Wednesday, June 09, 2021

BG Lands Highly Recruited QB Verbal


BG has a second verbal for the 2022 class and this one is a highly sought after QB from Baltimore, MD.  His name is John Griffith, he's 6'2" and 206 lbs and ranked as a 3-star recruit on 247.

According to 247, he had offers from Arizona, Boston College, Kentucky, LSU, UMass, UM, and Tennessee.

They rank him as the #86 QB in the US.

He was featured in an HBO Documentary called "The Cost of Winning."  You should definitely check out this story in the Baltimore Sun to get a look at this young man.  It is pretty remarkable.  Gives you an idea of the on-field and off-field person he is.

St. Frances is a top-flight program.  As in, one of the top in the country.  This Washington Post Magazine story tells it all...the success, the controversy, the challenges.

Note:  I saw somewhere in there that Griffith's HS Coach worked for Jim Harbaugh at UM for a season.

Welcome to the Falcons, John.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

BG Football Adds DT Transfer

Coach Loeffler continues to strategically work the transfer wire to help rebuild the program in today's transfer-mad world.

This young man is Ali Saad, who is transferring after one year at Minnesota.  He's from Dearborn originally and was a 3-star recruit when he headed to Rowtheboatland.  He was widely recruited and actually visited Bowling Green in 2019.  247 ranked him the #25 recruit in Michigan and #76 in the nation at DT.

He did not appear in a game with the Gophers and he has four years of eligibility remaining.

He was named a 2019-20 KLAA All-Conference athlete.  He finished his career with 141 tackles and 22 tackles for loss and helped lead his team to the state playoffs his junior season by racking up more than 40 tackles and nine sacks.

He clearly lands in a position of tremendous need.  Maybe the biggest need on the field.  Certainly the defense (under new leadership) needs to get things oriented, even in the face of losing quality experienced players from an already stretched unit.

By the way, if you are interested in tracking the MAC Portal world, I'd check out this site, the MAC Football Blog.  He's 100% on top of it.  For interest, check out the exodus of Buffalo players to Kansas--which isn't that surprising, since Buffalo would have beaten Kansas last year.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Football Grabs Big 10 Transfer

BG football has a transfer.  This storyline has been evolving.  Coach Loeffler's overall philosophy is that he wants to build a winning culture and that is hard to do when you have constant turnover from transfers, especially short-eligibility transfers. The players who have left his program only exacerbated our numbers problems, and the new culture of college athletes forced him to adjust his thinking.  At some point over the winter he said he was going to adapt and get transfers who were the right fit and with multiple years of eligibility left.

I have no idea what's going to happen here.  I know a lot of fans would prefer to see BG go for the quicker fix they might find in the portal.  I would prefer to see BG develop a program along the Clawson model, which Loeffler cites.  Other teams (Akron) in the MAC have tried the transfer route (under Bowden) and it didn't work.  I also don't know if you're going to be able to execute the Clawson model if players can leave at will.  

This young man is Tommy Guajardo.  He's from the Dearborn area and had a BG offer from HS.  He was a 3-star recruit there.  He was the #30 TE recruit in that class and the #24 player in Michigan, according to 247.  He played both ways in HS and was Free Press All-West.

He was in Dantonio's last class at MSU and wrote this column for the Free Press about sticking with the Spartans after the coaching transition.

He did not play in a game for MSU as a r-FR and entered the portal following spring practice.  He is 6'3" and 230 pounds.

There's an immediate need.  Two-ways TEs are critical for how Coach Loeffler wants the offense to play. For all the recruiting at TE, BG's outlook for the position group was pretty barren in the short term.  You have Christian Sims as the only player with significant playing time.  You even have a player moved from another position to TE.  There are people coming up, to be sure, but you can see Guajardo playing right away.

BG adds Additional MBB Transfer, this one from in-conference

So, BG MBB has a new transfer for the program.  This one is Gabe O'Neal and is the first player we have gotten since the MAC removed the sit-out rule for in-conference transfers.

At one point, Coach Huger predicted this rule would have coaches fighting on the sideline, so you can tee up a Senderhoff v. Huger battle.  FWIW, if that scenario does emerge, I like having a New York City native on the sidelines.  (Senderhoff is from "Spring Valley"  NY.

OK then.  O'Neal entered the portal late in April, the 6th player to do so from Kent.  It was only a week or so before he was transferring to BG.

He's from Cincinnati originally, when to Mineral Area College.  He played one season there and then moved to Kent, where he played two years.  Last year, he averaged 11 minutes a game and had 4.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG.  He is efficient, making 62% of his 2FGs and 84% of his FTs and keep in mind those low minute totals do impact the overall numbers.

He's 6'7" and 240, so you can see him filling in the middle effectively, something BG can definitely use.

Here is where we stand right now.  There are 15 players listed below.  BG has not updated their roster since the end of the season, so this is what we have to go on.  Coach Huger has certainly adapted to changing times, with 6 players coming into BG, 5 of them as transfers. Will be interesting if nothing else.

These times, they are a-changin'.

2 Josiah Fulcher G  

3 Caleb Fields G

5 Kaden Metheny G

10 Cam Young G/F

11 Trey Diggs G/F

13 Chandler Turner G/F

21 Matiss Kulackovskis F

25 Daeqwon Plowden G/F

35 Dylan Swingle C

Samari Curtis (needs waiver)

Brenton Mills (eligible, So)

Myron Gordon (Grad Transfer Eligible)

Ubong Etim, F (early signee)

Joe Reece, F (eligible, two years left)

Gabe O'Neal, F (eligible, two years left)

Friday, April 30, 2021

Falcons pick up transfer from ODU

BG added another transfer to its MBB program.  This one is Joe Reece who is transferring from Old Dominion University in Virginia.

He is 6'8" and 200 pounds, and I would expect him to play the Jacob Washington role on the team.  He played two years at ODU and will have two seasons at BG.  

He played sparingly in his first year, but played and started 22 games last year.  He scored 7.8 PPG and had 5.1 RPG in 25 minutes.  He made 53% of his 2FG attempts and only 26% from 3FG, while attempting about 2 a game.  That 2FG shooting is pretty good.

So, to review, here is how the roster looks now.  This totals 14 players.  As will become the norm, there will be a lot of question marks, especially as BG has chosen to go for transfers from players "moving up" from smaller programs as opposed to "moving down" from P5 programs.

 2 Josiah Fulcher G  

3 Caleb Fields G

5 Kaden Metheny G

10 Cam Young G/F

11 Trey Diggs G/F

13 Chandler Turner G/F

21 Matiss Kulackovskis F

25 Daeqwon Plowden G/F

35 Dylan Swingle C

Samari Curtis (needs waiver)

Brenton Mills (eligible, So)

Myron Gordon (Grad Transfer Eligible)

Ubong Etim, F (early signee)

Joe Reece, F (eligible, two years left)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Diggs returning to BG

So here's good news for the men's basketball team.  Trey Diggs will use his bonus COVID here at BG.  The 6th Man of the Year in the MAC will return to the Falcons, meaning that only ("only") Justin Turner from last year's team is returning.

It's a new era of basketball, but I'm proud to see us hanging onto our best players when they have the option to go.

So here's how things look now...this is 13, counting Matiss. 

Scholarship Players

2 Josiah Fulcher G

3 Caleb Fields G

5 Kaden Metheny G

10 Cam Young G/F

11 Trey Diggs G/F

13 Chandler Turner G/F

21 Matiss Kulackovskis F

25 Daeqwon Plowden G/F

35 Dylan Swingle C

Samari Curtis (needs waiver)

Brenton Mills (eligible, So)

Myron Gordon (Grad Transfer Eligible)

Ubong Etim, F (early signee) 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Falcons Add P5 Transfer at WR

More football transfer news... this one at a big-time position of need.

The name is Austin Osborne, a WR transfer from Washington.  In HS, he was a four-star recruit.  For whatever they are worth, recruiting rankings would have him higher than any other player who came to BG out of HS.  We have had one or two very highly ranked transfers...WRs, too...and didn't see much, so hopefully this is the one who breaks the mold.

He had a large number of P5 offers.

He went to Mission Viejo HS in California, where he would have been a teammate of Matt McDonald's.  

Osborne did not produce much at UW.  He redshirted and then played in four games as a R-FR and one as a sophomore.  He has one career catch for a loss of 2 yards.  Here's a story about the program looking for him the highly anticipated recruit to break through.

He was all-Academic in the Pac 12 and here says he is a grad transfer with 3 years of eligibility remaining.

So here's a classic opportunity to see if a change of scenery can reignite a young man's career.  We certainly need WR help and he will get a shot.

