is where we are.  And there's no doubt about where we are.  The bottom.

My sympathy to the people doing the day-to-day in this program.  It has got to be hell.

I'm still behind him.  Our program NEEDS him to succeed.  We're where we are.

There's an old joke.  Man gets lost in a rough part of the big city.  He stops a policeman and asks for directions.  The policeman says, "well, first of all, I wouldn't start here."

We are here...which is way behind where we thought we were on Friday.  This can be just a story on the road to the Falcons getting back into the race.

You'd be forgiven if you found it a little hard to imagine.  But it can.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Akron Preview

Bowling Green and Akron will hit the field tomorrow with one thing in common.

Both teams will think this is their best chance to win a game this year.

Akron is currently favored by 2.5 points.

The Zips are 0-4, just as BG is.  They have lost their last 21 games...their new Coach, in his second year, has yet to win.  BG beat them 35-6 last year.  They are losing by 31 points a game and BG by 35.

Here are some more comparisons;


Scoring:  Akron 11th, BG 12th
Yards per play:  BG 10th, Akron 11th
Yards per rush:  BG 5th, Akron 9th
Pass Efficiency:  Akron 11th, BG 12th


Scoring:  Akron 11th, BG 12th
Yards per play:  BG 11th, Akron 12th
Yards per rush:  Akron 10th, BG 12th
Pass Efficiency:  BG 11th, Akron 12th

You get the idea.

Akron's Coach is Tom Arth, who was a DIII Coach of the year at John Carroll.  He has taken a different approach then Coach Loeffler has....there are 26 players on the Akron roster who have played college ball somewhere besides BG.  They might not all be his...Bowden always took a lot of transfers, too.

They are QB'd by Zack Gibson, who is a RFR and is #10 in the MAC in passing efficiency.  The only QB behind him is ours.

While their overall rushing attack is not great, they have a very strong back in Teon Dollard.  He's carried 79 times at a 5.8 yards per carry.  He is a JUCO transfer.  Their second back, converted WR Jeremiah Knight, is getting 5 per carry and was a PWO at Ohio State.

Their QB has lost 122 rushing yards and only 38 on sacks.

Their lead WR is Nate Stewart with 11 catches and about 15 yards per catch.

You can see on defense they struggle.  They gave up 69 to Kent and held OU to 24.

I would expect this to be a pretty spirited game with a lot of running plays.  Advantage will go to whichever team makes progress stopping the run.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Falcon MBB Signs One to NLI

 Bowling Green has one player signed to the NLI for November...the "early" period in basketball.  

His name is Ubong Etim and he comes from Little Rock, AR, where he attends North his junior year this was a really good team, going 22-5.

He's 6'8" with a 7'0" wingspan.  Clearly, you can see where a guy with that kind of length could be helpful.  He sounds like a guy who blocks shots and rebounds.  Huger says he has only "scratched his potential" which would indicate he's a more raw talent.

With Plowden nearing the end of his career, there is clearly a place in the program for a guy with this kind of skill set.  He's described as having a high motor and work ethic as well.

He was also recruited by Southeast Missouri State, Troy and Hampton.

Welcome to the Falcons Ubong.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Football Recruiting News: Howell in, Jordan Out

 So, two updates for the football program, as recruiting continues heading into the signing day.

We'll start with Cashius Howell, a pass rushing DE who BG was apparently very excited to get.  

Cashius is from Rockland, MO, which is in the Kansas City area.  He is 6'3" and 215, and actually played all over the field on both sides of the ball.  He is listed as a 3-star recruit.  He had reported offers from North Dakota State, Akron, Ball State, CMU, Arkansas State, Wyoming and a handful of other FCS offers. 

He was all-district as a junior.  This article here says he had 30 tackles, 13 sacks, and four deflections. 

The same article contains an interview with him.  He seems highly motivated.  Also has a 3.9 GPA.

Other things, seems to be very athletic, which is what you need from your pass rusher.  Obviously, the size is vital as well.

Welcome to the Falcons, Cashius.

On the other side of the ledger, Jacory Jordan has de-committed.  He is a dual-threat QB from Florida.  No specific destination listed but you can see what he said above.  Best of luck to him.

This leaves the class with no QBs.  Coach says that he still plans to recruit one in the class, so it's back to the drawing board there.  He says that this is what happens when you recruit at the level we do.  As mentioned before, how we are recruiting is way more important than whether we beat Akron Saturday.  You are going to need 3 stellar classes recruited in the midst of this team being as challenged as it is.  That's what we have to do.

Of course, when there are questions about the program, de-commits are a big controversy.  Remember, you won't really know anything about it for 2-3 years.  We just have to be patient.

MBB Picks up Road Win

 The Falcons came away with an overtime victory over Appalachian State in Boone NC yesterday.  It was a nice win for BG.  They were favored by 2 and ended up in OT with the win.  Certainly there is room for improvement, but I think we'd be happy to win that one under any circumstances.

App State led most of the way in the first half and had an 8-point lead with 3 minutes left to play at 31-23.  The Mountaineers are known for good D and they were putting it on the Falcons up to that point.

BG closed the half on a modest 11-5 run, with 6 points by Plowden, 3 by Matheny and 2 by Fulcher.  The deficit was down to 2 at the half.

BG had the game tied about 2 minutes in and took the lead with about 15 to play in the game.  BG went on a 14-4 run to get the lead to 10 with about 11 minutes left.  BG held things stable for about five minutes, still leading by 10 with 6 to play.

App State then went to a zone, and as often seems to happen to BG, the wheels came off.  Honestly, I'd zone us every time, we just seem completely confused when it happens.  BG went about 3 minutes without scoring then App State got the lead down to 2 with about 3 minutes left to play.  BG was up 4 inside the last minute when the unconscious Alomancy hit a 3 and was fouled by Metheny.  The FT was converted, the game was tied and both teams failed to score on possessions and onto OT we went.

In the OT, BG was up1 with a minute to play.  They gutted out a huge stop and took a charge, and then Caleb Fields hit a ridiculous 3 with the shot clock running down to put BG up 4.  App State drained a 3 with :06 left to get it to 1 again, but then BG engineered a foul of Justin Turner.  He made the first, missed the second (his first miss all year).  That's one of those plays, though, where getting the play going off the rebound actually takes more time than getting it out of bounds and their half court shot missed and BG had the win.

It was more of a typical game you will see in MAC play.  It was 69 possessions--pretty average--and BG had 1 point per possession and App State had .98.

BG won the game shooting.  BG made 60% of their 2FGs and 33% of their 3FGs and took 40 of their 61 shots from 2FG.  App State took 33 of 62 from 2FG and shot 33% from 2 and a scorching 45% from 3, which kept them in the game.

The grad transfer Alomancy might have had a career night nailing 3FGs.

As you can see, the turnovers were even, there was a slight advantage on the boards to ASU, and made 15 of 17 FTs while BG made 9 of 11.  BG is 11th in the nation in FT shooting right now.

The turnovers are concerning.  Last year, BG was #8 in the country with a 15% turnover rate.  It helped make up for not always having the greatest shooters.  BG had over 18% turnovers in 3 of their last 4 games last year and are over 22% in their last 2 games.  You have youth handling the ball, but last night 13 of the 18 turnovers were by non-FR and 8 by seniors.

As for individuals, Justin Turner had himself a game.  I noted that he had a big game at Crisler but was forced to use a lot of possessions to get there.  He had 24 on 24 shots.  Last night, he had 25 on 15 shots, which is a pretty dominating performance.  ASU went to the zone seemingly to contain him, and it mostly worked.  He was 9 of 14 on 2FGs, 0-1 on 3FGs, 7 of 8 from the line, 3 rebounds, 3 TOs and 4 steals.

Caleb Fields had 10 points on 8 shots, including the game-winning dagger.  Daeqwon Plowden had 10 on 4 of 7 shooting and 8 rebounds.  Diggs had 10 and 6 rebounds, shooting 1 of 3 from 3FG.  Dylan Swingle had 9 on 4 of 8 shooting in 24 minutes.

Note that Mattiss is out until probably late December or the New Year.

Last note:  literally as I wrote this BG announced they have scheduled Purdue Northwest for Thursday.  It's a DII team.  More on them later.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Appalachian State Preview

Next up is the Appalachian State Mountaineers in Boone NC.