Welcome to the Falcons, Ausin.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Falcon MBB nets additional transfer

BG has picked up its third transfer here in the off-season.  This young man is named Brenton Mills, which prior to now I would have thought to be

a)  An artisanal grain millaniery

b) A post-war convention under which the world's economy is managed.

Apparently not.

He's a transfer from Binghampton.  He's a 6'3" from Texas who played two seasons at Binghampton.  (Binghampton is the alma mater of Tony Kornheiser).

He was twice all-district in HS and his team won the state title.  At Binghampton, he made the all-rookie team in America East.

He started every game but one for the Bearcats and scored 9.7 PPG as a FR he scored 13.5 PPG as a SO, leading the team.  More than half his FGAs were from 3FG and he made 40% and 41% from 3FG. He was #6 from 3FG in the conference.  That scoring total is a little better than it looks because Binghampton played at a glacial pace and didn't generate a lot of possessions.

Welcome to the Falcons, Brenton.

So here's how things look now...this is 13, if Diggs and Matiss come back.  (Note this is updated to include Etim, who I neglected to list)

Scholarship Players

2 Josiah Fulcher G

3 Caleb Fields G

5 Kaden Metheny G

10 Cam Young G/F

11 Trey Diggs G/F  (Has option to return)

13 Chandler Turner G/F

21 Matiss Kulackovskis F

25 Daeqwon Plowden G/F

35 Dylan Swingle C

Samari Curtis (needs waiver)

Brenton Mills (eligible, So)

Myron Gordon (Grad Transfer Eligible)

Ubong Etim, F (early signee)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Falcon MBB picks up new D1 Transfer

BG MBB picked up its second D1 transfer, this one a D1 transfer who will be eligible next year.  His name is Myron Gordon.  Gordon is a 6'3" G from New Jersey who played at Samford.  

Prior to coming to Samford he was a JUCO player who scored 23 a game.  Last year at Samford he led the team with 15PPG scoring coming mostly off the bench and playing 25 minutes a game.  He shot 47% overall and 32% from 3FG.

He only played in 10 games and did not play after January 14.  He did score 29 against Georgia when Samford nearly upset UGA in Bulldog-on-Bulldog action.

He is among six Samford players in the portal.  Jermaine Marshall, breaker of Falcon hears in the MAC tourney, is actually heading TO Samford.

Also, I saw that Nelly Cummings is in the portal, leaving Colgate.

There are just shy of 1,300 players in the portal right now.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Portal beat goes on in football

Not the good kind of beat.  Kholbe Coleman-Abrams is now in the portal.  He was a 2017 Jinks recruit who played four years--counting last year--for BG.  He made 27 starts for BG and was third-team All-MAC twice.

Best of luck to Kholbe where ever he lands. 

In other news, BG had to end spring practice early due to COVID issues.  The Falcons had made it through the winter without issues, but a couple of programs have been impacted recently.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Plowden Back! Washington in Portal, along with 33 other MAC players

Some personnel news out of the MBB good piece and one less good.  

The good news is that Daeqwon Plowden has decided to return for his "extra" season.  This is good news is that BG will now not be losing its top 3 scorers, but 2 of its first 3.  (That's assuming Diggs doesn't come back, which I have heard nothing about).

Plowden has been a 2nd and 3rd team All-MAC player and it's great to have him back in the fold.

Jacob Washington, meanwhile, has entered the portal.  Washington was a JUCO transfer who played one year at BG.  He was playing double-digit minutes pretty much every game until the second Toledo game, when he hit a streak of 21 minutes total over the season's last 6 meaningful games.  (He did play some against Stetson with the injuries.)

BG finished the season with 11 scholarship players (the one left empty intentionally and Ziegler's spot).  You can do the match...Turner, Washington, Matiss and Diggs not back, for example) leaves BG with 6 open scholarships and only one FR signed and one transfer coming in, and his eligibility subject to waiver.  So, 4 open and that's if no one else leaves.  Though maybe someone else stays.  There have been some reports online of us offering some transfers.  It seems like that's an increasingly necessary option.

Jacob Washington F/C In Portal
Justin Turner G Leaving
Josiah Fulcher G
Caleb Fields G
Kaden Metheny G
Cam Young G/F
Trey Diggs G/F   Was in Senior night
Chandler Turner G/F
Matiss Kulackovskis F Potential career-ending injury
Daeqwon Plowden G/F 6-6
Dylan Swingle C 6-10

Literally, as I wrote this the news came out that Marreon Jackson (MAC Player of Year) was entering the portal.  This are currently 1,008 players in the portal, according to  34 players from the MAC are listed as being in the portal.  Most of them were getting no PT, but you have Jermaine Marshall (broke BG's heart), 2nd-team All-MAC El-Amin, BSU's 3rd leading scorer Jarron Coleman, 3rd team all-MAC Michael Nuga, Ty Groce, EMU leading scorer, Bryce McBride, EMU 2nd leading scorer, Titus Wright, WMU 3rd leading scorer and Boyer-Richard, WMU 4th leading scorer.

Jermaine Marshall, Akron
Camron Reece, Akron
Ishmael El-Amin, Ball State
Jarron Coleman, Ball State
Ra'Shad Weekly-McDaniels, CMU
DeSchon Winston, CMU
PJ Mitchell, CMU
Miles Gibson, EMU
Ty Groce, EMU
Bryce McBride, EMU
Evan Bainbridge, KSU
Kallin Bennett, KSU (To Morehouse)
James Jordan, KSU
Michael Nuga, KSU
Tekorian Smith, KSU (to Troy)
Josh Brewer, Miami
Keenon Cole, NIU 
Daniel Fillipone, NIU
Chanse Robinson, UB
Patrick Emilien, WMU to St. Francis
Chase Barrs, WMU
William Boyer-Richard, WMU
Rafael Cruz, WMU
Kawinise Williams, WMU
Titus Wright, WMU
Marreon Jackson, UT
Charles Jones, UT
Jonathan Kornugum, UT
Luke Maranka, UT
Matti Acunza, UT
Mason McMurray, Ohio
Rifen Miguel, Ohio

Sincere Carry, Kent from Duquesne
Maceo Jack, Buffalo from GW
Markeese Hastings, WMU from Butler
Lamar Norman, WMU from Duquesne
Chris James, EMU from College of Sourthern Idaho

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Bench moved to TE--QB Injuries Continue

 Quick roster note on football....

So, I was looking at the "Spring Breakdown" for the TEs on the BGSU website, and I'm seeing that Andrew Bench on Genoa is now moved from DL to TE.  Given the shortages on the DL, I think it says something.  He was on those high-performing Genoa teams and did start at TE in high school.  For a team committed to playing personnel groups that end in "2" and "3", BG lost Morris and Motes and the lineup is Christian Sims, Griffen Little, Levi Gazarek and Bench.  They have a new position coach as well.

Secondly, The Blade reported that BG's struggles with health at QB have continued.  The plan was for Guenther, Melton, Keller and Davis to split reps, looking for two of them to emerge in a kind of Quarterback Hunger games.  (Each region shall send one dropback and one dual-purpose QB).  Anyway, Guenther and Melton are unable to go, leaving Keller and Davis getting the reps.  McDonald is recovering from surgery.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Change Continues on Football Staff

So, BG is continuing to adapt it's football staff.  You saw a couple weeks ago that Brian VanGorder had "retired from college football" and Jacob Shoonover had left to go to Kansas, leaving BG with some spots to fill.

I continue to think that Loeffler is doing a good job getting coaches to come here.  Time will tell and the whole package has to deliver, but it just seems to me that he is bringing good people here to coach.

For DC, he promoted Eric Lewis from CB coach to DC to replace VanGorder.  I'm sure there are people out there who wanted to see BG go get more of a marquee name, but Lewis has been a DC before, including in the MAC.  I think he might bring some youth and enthusiasm and a fresh approach to a defense that never was talent-challenged but also never seemed to punch above its weight either.  The key now is player development.  We must get these young guys into being top players.  (His Father is Sherm Lewis, if you didn't know, which I did not).

Now coaching special teams and safeties is Bob Ligashesky.  A familiar name to BG football fans, he coached at BG from 91-99, all but one year of the Blackney era.  That's a back-back MAC Championship era--28-2-2 over the first four years--followed by some disappointment.

He left BG to head to the NFL, where he coached for 16 years, much of the time coaching special teams.  He went to Illinois with Lovie Smith, obviously was available now and is going to be at BG.  You know that this blog values special teams and if BG's going to win they are going to need good special teams.

He won a Super Bowl with the Steelers.

The other new assistant is Cato June, a standout performer at UM.  He was a sixth-round draft pick, was second-team All-Pro and won a Super Bowl with the Colts.  He is going to Coach OLB and be run-game coordinator.

Honestly, the turnover has continued but I think BG has found a combination of youth and experience and people who should be able to recruit.

It's tough without any real visible signs of progress--and 2021 has the potential to be another really tough year.  I certainly hope we're moving things in the right direction.  We do seem to be softening our stand on transfers, which could just be the new reality in college sports, like it or not.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

MBB Crashes to End

 One time I heard a speaker and he said "one more question" and somebody asked him a really tough question and he said...

"That'll teach me to take one more question."

Seems a little apropos.

I covered Stetson in the preview, this was a team that is just not very good.  But Turner couldn't play and Plowden missed the second half and lost 53-52, their lowest point total since the last season of the Orr Era (a 46-36 win).

It was a 62 possession game.  A fitting end to a disappointing season in a very tough year.

And, depending on what happens with transfers, a look into what things might be like next year without Turner and Plowden.

Stetson lost to Coastal Carolina today.  Pepperdine is playing tonight against Bellarmine, which I think is based out of that secret hotel up in Perrysburg.  

Anyway, season review coming.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

CBI Preview


So, as it turns out, the BG players did want to keep playing and they have certainly earned that right.  

To start with, I have no idea on Turner's health.  

Above is the bracket with the kenpom rankings for each team next to them.  Suffice it to say that this is a tournament BG could win, if healthy.  For reference, Stetson's 246 would have left them out of the MAC tourney, but ahead of the four teams that didn't make it.  (Between 8th and 9th ranked teams).

There was actually a huge jump in the MAC.  Miami with the lowest kenpom at in the tourney at 150 and Western Michigan was first out at 270.  Every team other than BG and Pepperdine in this tournament would fit in that slot...between Miami and WMU. 

Which is kind of weird.

Stetson has one of the great nicknames in history:  The Hatters!  The social media hub is the Hat Rack.  Their "About" section is "Under the Hat." Stetson is is DeLand, FL, which is a little piece northeast of Orlando.  They have 3,000 undergraduate students, give or take.

They moved to D1 in 1972.  They are mostly known as a baseball school, having appeared in the NCAA Tournament 18 times and were the college home of Jacob DeGrom and Corey Kluber.  (Rathole:  DeGrom was exclusive a shortstop his first two seasons at Stetson and actually refused an assignment to a summer league because they were going to have him pitch).

We are used to a lot of these Florida schools being new, but Stetson was founded in 1883.  It is indeed named after John B. Stetson,  the hat manufacturer. Their alumni include Senator Max Cleland, current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, six members of Congress, Rich McKay, GM of the Atlanta Falcons and Ted Cassidy, who played Lurch on The Addams Family.

This is Stetson's first D1 post-season appearance and probably one they would not be making under normal circumstances, seeing as they are 11-14.  They played in the DII tourney three times (making the Elite Eight once) and the NAIA tourney five times.

BG has played them three times (52, 73, 77) and never beaten them.  Two of them were part of the Tangerine Bowl Classic, which presumably designed to augment the Tangerine Bowl football game, which was the MAC's sole bowl tie-in for many years.

They play in the Atlantic Sun, which is the 27th ranked conference out of 32.  They were 7th this year.

They play the 246th ranked schedule in D1, out of 350-something.  They played the U, Florida, and Liberty three times, winning one of those--against Liberty. They also played 6 games against teams with Kenpoms above 300, going 3-3.

Keeping their schedule in mind, their offensive efficiency is 1.02 and defensively it is 1.06.  The D1 average is 1.02 points per possession, so they are good on offense and not so good on defense.  (BG was 1.07 and 1.04, so better on both fronts against the #134 schedule.

Stetson plays slow.  They are #224 in tempo and BG is #53.  That will be a key flashpoint.  If BG gets some missed shots, it is game on.

They are also very young--the 3rd youngest team that played games this year.  Their entire roster is freshman and sophomore except for one player.

Stetson is a 3FG focused team.  They try 43% of their FGAs from 3FG (#46) and make 37% (#46).  They are #23 in % of points coming from 3FG.  That equals out to just goodish offense because they make 48% from 2FG, turn the ball over too much and are poor at getting to the line.  They are average on the offensive boards.

On defense, they struggle to defend the shot.  They allow 54% on 2FG and 35% on 3FG, both sub-par.  They also don't force turnovers.  They are good on the defensive boards and at keeping opponents off the line.

They are led by Rob Perry, a SO who scores 14PPG on 40% 2FG shooting and 35% 3FG shooting.  Chase Johnston, a Floridian who transferred from IPFW also scores 14 PPG on 52% and 38% shooting, actually making him the more efficient player.

Christiaan Jones--the only senior on the team--scores 12.9 on 50% and 39% shooting, making him one of the 300 most efficient players in the country.  Mahamadou Diawara, 6'10" from Mali, scores 10 PPG on 57% shooting and leads the team with 6.2 RPG.  Stephen Swenson leads them with 96 assists, one of the 100-best assist rates in the country.

BG hasn't played in the post-season since the Chris Jans year.  That year, BG won its first post-season game in 40 years.  They lost out to Canisius in what turned out to be a bad night for Chris Jans, 6 years ago today.

So, we start again.  Look, no one begins the season hoping to play in the CBI.  On the other hand, you have some guys playing together for the last time and if they're into it so am I.

More Transfer News on Football

So, yet another portal update, now with Joe Ware hitting the wire.  He was a redshirt senior who was a Babers recruit coming in the 2016 class and played in 14 games over his Falcon career.  It looks like he made 4 starts.

Best to Joe on his future.

This portal thing is going to change everything when added to not having to sit out.  MAC MBB is littered with transfers already, some of them significant and others being potential role players you still need on a team. As that happens, it opens up slots suddenly which you look to fill guessed it...dissatisfied role players from other schools.

Things are not going to be the same.  I think players should have the same right to change schools as Coaches and Administrators, but it is going to yield a different fan experience and a different recruiting experience.

One last football note...I'm hearing some rumors on some interesting coaching moves.  One is widely in circulation and that would be Cato June coming to the Falcons.  I'd think an overall announcement is coming soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

BG has a transfer coming for Football

BG has landed a transfer for its football program at a position of extreme need.  Which actually might include all of them.

The young man is Davon Ferguson, who is a DB coming over from Kansas.  He's from Baltimore, MD.  He played his first season at Hartnell College (a California JUCO).  He transferred to Kansas and played three seasons there.  I believe he would have one season at BG, but who can keep track?

He played in 20 games, making 16 starts.  He started the first four games last season and then not, which may have led to the transfer.  To be clear, he announced he was leaving the team in November, before the coaching turmoil at Kansas.  He cited personal reasons.\

He had 20 tackles in his last two games with the Jayhawks.

He was listed as a 5'10 and 197 pounds and a safety.

He was also all-academic Big-12.

Welcome to the Falcons, Davon.

VanGorder Retires from "College" Football

 The picture became a little clearer.  VanGorder is going to be a defensive coordinator in high school.  And is retired from "college" football.

He is going to Gulf Shores, AL.  The new head coach there is Mark Hudspeth, whose name you might know from head coaching jobs at Louisiana, North Alabama and Austin Peay.  He left the Governors in 2019 (to spend more time with his familyl and seems to have actually meant it) and coached youth football in 2019 in Gulf Shores and then moved up to Coach the high school team.

This story on has more about VanGorder heading down there.  Based on this, VanGorder reached out to Hudspeth through an intermediary.

“We had not coached together, but we had a mutual acquaintance and that person let me know that Brian might be interested in talking to us,” Hudspeth said. “Obviously, when I found out he might be interested, we connected and had a lot of great conversations and the same goals.


Thinking about what was going on when VanGorder left, this quote from Hudspeth is also interesting.

"At this level, you are not dealing with a lot of the things you are dealing with in college football right now with opt outs and transfers and things like that.”

Things like that.

It's a critical hire for Loeffler.  He's got to make a good hire.  It won't be easy, given what's going on at BG, but he's been given a bit of a mulligan and if he can find the right person he can start to re-write the story.  If he just promotes Steve Morrison, then it's a different look.

Oh last note:  BG's last 2 defensive coordinators are now coaching HS ball.

Monday, March 15, 2021

BG Basketball Verbal/CBI Update

So, BG has their second recruit for the 2021-2 season...this one very interesting and different from previous recruits.

He's a transfer.  His name is Samari Curtis and he's from Xenia.  He was Ohio's Mr. Basketball his senior year, averaging a 34.4 PPG and being labelled a 3-star recruit.  