Boone NC is in northwest North Carolina.  It is indeed named for Daniel Boone, who is said to have camped there and a couple of his nephews lived there.

App State is in the Sun Belt Conference, where they were picked to finish fourth in their division.  The Sun Belt has created divisions to cut down on COVID travel.  They are going to play Friday-Saturday series much like the CCHA used to do back in the day.

They were 18-15 last year, coming off eight straight losing seasons.  They have been in the NCAA Tournament twice, getting a six-seed when Bobby Cremins coached there.  Press Maravich also coached App. State...unsuccessfully.

From last year's team they lost two double figure scorers, one of whom also averaged 7.7 RPG.

Their leader returnee is Justin Forrest, who was first-team All-Sun Belt last year and in the pre-season this year.  He was their leading scorer at 17.3 PPG.  He's not an efficient scorer though.  He shot  39% and 31% and had an underwater A/T ratio.  He's a 6'2" G.

They have 7 newcomers, like seemingly everyone.  One of them is a transfer from Southern New Hampshire (stand up if you've seen that stupid commercial).  His name is Michael Almonacy, and he is supposed to stabilize the PG position for them.  He averaged 15 PPG at SNH, though he had 5 TOs in the opener.

Oh yeah, the opener.  Get this...they played South Carolina State.  Beat them by 20 on the road.  Sophomore Donovan Gregory scored 14 points to lead them in that game.

A couple of notes.  Last year, they drew A LOT of FTs.  They were 11th in the country in FT Rate and 299th in making them.  

Against SC State, they shot 72% from 2FG and 26% from 3FG.  They were also awful from 3FG last year.

The game was slightly different.from BG's game with the Bulldogs.  App State was up 27 at halftime and then SC State won the second half, eventually losing by 20.

They play a slow pace---67 possessions per game, which is less than BG's average of 70.

BG is a 2-point favorite.  This game--on the road--will help us learn about this team.  The next game starts MAC play, so there's not much chance to fine tune.  This is a game you'd like to see BG win--or any team picked to win the MAC.  (The Sun Belt is the 15th ranked conference, two behind the MAC).

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Dominant Five Minutes Deliver Victory to BG MBB

 BG was faced Saturday with South Carolina State, an opponent they were favored to beat by 22.  And BG did end up winning by 23, so it's all good.  They did what they were supposed to do.

The first half was a little frustrating.

Before we dive into the numbers, it is important to note that this was a very fast-paced game.  In total, BG had 84 possessions.  That's against an average of 70 from last year and BG was in the top 25% of the country for pace.  It's the most possessions in a D1 game since Florida Gulf Coast two years ago.

What does that mean?  It means all the numbers are going to be naturally higher, but that doesn't necessarily signify a better performance.

So, it was 45-43 at the half.  I was thinking, how could BG allow the Bulldogs to have 43 points in a half.?  I looked at their shooting numbers and they were good but not mind-blowing.  Thing is, there were 40 possessions in the first half, leaving them with 1.06 points per possession, which is a good number but not as shocking as 43 points in a half might look.  BG had 1.11 points per possession, which is good, but not as great as the raw number looks.

For reference, UM had 1.3 for the game the other night.  BG had 1.11.

The second half was a little more what we hoped for.  BG scored the first 21 points of the half in less than five minutes.  In doing so, the game was over.  The lead was never closer than 19 again and got as high as 31.  BG just threw stifling defense onto the Bulldogs...forcing 7 turnovers in those five minutes.  And then BG scored at will on the other end.

For the curious, that means 44 second-half possessions.  SCSU was at .8 points per possession (more what we were looking for) and BG at 1.28.

The stats are surprisingly even.  SCSU ended up shooting about as well as BG did and BG turned the ball over quite a bit.  The Falcons dominated the boards (as you would expect) and had a ridiculous edge on FTs.  BG was 31 of 36 from the line and SCSU was 3 of 5.  That's a huge disparity.

I have a theory that when you see that, it impacts FG%.  If BG gets fouled every time they have a good shot, their shooting % is going to be lower.

With all tempo-disclaimers, it was BG's first D1 100+ game in 23 years.  (Against Akron...THAT's how long it has been).