From there he went on a bit of a journey.  He committed to Xavier.  There was a coaching change so he switched to UC.  The same thing happened there so he enrolled at Nebraska, where he played in 8 games.  He transferred to Evansville, where he made the "all-bench" team in the MVC, averaging 10.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 22 minutes per game.

He sat out a year (January-January) prior to Evansville and I would assume would bring sophomore eligibility to BG.

We need shooters, and he shot 56% and 38%, both of which are really solid.  He is a 6'4" SG.

Welcome to the Falcons, Samari.

You've also seen by now that BG will play in the CBI and open against Stetson, a team with a losing record in the Atlantic Sun.  BG had a chance to play in a tourney like this after the end of the 2019 campaign, but has apparently decided it's the right thing to do.

For me, this is up to the players and coaches.  I'm happy for them to play more, but I get it if they don't.  The 2019 was a much longer season.  They've played fewer games and are apparently up for it.  They are headed to Daytona Beach, which might be nice if you could ever get out of the hotel room.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Now 53 Years


Now 53 elapsed years since BG has been in the NCAA tournament.  Here is the company we live with now.  Sadly, this list remains static this year...after our best shot in years two years ago, a cancelled tourney and a disappointing quarter-final exit.

Columbia: Last appeared in 1968
Tennessee Tech: Last appeared in 1963
Maine: Division I since 1962
New Hampshire: Division I since 1962
Dartmouth: Last appeared in 1959
Army: Division I since 1948
Citadel: Division I since 1948
St. Francis (N.Y.): Division I since 1948
William & Mary: Division I since 1948

Saturday, March 13, 2021

VanGorder Retires

 BG announced today that Brian VanGorder has retired from college football.  Those are the exact words.

It's a big surprise. He's 61. We're in the middle of spring practice.  There was plenty of time to retire before now.  Or in a month.  

The timing is odd and leads you to think about what might be behind the story, because it just doesn't seem to be what it appears to be.

A couple things are out in the open.  First, if he isn't the most openly mocked coach on the internet, then it's Loeffler.  Second, our defense has been horrible.  Yes, they have been undermanned, especially on the line and in the backfield.  On the other hand, we now know we had one player who could play at Arizona and one at Boise.  So maybe there was more talent than we thought or were told.  The team was still predominantly young, any way you slice it.

So, VanGorder didn't make the defense awful.  There's also no reason to think he had them overachieving either.

We can be ready for a change, I totally get that.  Here's the problem.  You can think BVG was a bad choice.  BVG was picked by the head coach, who, when he talked about BVG put on his "if you knew anything about football" voice and said he was the best schematic defensive coach he had ever known.

That guy is going to pick the next one.

Maybe he has learned.

It's strange.  Our last 3 coaches have hired DCs who failed.  In the case of McCloud and Eliano, they were the coach's best friend.  Not sure about that here, but for all the talk about Dave Clawson, the only coach who hired an outstanding DC was Clawson.

I have been in the "trust the process" camp.  I'm moving a notch or two in the other direction.  I continue to think we will not be very good next year and it's going to get rough.

And to the fans who are outraged...thank you...for not walking away completely.  At least you still care enough to be pissed.

Friday, March 12, 2021

And there is much sadness....

Well, there is goes.  Again.  Just a very sad morning in our program.  One of the points I have always made is that winning this tournament is really hard and not just because of the competitive level.  You also need good timing and then everything to break your way.  There's no time to make up for an injury or other bad break.  Remember the year UT seemed to have it won and Fletcher was injured in the semi-final.

BG certainly saw that last night.  Make no doubt, even at full-strength the Akron game is 50/50 on a neutral floor.  They're a very good team.  Take Justin Turner, essentially, out of the mix and it's a lot worse.  BG gave themselves a chance, but in the end Akron made the plays, especially in a very short but decisive segment in the late second half.  Compare that with how Kent did without Pippen.

We all remembered that Turner was injured at the end of the Miami game.  We hadn't heard anything since then, obviously.  Coach said after the game that the coaches were going to have him not dress, but Turner insisted on playing and they felt he had earned it.  But, you could see he couldn't move the way he needed to.  

We had guys step up...Plowden, Chandler Turner.  Akron had a guy do that too (more later) and made the plays down the stretch to win the game.

So disappointing.  I feel so bad for the entire team...Justin and Daeqwon in particular.  They have sweated blood for this program and it ended like that.  (Quick caveat:  no one loses a year of eligibility for this season, so anyone could be back.  Just making a guess.)  We had three really good years and the tumblers just didn't fall into place.

After a slow start, the game was very competitive most of the way.  BG took the lead with just under 6 minutes left to play in the game.  With 4 left, it was tied.  BG missed a 3FG and then LCJ came down and put AK ahead by 2.  BG missed a layup and Akron came down and Jermaine Marshall canned a 3FG, Akron up 5.  Turner hit a jumper and then Marshall hit ANOTHER 3FG to put Akron up 6 with 2:36 left.

And that was it.  Akron made 3-4 from the line coming home and the game was over.  Win probability goes from 59% to 86% in that span.

It was a high leverage moment and Akron did what they have historically done...made the plays.

We can stop and look at Jermaine Marshall, a JUCO transfer who had played 10 minutes or less in the last 10 games.  He made 2 3FGs against Cedarville in the opener and hadn't made one since.  Hehad missed 9 straight.  And then he drained two in this game at the game's most decisive moment.

What a thing sports are.  Give the young man credit, he wasn't afraid and when his chance came he came through for his team.  And the kind of thing tournament runs seem to be built on.  BG never seems to catch that little bolt of lightning and seems to usually be struck by it.

Daeqwon Plowden did his part to rally the team.  He took 18 shots, 16 of them from 2FG.  He was 10 of 16 from 3FG and 1 of 2 from 3FG.  That's 26 points.  That's his season-high.  If that's the last time we see him in orange and brown, it will be with the team on his back.

BG had only one other double figure scorer--Chandler Turner, who had 12 on 3 of 4 and 1 of 3 shooting and all 3 FTs to go with 8 rebounds.  That's a Jermaine Marshall like moment.  He played 26 minutes, his most by 8 this year.

BG had a rough night offensively.  They ended up at 1.03 points per possession, which is just below the MAC average.  They shot 53% from 2FG and made only 2 turnovers, which allowed them to mostly salvage a 3-23 night from 3FG.  That's the worst since the Kent game at the beginning of last year.  BG has not won a game under 15% from 3FG since that New Year's Day win over St. Louis with Majerus in the house.  BG was 0-4 that day.

And Akron won their shares of battles on offense, with 1.14 points per possession.  That's pretty good....they followed the usual BG formula of OK shooting and they only turned the ball over 6 times.  They also ended up +7 at the FT, 3 of which came in the last minute.

So, that's how it ends.  So disappointing.  You just feel like a window is closing.  The program is still in decent shape, but you finally had a critical mass of players and you saw the results except where we all really want to see it happen.

More on the state of the program coming.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

To the Q we go

So, it's off to the Q.  As we know, because we say it every year, everything in the regular-season is rendered meaningless by these next 3 days.  You have to win 3 games in a row against the best teams in the MAC.  With all 8 teams making the Q, the regular season even means less.  Yeah, seeding matters but not that much.  BG has to beat Akron in the quarters, which isn't great but we'd have had to beat them anyway.  Basically, land in the top 8 and go to work.

BG split with Akron this year.  Akron won by 12 at the Stroh and BG won by 12 at the JAR, breaking a long-standing curse in that venue for BG.  The difference between the games isn't hard to tease out. BG shot 39% in the first game and 52% in the second game.  Akron shot 44% in the first game and 40% in the second game.

In fact, BG has played decent defense against the Zips in both games and made the difference with the shooting in the second game.

Akron is a very well-rounded team. They were 12-6 in MAC play and lost their last 3, one of which was the BG game.  They are 4th in the MAC in offense and defense.  BG is 7th and 5th.

The first thing about the Zips is they are a 3FG focused team.  They lead the MAC and are #15 in the nation in % of 3s taken.  They are only 5th at making them and overall are the #4 shooting team in the MAC.  They are 5th in turnovers, 5th in offensive rebounds and 2nd in getting to the line.  They are 7th in FT shooting.

On defense, they don't force turnovers, but they are #4 defending the shot, 4th on the defensive boards and #5 at preventing FTs.  

As we know, BG's offense is built on low turnovers.  Since Akron doesn't force turnovers, you'd think that looks good.  BG is not a good shooting team...#10 in the MAC and #11 from 3FG.

So, things to look for starts with BG making some shots, as they did at the JAR.

If Akron is making 3s, that's a bad sign.  They were at 25% in each game in their 3-game losing streak.  In fact, they have shot 32% or below in each loss this year.