 Daeqwon Plowden had a big game.  He scored on 7 of 12 shooting...7 of 8 from 2 FG and missing all 4 3FGs.  He added 16 rebounds.  Diggs had 17 (3 of 6 from 3FG and 8-9 at the line), Turner 16 (4 of 13 FG and 6-6 at the line) and 6 assists, Fields with 15 on 5 of 7 shooting and Metheny with 13 on 3 of 6 from 3FG and 1 assist over 4 turnovers.  No other Falcon scored 4 points.

Josiah Fulcher made his BG debut, logging almost 16 minutes.

Last note:  at this early date BG is #13 in the nation at the FT line.

Up next, Appalachian State tomorrow.  Preview coming, but this should be a decent chance to see where we are.

Another Long Afternoon in Athens

 Well, it doesn't get much better for the Falcons on their very long and difficult 2020 season.  They were blown out by OU from the opening whistle, losing 52-10.

There's not much to say about the game.  OU ran 63 total plays, 48 of them runs.  They averaged 7.4 yards per carry.  Tuggle averaged 12.3.  

On the other side of the ledger, an offense that showed a little promise in the Buffalo game managed only 12 first downs.  McDonald was 9 of 20 with 3 picks and 125 yards.

For a positive, Andrew Clair continues to be a top-flight player.  He was 15 for 118, which is over 7 yards per carry.

McDonald threw one TD pass...and for a statement on where our program is, how does this work for you?

The touchdown pass to Javonte Kinsey in the second quarter marked the first touchdown reception by a wide receiver for a Falcon since 2018.


BG was 1 of 10 on 3rd down.  Also, McDonald left the game injured and was replaced by walk-on LaBronz Davis.

So, the program is in a place we just haven't seen it before.  We are just completely non-competitive.  BG is not just 0-4.  They have an average margin of defeat of 35 points.  And these are conference games.  There are no Ohio State games in this data.

We're just not competitive at all.

An already weak BG team played without the four suspended players and a total of 8 players who played against UB, based on the participation stats from the OU game.

The natives are getting a little restless, which is not a surprise.  When you are this bad, doubters are going to creep in.  It is very bad right now.  You only have to spend five minutes on Twitter to find people who think we literally hired the two worst assistants in college football (Loeffler and Van Gorder) if you want back up.  And you have CMU going 1-11 and then turning around in one year with McElwain...and Sean Lewis with a winning record at Kent in his second year.  

And I think you had the expectation that Matt McDonald was going to create a whole new situation for the offense.  No one had seen him play and he hadn't played for years and there's not a lot of support, so I think expectations were a little high.

Anyway, there's some people who aren't trusting the process.  And it's not a surprise.

Coach addressed the CMU-type situation in the Unglued Presser by saying that in situations like that you had a good foundation with a poor coach.  In BG's case, he argued, there was no foundation.

For what it's worth, I'm still on board.  I didn't expect much improvement this year and I don't expect it next year.  I'm not sure the reincarnated Knute Rockne could get much more out of this team.  Of course, this is all speculation.  It might not work out...Loeffler might not get it done.  But you can't judge him on what's happened to date and to the extent you can it's that he has the fortitude to take the more difficult route and not the easy way.

I'm sold on the process and the guy.

The most important event for the Falcons is December 16.  That's the early national signing day.  The process only works with 3 stellar recruiting classes in a row.  For the sake of argument, let's give them 1.  An average recruiting class is a way bigger problem than losing by 42 to OU.

Friday, November 27, 2020

BG Football Heads to Athens

 Wait, football is back, too.

The 0-3 Falcons will take on the 1-1 Ohio Bobcats.

OU was picked to be 3rd in the East.  (Can you believe that Buffalo was picked #2 in the East?)

As mentioned, they are 1-1.  They lost 30-27 to CMU and beat Akron 24-10.  Because their Miami game was cancelled due to COVID, they have not played since November 10.

OU is QB'd by Kurtis Rourke, who takes the reins from his brother Nathan, who was the original Air Canada.  He's been effective.  He's completed 61% of his passes, at 16 a completion, with 2 TDs and 0 INT.  Usually OU has a decent QB run game, but they haven't done it much this year.

However, as always, this is a run-focused team.  They have run the ball 66 times and passed it 36.

At RB, they are led by Tuggle is a JUCO guy who was their #3 RB last year.  He's averaging 5.7 YPC, in the top 5 of the MAC.  We saw how BG responded to a run-focused offense in our last game and hopefully, BG has used their break to lock that down a little.  (Note that half of Tuggle's output has been against Akron, but Akron's YPC allowed is 6.4 and BG is 6.3).

OU always has big play WRs.  Isiah Cox is probably their top WR, averaging 21.5 per reception.  Shane Hooks has 7 total receptions to lead the team and he's averaging 15 a catch.

They lost 3 All-MAC OL since last year.

On defense, OU typically plays pretty well.  They allow 4.5 yards per rush so far, which is 5th in the MAC.  With only two games and one against Akron, it's very tough to know what's happening.  (Akron has a high-performing JUCO RB).

They have been difficult to pass against.  They have allowed 57% completions at 11.2 YP Completion, 2 TD and 2 INT.

They also have 8 sacks and 5 against CMU.

For special teams, they are 1-4 on FGs with a 44 long.  They are 8th in net punting and lead the MAC in kickoff returns, as it seems they always do.

Overall, BG showed some signs of improvement on the offensive side of the ball against UB.  If that can continue, BG has a shot to compete in this one.  My fear is that our inability to stop the run will allow OU to do what they are comfortable doing and they will put the game away.  But who knows?  They have been off for a while.  Maybe they are rusty.

South Carolina State Preview

OK, so it's leftover day.  Tomorrow, the Falcon MBB team gets back onto the court, this time at the Stroh, to play South Carolina State.

They are the Bulldogs and are in Orangeburg, SC.  It is an HBCU.  Probably their most notable athletic alumni is Deacon Jones, who is a Hall of Famer.  Also, Bobby Lewis, who invented the 2-ball dribbling drill.

They play in the MEAC which is the second-lowest ranked conference in college basketball.  The Bulldogs have played in the Divison 1 Tournament five times, the last in 2003.  They also appeared in the DII tournament five times.

They were picked to finish last in their division in the MEAC.  They had the lowest point total in either division and that counts an unfaithful elector who picked them first.

They were 11-18 last season with a kenpom of 339.  They finished 6-10 in conference.  This year, they are #356, which makes them the second lowest ranked team in D1.

The reason is roster turnover.  They returned only one player who played more than 10 minutes a game last season.  In total, they have 10 new players.

In their only game, they lost by 20 to Appalaichan State, picked to finish #4 in their division in the Sun Belt.

They started 3 FR and a SO in that game and had 3 FR and 2 SO come off the bench.

They had one JUCO player they seemed high on (Brandynn Manning) who was DNP in the first game.  Their leading scorer was FR Floyd Rideau with 12.  FR Latavian Lawrence had 10 rebounds.

So, this is one the Falcons should win and win comfortably.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Michigan Shreds BG Defense

 Well, it didn't turn out to be the dangerous opener that we hoped it would be.

Not dangerous for Michigan, anyway.  

As it turned out, it was no contest.  UM jumped out to a 10-2 lead.  BG got back in the game, but the Wolverines had the lead up to 10 and led 8-10 for most of the first half.  BG had it down to 3 with 4 minutes left and then trailed by 7 at the half.

Michigan opened the second half on a 6-2 run to get the lead back to 10 and it was never closer than 8 for the remainder of the game.  BG trailed by 10 or more for the last 13 minutes of the game minus one possession.  They trailed by as much as 19 and lost by 14.  BG never led.

There wasn't a lot of mystery as to how it happened.  On UM's offensive end of the court, the game was no contest.  UM scored 1.3 points per possession, which is the most in a couple years for the Falcons.  It was a combination of two things--Michigan had a ton of open looks from 3 (I'm talking OPEN) and then their big men operated in the low post with complete impunity.

BG's post defense was hampered by Dylan Swingle getting two fouls in the first 2 minutes of the game and play only 7 minutes.  He was replaced by Jacob Washington, who ended up playing only 14 minutes.  And the Falcons won't play many teams with these big men...but it was no contest.