Their top player is first-team All-MAC and last year's POY Loren Cristian Jackson.  He scored 21 PPG this year, top in the MAC.  Last year he shot 49% on 2FG and 46% on 3FG--which is really good--but this year it was 45% and 34%, which is less efficient.  He was 2nd in assists and #7 in A/T ratio.  He's also #6 in FT%.

He's the only Akron player on the All-MAC teams.  (Enrique Freeman made all-defense.)  

Their only other double-figure scorer was Bryan Trimble, who scored 13 PPG shooting mostly 3FGs at 43%.  Freeman averaged 8.7 RPG which is the #3 total in the MAC.

The first one will be tough.  But all 3 will be.

Last note.  Justin Turner actually left the Miami game at the end with an injury.  We haven't heard anything about his status (no surprise there) but obviously if he can't go or is limited, the odds get much longer for the Falcons.

BGSU MBB Players Honored, Turner first-team All-MAC for third straight year

 The Men's All-MAC teams are out today.  Some very strong honors for BG MBB today.

First, Justin Turner was named first-team All-MAC for the third time.  He joins Howard Komives, Nate Thurmond, Cornelius Cash and Jim Darrow as the only Falcons to be first-team All-MAC three years in a row.

Congrats to Justin, it was well earned.  What an incredible career at BG for him.  It has been a blessing to watch him play.

Marreon Jackson was the MAC Player of the Year.  It's hard to argue with that choice.  He had a great season, especially in MAC play.  He scored big points at a highly efficient rate and led the MAC in assists and steals.  Turner had a POY quality year, just not as good as Jackson's.

In other news, Trey Diggs was named the 6th Man of the Year.  This is also well deserved.  I think we had the idea he was mostly a shooter, but he was a key part of BG's rotation in a variety of different facets of the game, which he is being recognized for.

Daeqwon Plowden was third-team All-MAC.  He was second-team last year and for my money he was this year as well.  Still a huge honor for him.  Watching him development has been great--and a part of college basketball that I fear we are about to lose (watching a player develop over 4 years).

BG had two players on the All-Freshman team as well.  You'd certainly have expected Matheny to be on the team and I was pleasantly surprised to see Josiah Fulcher recognized.  He certainly earned it.  Also, I feel like this shows we have a foundation for the program for the future.

Congrats to all these young men for their great seasons and for Turner, Diggs and Plowden, for great Falcon careers.  Onward to the Q.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Loeffler Spring Presser

Scot Loeffler did his presser yesterday for the start of spring practice.  Wearing a suit coat and a very open collar shirt, he looked a little bit like a guy running a disco in Paris.

Here's what he had to say:

The big news--though I swear he mentioned it on a podcast during the winter--was that Matt McDonald had surgery on his shoulder in January.  Loeffler says it "probably" should have been done before the season but he gutted it out.

Loeffler said he has had "candid" conversations with McDonald that he has to play better.  Yes, there were issues--like the supporting cast, the injury--but he has to play better.

Just to illustrate, McDonald's QB rating was 85.  Grant Loy, the year before, was 104.  Doege the year before that was 139.  Knapke in 2014 was 114.

McDonald won't be in spring practice.  So Loeffler saw this coming...Keller, Melton, Guenther and Davis will get the reps this spring.  The top of those would battle McDonald over the summer for the starting job.  Coach envisions a competition.

Other news.

We did have some training interruptions with COVID.  Even so, Coach says our strength and size gains were "exceptional."  He said they were very tough on the players this winter, but the team stuck together and made it through.

He predicts a healthy roster by 2022

There was a little talk about the portal.  Loeffler reiterated his concern that there are thousands of players in the portal but only about 150 open scholarships.  Also, if a young man transfers it shouldn't count against your initial counters.

Coach said that if a young man transfers for a lateral move, he doesn't think that makes sense, but if there's an opportunity to play at a bigger football school, he can support that.  Most of the BG players who have left (he said) have graduated and been here through some tough years.

In other news, Caleb Biggers has landed at Boise, Jerry Roberts at Arizona and Andrew Clair at Northwestern.  Wishing them all well.  Who knew we had P5 guys on last year's team?  (OK, Boise isn't P5).

If a kid wants to transfer to a same type of school, he disagrees.  If he can play at a larger school, that's a different subject.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Football Verbal

 BG has an interesting 2021 commit...his name is Denver Warren.  He certainly is bringing some credentials with him.  He is a 6'3" and 310 pound DT...filling a role BG is desperately in need of.  Warren is also a year older, having gone to a prep school in Connecticut last year.

He is originally from Chicago, where he attended West Aurora HS (with Wayne and Garth) and then Brother Rice.  He had all kinds of Big 10 offers and ended up accepting an offer to Michigan.  At this point, he was a 4-star recruit.

He didn't go to Michigan and instead went to CT for prep school.  Based on this post, he was a welcome addition.  The article makes reference to "bumps" in the road.  At the time, he said that UM didn't have room on the D-line for him.

His defensive coach said he was a multi-position player on the line, which BG could certainly use.  He's physical and has great "get off."

Denver says he matured a lot at prep school.

Welcome to the Falcons, Denver.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

BG MBB Regular Season Finale Cancelled

So, that's how the regular seasons ends.  BG's game with OU was cancelled due to COVID, which I assume was on the OU end, because they were already having issues.  We expected to have 20 MAC games and ended up playing 18.  EMU played 13, that's the lowest number.  Anyway, a very different year, hopefully never to be repeated.  Next up is a trip to Cleveland.  Win 3 games and we will have done something we haven't done since 1968 in the very oddest of years.  Wouldn't that just figure.  The conference tournament is still in flux, with at least two teams with COVID issues.  If they can't go, everything will get scrambled.

Time will tell.  In the meantime, the regular season ends at 14-10 and 10-8.  Disappointing, but can still be redeemed. 

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Crazy Night Yields OT Defeat for MBB

So, last night was one for the books, unless you are factoring in that the opponent was Miami and you have a life time of star-crossed, bizarre, full moon events, almost all of which resulting in heartbreak for the Falcon fans.  It's never been good--the game my senior year with the two recovered onside kicks (by us) is one of the few positive examples.

BG was down 5 with 1:15 left.  They scored the next 7 points, including Daeqwon Plowden hitting both ends of a 1-1 and BG led by 2 with :15 left.  A defensive stand wins the game but instead Miami drives right down the court and hits a layup.

Game tied again, BG has :05 left.  They have their normal play set up with Turner isolated up high.  He went to find a screen and slipped.  The ball spilled to Trey Diggs who fired up a wild 3FG that was not close.  However, Caleb Fields was in position and he quick-tapped the ball into the basket before the buzzer and it appeared BG had a thrilling win.

The refs went to the replay...which at first seemed weird because it was clearly before the buzzer.  Than it became clear that the clock actually stopped briefly at .7 seconds, before Fields tipped it.  The more I watched it, the more it was clear that if clock had kept running there was no way Fields got the tip off in time.

Then, the refs appeared to indicate the basket would count.  Much excitement and then the refs went back and looked again at the exact same thing and made the opposite conclusion and it was off to overtime.

Terry Wymer told the announcers that had the clock kept running, it would have expired before the tip, which is how it looked.  

Why was the clock stopped?  Hard to know because the shot clock was off--no need to reset to 20--and it didn't go in.  And no way to know why they changed their ruling twice.

Anyway, it doesn't matter.  It was off to OT.

Miami was up 5 with 2:30 left in OT.  Miami turned it over and Matheny converted with a basketball to cut it to 3.  Then another Miami turnover and Plowden cut the lead to 1.  Then, BG forced a shot clock violation and had a chance to re-steal the win, but Diggs missed a 3FG and that was the game.

And BG lost.  It wasn't really consequential.  The 8 in Cleveland are decided and you're going to need to win 3 there against good teams, it doesn't really matter if you end up 6th or 7th.  Yeah, if you are 6th you avoid UT and Akron, but we also lost to Kent twice.  We're going to need to hit a peak to win those three and what happens in this game and the next one (if it is played) will not be important.

Still.  That's a season sweep for the the team picked to win the MAC.

When you look at this, it is surprising the game got to overtime at all.  BG was badly outshot.  It was tough to watch.  BG spent most of the night jacking up 3 FGs.  They shot 48% of the FGAs from 3FG which is the second-highest of the season.  Unfortunately, unlike the last similar game (EMU) where BG shot 48% from 3FG...the Falcons shot 25%.  That's going to be tough and then when you only make 44% of your 2FGs, you're going to have a long night.  Meanwhile, Miami shot 50% from 2FG and 40% from 3FG.  It's hard to think of a game like that going to OT.  Miami was also 16 of 18 at the line and BG was 11 of 16.  However, turnovers and offensive rebounds were enough to make this one close.

Daeqwon Plowden had quite a night.  He had 19 points, 18 rebounds and 2 assists.  Like everyone else, the shooting was rough, at 3 of 10 and 2 of 7.  Diggs also had 19, but it took him 16 shots--14 3FGs--to get there.  Turner had 16, 6 of 12 from 2FG, which is not bad, but 1-7 from 3FG.  Metheny had a rough 10.

It was disappointing.  BG has formerly been next to impossible to beat at the Stroh.  Hasn't been that was in COVID times.  Anyway, it will all be forgotten in a week.  As always, you either win it at the Q or it's all for naught.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Redhawk Redux

The Falcons had two particularly low points in the six-game losing streak.  One was losing to Toledo--they've had a chance to even that one out.  The other was a 19-point drubbing at the hands of Miami.  That one they get the chance to even out tomorrow.

BG played what Coach Huger referred to as "horrendous."  Miami scored 1.4 points per possession, their best in 18 years.  They made 65% of their 2FG and 48% from 3FG.  It was BG's worst defensive game of the season and for a couple years going back.  It was a night to be forgotten.

Overall, they are 11-10 and 8-8.  In a COVID-oddity, six of their wins are NIU (twice), WMU (twice), EMU and CMU, a romp through the MAC's worst teams.

If you don't adjust for their games, they aren't terrible.  They are 6th in offense and 8th in defense in the MAC.

On offense, they aren't great or terrible at anything.  They are the 6th best shooting team and 4th in turnovers.  They are also 4th in making FTs.  On the defensive side, they are very good on the defensive boards and pretty much average at nothing else...but again, they are a middle-of-the-road defensive team.

They have 3 double-figure scorers.  Dae Dae Grant, who is scoring 14.3 on 41% 2FG shooting and 44% 3FG.  He's the 6th best 3FG shooter in the MAC and the #1 FT shooter (92%).  He had 27 against BG, on 5 of 9 3FGS and 5 assists.

Mekhi Lairy is scoring 13.4 PPG on 49% and 40% shooting.  He had a very efficient 16 in the first game.  Dalonte Brown is scoring 13 PPG and had 17 in the first game.

Beyond righting the wrong of the first game, BG is looking to re-establish some street cred at home.  BG has been much better on the road than at home.  Riding a four-game winning streak, they have the chance to pick up two home wins and go to Cleveland on a six-game winning streak.

This is a game they should win this time as they should have last time.  Let's hope the Falcons end up on the right side.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Turner on MAC Scoring List

There's one more week left in the regular you know by now, Justin Turner is the leading scorer in our program's history.  He's the first to score 2,000 points and he's the #12 scorer in MAC history.  I thought it would be interesting to see what company he is in.  This is a pretty good collection of players.  At least a couple of them ended up taking their team to the Sweet 16.  One has numerous Championship rings from the NBA.  Many of them are the leading scorers in their program's history.

With 19 points, Justin would end up in the top 10.  We have between 3 and 5 games left, at his current average, Justin would end up either 6th or 5th.  Fourth would be tough to pull off....but who knows.

Anyway, a quick opportunity to appreciate Justin's career and the player whose company he has joined.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

BG Breaks JAR Curse, Wins by 12.

BG beat Akron last night by 12 at the JAR, the first home loss for the Zips this year and the first win in that venue in 11 years.  In that game--and in the last four--we've seen the team we hoped we had this year.  Last night's win was a comprehensive defeat of a good team on their floor.  It was the kind of game that might make you think you could win a title.

First a little history.  In 2009, BG was at the JAR.  The Falcons were in the running for the title.  There were about two minutes left and the Zips were turning the heat up in a 1-point game.  BG couldn't even get the ball in.  Finally they did, but Akron's defense was everywhere.  The ball ended up in the corner with Brian Moten who drained a late-clock 3FG to put BG ahead.  The Falcons then survived a late flurry at the basket and then a run-out dunk (also by Moten) made it a 50-46 victory.  The game put BG in first place and then ended up winning the regular season.  March 1, 2009.

It was an ugly streak.  Only 3 of the 11 games were inside 5 points.  Seven of 11 had double digit margins, 3 above 20 and 1 above 30.

And last night, it went the other way.

It was the kind of no-doubt victory that gives you confidence.

The first half was very entertaining.  The first 10 minutes were very close.  The first run went to Akron, who went up 7 with about 8 minutes left.  It was only 21-14...BG was struggling to score early, as they have before.

The scoring picked up on both sides, and with 3:38 left it was 33-27 Akron.  BG went on an 11-4 run to end the half in the lead by 1.

There were 8 lead changes in the first half.

The second half was impressive for the Falcons, who led for almost 18 minutes, while Akron led for :45.  

BG built the lead gradually, but steadily.  It was 6 points with 16 to play.  It was 7 with 12 to play.  It was still 7 with 6 minutes left, but Akron never got it within 3 over that span.  

The last media timeout came with 3:29 left and BG up 8, 72-64.  And then BG did what Akron had done to them so many times...closed the door with extreme prejudice.  BG got a stop, split a pair of free throws...and then Caleb Fields got a steal...that Matheny tapped forward...and then Fulcher converted to an and-one to put BG up 12 with 2:13 left.

And that was it.  There was no last minute drama, no clinging to the lead.  Akron never got closer than 11 and BG made all 4 last minute FTs.

That's how you win a good team wins a game.

BG scored 1.19 points per possession.  That's their 4th best offensive game of the year and the best since the second CMU game.  Meanwhile, they held Akron to 1.02, well below the MAC average for the season.

The spread was driven by shooting.  BG shot 55% from 2FG and 30% from 3FG.  Only 34% of their FG attempts were 3s, which is among their lower numbers for the year.  I would guess that's because of the offensive rebounds, which were really high--3rd highest in MAC play.

Meanwhile, Akron shot 41% from 2 and 26% from 3FG.  They came in as a very effective shooting team. It was their worst shooting game of the year.  The FG spread was so significant, in fact, that Akron was +8 at the free throw line and lost by 12.  BG made 31 FGs and AK made 21.

Individually, Justin Turner led BG with 19.  That was 6 of 11 and 1 of 5, 4 of 4 at the line and 1 assist over 3 turnovers.  Metheny continues to be hot, scoring 15 on 3 of 6 from 2FG and 3FG.  Also 5 assists over 2 turnovers.  Fields had a nice 13 on 4 of 5 and 1 of 3 shooting.  Dylan Swingle scored 9 on 4 of 5 shooting and Plowden had 6 rebounds.

For Akron, it was really interesting.  LCJ had 29, but it took him 20 shots to get there.  He was 2 of 8 from 2FG.  Meanwhile, no other Zip scored in double figures.  Trimble was 2 of 9 from 3FG.

So, the Falcons move to 14 and 9 and 10-7.  They have clinched a spot in Cleveland, where it's going to be an 8-team show where you could see 5-6 teams have a shot to win it.  (We can argue about Ball State, I don't see it).  Two more regular season games, with Miami and Ohio both at home next week.  That Miami loss earlier is a rankler....time to right that wrong.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Football Updates: Biggers, Schoonover, First Verbal

 While we wait for the Akron game tonight, there are a few football updates.

Caleb Biggers is in the transfer portal.  He's the second prominent defensive player to be in the portal, with the other being Jerry Roberts.  We don't know of Roberts having found a home yet and, as noted, there are way more players than slots.  Time will tell.  He played three seasons at BG and made 19 starts.  He was 4th on the team in tackles.  If he doesn't come back, best of luck to him.

BG's assistant Jake Schoonover has left to take a job at Kansas, where he will work with Les Miles.  Schoonover was safeties and special teams for the last couple seasons.  He came with Loeffler and we will see how the vacancy gets filled.

Lastly, BG does have their first verbal for the class of 2022.  It's WR Jalen Holly of River Rouge, MI.  He had offers from Akron, Ball State, CMU, Kent and NIU.  He's 6'0" and listed as a 3-star recruit.

Note that a commenter has corrected me...Schoonover was hired here by Coach Jinks.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Zip Preview 2

The season is reaching the last week and we're getting to the point where you can't say there's a lot of time left.  Apparently some result today meant that BG has qualified for Cleveland, which means that we're going to get a shot to win 3 and go to Indy.

Tomorrow's game is going to be an interesting test.  Akron is one of the top two teams this year in the MAC--the type of team you have to beat to win the MAC.  They are 12-5 in D1 games and 12-4 in the MAC.  They have yet to lose at home this year.  