UM did a great job moving the ball and invariably found someone who was wide open with two Falcons on a pell-mell close out.  BG was disorganized on defense and never fixed it.

UM shot 68% from 2 FG...worst since the Akron debacle at the end of the season a couple years ago.  As you can see below, BG had the advantage on turnovers but UM still had an effective game, and then won the offensive rebounding and free throw battles.  BG committed 24 fouls without fouling at the end.

BG's offensive game was not bad.  Trey Diggs...OMG.  More on that.  BG scored 1.11 points per possession, which is normally a winning number.  Over this season and the previous two, BG has only lost twice scoring at that rate.  It was a normal formula for BG....OK shooting but creating extra possessions by taking care of the ball.  BG made only 34% of their 2FGs, which you'd like to see improve.  Rebounding was a little low and the FTs were not bad and BG made 18-22.

Individually, you have to mention Trey Diggs.  Diggs went on a streak in the second half where he made five straight 3s.  And not just made.  They didn't hit the rim of even come close.  Every shot snapped the net.  Honestly not sure I have seen a Falcon with that kind of a streak.  Diggs ended up with 21 on 6 of 11 shooting overall and 3-3 at the line.

Justin Turner had 24 points on 24 shots, so that's big volume but it's a lot of possessions, too.  He shot 9 of 24 and 3-3 at the line.

Daeqwon Plowden had 15 points, shooting 2 of 7 and both of the baskets being 3FG.  He also led the team with 7 rebounds.

From a personnel standpoint, there were a couple surprises.  First, Matiss didn't play due to injury and Josiah Fulcher was out on what Coach said was a disciplinary issue.  

As I expected, Swingle started and then hardly played after that...he was in foul trouble.  The biggest surprise was that Kaden Metheny started at PG with Zeigler coming off the bench.  It wasn't just a change of pace, either.  Metheny played 24 minutes and Zeigler 15.

Jacob Washington played 15 minutes, scored 4 points on 2 of 3 shooting and had 5 rebounds.

So, the opener is in the book.  Saturday's game should present a much easier challenge.  As for this, I think we all thought this was possibly a game that a good team from BG--we hope our best in a generation--was capable of winning, as past BG teams have done.  In that sense, it was sobering.  Which is fine.  The final verdict will come later this year and be delivered at the Q...if that all happens.  For now, it was not the start we'd been working for.

Happy Thanksgiving to the Falcon Nation


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Michigan Preview

So, this uncertain season opens with a very interesting game.

Simply put, BG is playing on the road on a Big Ten floor and this is one you'd think you'd have a shot at winning.

The Michigan program seems to be on the way back.  Juwan Howard is reported to have the country's top recruiting class in the fold for next season.  For this year, however, this does not appear to be a great Wolverine team.  They are picked 6-8th by ESPN's basketball experts and 9th by CBS Sports.

Also, while this is a road game, there won't be a building full of fans exacerbating the home-court advantage.

In short, this is a game where the team picked to win the MAC could be dangerous.  Michigan is ranked #25--all the better if BG pulls the upset.

If you want a fuller preview of the Wolverines, you can check here.

The basic idea is this.

  • Last year they were 19-12 but finished with a kenpom of 16.
  • Their biggest loss was Zavier Simpson, who was 2nd-team All-Big Ten last year.  He will be a hard person to replace.
  • They have Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner.  These are both good players but they did not make the All-Big Ten team.
  • Beyond these two guys, they are counting on a couple of transfers.
  • One is Mike Smith, who transferred from Columbia, and the other is Chaundee Brown Jr, who is a transfer from Wake Forest.
  • A UM observer noted the story of Jaaron Simmons, who transferred from OU to UM with great numbers and never contributed. One thing did not translate to the other.  (Simmons remains the UM staff).

One trivia note.  Michigan has a freshman from Toledo whose name is Zeb Jackson, Jr.  Falcon fans will remember that name, as his Dad was a RB for the Falcon football team back in the day.  In fact, The Blade reported that Coach Huger and Zeb Jackson were roommates in their days at BG.

So off we go.  Under normal circumstances, we would have been anticipating this game for months.  It came about quick this time, but it appears it will be played and BG has a shot to pull the upset.