Akron at one point beat BG in 17 straight games.  Recently, BG has greatly improved that trend,  winning 3 out of the last 8.  Akron beat the Falcons by 12 at the Stroh earlier.

That was the first game in BG's six-game losing streak.  

BG was victimized by putrid shooting.  It was the second-worst game of the season and there hasn't been a worse one since then.  BG scored .81 points per possession, the worst of the year.  As you can see, turnovers weren't great, offensive rebounding was only average and BG shot only 5 FTs.  On defense, Akron didn't shoot great either and they also turned the ball over, but they were very good on the offensive boards and made 17 of 19 FTs.


I'd suspect that BG's ability to score will be key in this one as well.  Akron is the #2 defensive team in the MAC.  They defend the 2FG especially well.  They don't force turnovers, but they are very good on their own defensive boards and they don't put their opponent on the line.  BG will need to keep hitting 3FGs, I suspect, to open this up.

3FGs will be vital to Akron too.  No team in the MAC tries a higher percentage of its FGAs from 3FG.  In fact, they are 12th in the country.  They are 4th in making 3FGs and first in percentage of points from 3FG.  They take good care of the ball, are just average on the offensive rebounding and 4th at getting to the line.

They are a good team.  And this is the kind of team you need to beat to win.  Not tomorrow, of course.  But eventually.

They are led by last year's MAC POY, Loren Cristian Jackson, who is tied for the league lead with 20.2 PPG.  He's 2nd in the MAC in assists as well.  He uses a lot of possessions, shooting 41% and 33%.  He shot 46% from 3FG last year.  He had a tough 16 against BG in the first game.

The dagger in the first game was St. John's transfer Bryan Trimble had 18 points shooting 7 of 13 overall.  He's averaging 14.7 per game for the year, shooting 45% on virtually all 3FGs.  He's 6th in the MAC. 

Sophomore Enrique Freeman is leading them with 8+ RPG, which is 3rd in the MAC.

So here we go.  BG certainly struggled and seems to be playing better, including a win over UT--the #1 team in the MAC.  This will be a good test of whether BG is ready to go to Cleveland and come home with the title.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Falcon MBB Wins Again

 BG's MBB team suffered another slow start, but then eventually found their stride and defeated a struggling EMU team.  This is a game that BG should have won and did, by 13 in the end.

It didn't always look that good.  BG has historically struggled against zone defenses, and the first part of the game was no exception.  With 6 minutes left in the first half, (14 minutes and a third of the game), BG was down by 17 points, 29-12.  That's less than a point a minute.

From there, it was all Falcons.  BG went on a 16-2 run to close the half out only down 3, took the lead for good in the first 2 minutes of the second half, had a 10-point lead a couple minutes later and it was off to the races.  For the last 26 minutes of the game, BG outscored them 70-40.

There was one point where it got a little nerve-wracking.  BG was struggling under full-court pressure and also missing FTs and the lead was down to 6 with 2 minutes left.  BG got a couple stops and Fields re-found his FT touch and BG was able to turn the tide back.

One thing I noticed is that BG's defense--which can be hard to watch--seems to pick up when the Falcons go to full-court pressure.  It's the second game in a row where that has seemed to work.  It just seems to get everyone engaged.  It isn't really a press designed to get turnovers but just to slow the other team down and it seems to be good for the defense.

BG had 1.16 points per possession which is a winning number.  BG is 23-2 over the last 3 years when scoring that amount or more.  BG also had a solid defensive effort in the end, holding EMU to .97 points per possession.  BG benefitted from unconscious shooting.  They tried over half of their FGs from 3FG--the first time that's happened in a MAC game since the "suspension" game against OU in 2017.  BG also made 48% of them, their best in a MAC game this year.  BG turned the ball over more than normal, but got some help on the offensive boards and got to the line 21 times, all in the second half.  BG struggled, only making 13 of the FTs.

EMU didn't have a terrible shooting night, but they turned the ball over more and did nothing on their offensive boards.  Their mix of shots was heavily weighted toward 2FG and they only made 50% of those.  That's right on the MAC average, but in today's game if you are going to focus on getting to the basket you need to score more than that or get to the line, which also didn't happen.

On an individual basis, you only need to say "Kaden Metheny."  He was just unconscious from 3FG and helped BG shoot over that zone.  He made 8 of 14 3FGs.  The school record is 9 by Jay Larranaga.  He finished with 29 points, his second-straight 20 point game after struggling during BG's losing streak. Remember, he's a FR, so you do get some ups and downs.  I think he's going to be a good one.

Caleb Fields was in triple-double territory.  He had 13 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 turnover.

Justin Turner had 13 and had to work for it.  He was 2-9 on 2FG attempts.  He did have 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals over 2 turnovers, so there were other contributions.

Plowden also had 13 on 3 of 7 and 2 of 5 shooting and 9 rebounds.  Diggs had 10 and 6 rebounds, making 2 of 3 from 3FG.

BG moves to 9-7 in the MAC and still in 6th place.  There's a big one Friday, as BG takes on Akron.  The Zips are currently #2 in the MAC and beat BG by 12 in their last meeting.  It will be an excellent test as BG prepares to win the kind of game they will need to win in the MAC tourney.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

MBB Is Back, EMU Preview

 So, a quick preview for EMU tonight...

It has been a tough year for EMU.  They were predicted to be eighth in the MAC, returning 7 letterwinners, their leading scorer and bringing in four transfers.

It has been a tough year.  They are 4-9 with just one D1 win.  Their only win was a 12-point win over Akron, which is kind of the most EMU thing ever.

They were sidelined by COVID from January 26 to February 20 and they are in the middle of a five-game losing streak that has spanned both sides of the long break.  They have played 9 MAC games to date and are looking at playing three between tonight and Saturday.

They are really struggling.  They are last in the MAC in offense and defense.  They are the worst shooting team in the MAC--11th on 2FGs and 12th on 3FGs.  They are also last in defending the FG--10th on defending the 3FG and 12th on defending the 2FG.

Ty Groce was their leading scorer last year and he is again.  He's a legit player.  He is an Ypsi native, 6'8" and scoring 14 PPG on 53% shooting overall and a team high 6 RPG.  Bryce McBride is their second leading scorer.  He's a 6'2" JUCO transfer scoring a rough 12 PPG on 36% overall shooting and 27% from 3FG.  Third-leading scorer is Yeikson Montero, who a 6'5" SR who was a JUCO and is his second year at EMU.  He's scoring 11.4 PPG but shooting 37% overall and 11 of 50 from 3FG!  He also averages 6.1 RPG.  They also have Drew Lowder, a transfer from Holy Cross who is scoring 8 PPG on similar shooting numbers.

Just a quick look at the Eagles.  It would be a real let down to have BG seem to get things back on track and lose this one.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Victory in Muncie

 And now it's two in a row, as BG beat Ball State in Muncie.  It's the first two-game winning streak since the two CMU wins created a five-game winning streak which was broken only by losing to...well...Ball State.

The first half was very competitive.  No one led by more than 6 points, there were 13 lead changes and Ball State led by 1 point at the break.

The second half belonged to the Falcons.  BG took the lead with 17 minutes left and led the remainder of the way.  Even then, the game was close, with BG only leading by 4 with 7:42 left.  BG went on a 12-0 run over the next 3 minutes, leading by 16 with 4:40 or so left.  There were 6 points for Matheny and 4 for Turner on the run, while Ball State had four turnovers and a player ejected over the same period.

From there BG ran the game out and took the victory, 75-62.

It was a nice win, and just what the doctor ordered coming off the Rocket win.  To be sure, Ball State is struggling this year, but this was a solid road win.

It was also different from the UT win.  That was a game where BG outscored UT, which had average offense. 

BG was actually outshot "a fair piece" as my Grandpa would say, yet still outscored the Cards. BG finished with 1.05 points per possession and held Ball State to .87 points per possession.  The key difference was turnovers.  Ball State had more than twice as many turnovers as BG, and those lost possessions more than evened out the shooting difference.

It was the most turnovers by a BG opponent since 2017 (Miami).

Coach said BG had looked at tape from the first game and found a place where Ball State could be trapped.  There was also full-court pressure, and while only 9 of the 23 turnovers were steals, Ball State did seem to have their rhythm disrupted.

BG also had an advantage in rebounding and was +5 at the line.  Ball State did not shoot a FT in the second half (and made only one 3FG).

Justin Turner led BG with a very efficient 27 points, making 9 of 12 on 2FG and 2 of 5 on 3FG.  Add 3 assists, 4 steals and 3 turnovers to that total.  Kaden Matheny had a game.  He made 3 of 4 on 2FG and 4 of 9 on 3FG for 21 points, 2 assists and 0 turnovers.  Daeqwon Plowden had a rougher night, with 11 points on 5-11/0-2 shooting and 4 turnovers.  Caleb Fields had 10 rebounds and Fulcher notched 7.

The schedule has filled out a little since the game ended.  BG is off for a week, plays EMU next Tuesday, Akron a week from Friday, Miami the Tuesday after that and OU the last Saturday. 

COVID-pending, of course.  BG remains in six, but is in a much more solid position than two games ago.  If the tournament started today, BG would open with Kent.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Ball State Redux

 And back it.  No time to rest on its rivalry win.  BG now moves to a re-match with Ball State.

The season is in complete flux.  BG is in 6th place at 7-7.  The two other teams with 7 losses only have 1 win.  It's hard to know how many games BG will even play--there are three left on the schedule and there's three more to be made up.  There's a big hole in BG's schedule but the teams we need to play have a lot of games to made up.  And more teams could be paused--even BG or UT, which have not been.

Tomorrow's game is a re-match with Ball State.  Ball State (it seems like so long ago) was the game that actually started the skid.  BG lost by 24 at the Stroh to the Cardinals, who, as you can see, are not having a great year.

The Cards are 2-4 since the BG game, beating NIU and UT and losing to Miami, Ohio, Akron and Buffalo.  They have played their last 3 games without their star guard, KJ Walton, who has been injured.  No idea if he can be expected back tomorrow, but if he doesn't play there's a much better chance for BG to win.

The first game was about as one-sided as they get.  In fact, when you look at the stats, it's hard to believe it wasn't way worse.  BG turned the ball over more than normal, got next to nothing on the offensive boards and got to the line but only made 65%.  Meanwhile, Ball State shot the lights odd, which sadly is only the second-worst defensive game of the year.  Also, at .86 points per possession, only their second-worst offensive game of the year.

Ishmael El-Amin is their leading scorer at 14.5 PPG.  He's shooting 44% and 32%, so not terribly efficient.  Walton was scoring 14.5 PPG and 5.3 RPG before he was injured.  Their only other double-figure scorer is Brachen Hazen, who is scoring 10.4 PPG on 51% 2FG  shooting and 5.9 RPG.  

El-Amin had 20 in the first game. with Hazen and Walton at 14.

BG certainly can't be happy with the result of the first game.  Hopefully, they will be on a burst of confidence and ready to continue to reverse the trend.  This is a game BG should win--and its even more likely without Walton.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Oh, how sweet the victory was

There's no better way to stop the bleeding than a win over Toledo.  No way at all.  It's just one blip, I know, it needs to be sustained, but for today, for the pure fist-pumping joy of it...there's nothing better than beating Toledo.

Interesting how those dopey Rumpus dudes are pandemic-eligible.  I wonder if they are getting regularly tested.

It was the first quality performance--by that I mean performance you can envision winning a title with--in weeks.  The second Buffalo win was almost a month ago, but BG's offense in that one would be tough to win regularly with.  I think you have to think about everything before January 9.

BG led the game for 27 minutes.  UT only for 8.  This is the top team in the MAC, the top kenpom, etc.  And undefeated at home.  Also kicked BG's ass a couple weeks ago and a Rocket team rubbing their hands with glee for this one.

Not so much.

Leading for 27 minutes in that scenario is what you expect out of a championship team.

The first half was tight.  BG led by at most 7 and UT at most 4.  There were 7 lead changes.  It was highly competitive.

BG led by 4 at the half and got up 9 2 minutes into the half.  Then, UT did what you expect...they tightened up and went on a 5-minute, 12-1 to take a 2-point lead.

At this point, you're at the point of maximum danger.  You're on a six-game losing streak, you have a freight training running at you.  This could easily go the wrong way.  Or you can be the team we think we have and you can punch back.

Bowling Green did the latter.

From 52-50 for UT with 13 left, BG went on a 21-3 run to hold a 16-point lead with about six minutes left.  That streak runs through two media timeouts.  

BG had an 18% chance of winning at the beginning of the run and 96% at the end.  That's the definition of high leverage.  

Won't lie, it didn't feel like 96% to me, but that's just what happens when you are emotionally invested.  Plus, we can remember other teams closing games out better than us during the streak.  The game could...not...end...soon...enough.

Marreon Jackson started hitting threes from unbelievable range (like he did in a similar situation last year) and the lead melted.  UT was applying pressure and BG was struggling to handle it.  They turned it over once or twice and it put chaos in the operation.  It did get fixed as it went on.  Still, UT chipped away and had the lead to 6 with 1:30 left.

No doubt, you should always close that game out.  The game could...not...end...soon...enough.

Things got even a little better when Plowden hit 2 FTs to go up 8 with 1:13 left.  Jackson missed a 3FG and Turner split the FTs and it was 9 with :43.

Still pacing across the floor.

UT misses, get an offensive board and makes a 3FG to make it 6 with :30 left.  UT plays for the turnover first, so Diggs didn't get fouled until there was :22 left.  Normally (like Turner) very reliable at the line, Diggs split the pair and it was a 7-point lead.

BG conceded a layup to Jackson to make it 5 with :14 left.  They fouled Fulcher, who is a poor FT shooter.  I assume in this situation that Fields would generally be out there, but he only played 10 minutes due (I assume) to the lingering effects of the injury that caused him to miss a game recently.  Fulcher had a chance to ice it but missed them both and UT came down, had a couple open looks but missed them, Plowden added 2 FTs late and that was it, an 88-81 win.

During that last sequence, the announcers were freaking out like it was a potential buzzer-beater but even making a 3 only gets the game to one possession with single digits left to play.

It was a perfect close out for BG.  They missed four FTs in the last minute, including two by their best FT shooters.  A time (we hope) will come when that will really matter.  And Coach runs clock way sooner than I would recommend...but listen, there's one person paid to coach basketball and one who paces in front of the TV for free.

Because sports makes him happy.

Anyway, the key element was shooting.  BG made 51% from 2FG and 53% from 3FG.  That's the best shooting in a MAC game this year.  We haven't shot that well and lost a MAC game since the UB game at the end of 2016 (Huger Year 1.  We also shot this well and lost to St. John's).  

That and a really good turnover game (10.6%) made for a 1.16 points per possession, a very solid performance.  The pace itself was 76 possessions, with a MAC average of 70.8.

On the other side, UT shot poorly.  Their second poor shooting game in a row, though not as bad as Ball State.  They shot 59% from 2FG (obviously really good) but only 29% from 3FG and that 3s were 54% of the overall attempts, their highest in a MAC game this year.  It is the higher % of 3FGs attempted against BG in a MAC game since Miami in 2019.

So, you try that many of your shots from 3FG and do it poorly, you will have a hard time winning.  Honestly, they missed open looks but I thought BG played stronger defense as well.  There were still probably too many open looks.  Their turnovers were not terrible--although a few lost possessions to BG.  They still had 1.07 points per possessions, which is above MAC average.

The other difference was FTs.  On all FGS, BG was +1 point.  BG was 16 of 22 at the line and UT was 10 of 11.  The Rockets started fouling early with their pressure defense.

Daeqwon Plowden had a night.  UT pays a lot of attention to Turner, daring someone else to beat them, which yesterday happened.  Plowden had 22 points, making 5-5 from 2FG and 2 of 5 from 3FG.  He made all 6 FTs, and 9 rebounds.  Turner had 21, but he had to work for it.  That's 3 of 14 from 2fG and 3 of 4 from 3FG.  Mix in 6-8 at the line and 5 rebounds.  

Trey Diggs had 17.  That's 2 of 2 from 2 FG, 3 of 7 from 3FG, 4 of 6 at the line and 4 rebounds. He's put together 2 straight strong shooting games.

Kaden Matheny had 14.  That's 4 of 6 from 2FG and 2 of 6 from 3FG.  Also 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals over 1 turnover.  His measurables have been a little inconsistent, but remember he's just a freshman.  Think he's going to be a stud.

Fulcher had 10 points on 5 of 8 2FG and 0 of 1 3FG shooting.  Add 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 turnover.

Let's stop and appreciate Marreon Jackson.  Man, honestly, he's amazing.  He had 27 points on 5 of 6 and 4 of 11 shooting.  He made all 5 FTs, added 14 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 turnovers.  His last games against BG are 27, 15, 31 and 27.  Oof.

So, finally the streak ends.  We're not out of the woods.  We need to string together good games to get things back on track.  I think this model is what we are going to need.  A number of you have commented to me that we are not set up to play good man defense.  Seems to be true, which means we need to score to win.  I also think we've felt that we were underperforming on offense.  If that's true and we can score consistently, we can win.  If this was an outlier, we won't.