Sunday, January 31, 2021



And the 2021 season got worse for the BGSU Men.  Way worse.

In what should have been a marquee matchup, a battle royale, the Rockets kicked BG's ass on Saturday at the Stroh, winning by 18, their biggest win at BG since 1973.  It was never much of a contest.  

And there is much sadness in the Falcon nation.  And some anger, too.  Maybe more than some.

It started badly--BG missed its first 15 shots or something--and trailed 9-0 with 15 to go.  BG battled back, had the lead for a second and then had the deficit at 3 with 3:31 to go and the Rockets ended the half on an 11-2 run to lead by 12.  From there, the game was only a single-digit lead for a couple of possessions and ballooned as high as 22.  UT led for 37:42 of the game.  BG led for :46.

It was an ass-kicking.  It's just hard to describe how disappointing this is.

That's five of the last six, with four of the five losses by more than 10 points.  It's unbelievable how bad it has gotten.

Coach Huger is clear that BG's defense needs to improve.  And it does.  But, BG is failing on both ends of the court right now.

For reference, the MAC is averaging 1.06 points per possession, the third best offensive conference.  The D1 average is 1.02.

BG allowed UT 1.12 points per possession.  This was actually a significant improvement over some of the other losses.  It's still a losing number.  Over the past 3 years, BG is 4-9 at that level of defense.  They actually had four games last year where they shot their way out of that hole...including both Toledo games.  But it is a losing number.

UT just shredded the BG defense, in the second half in particular.  BG can't keep teams out of the lane and then there are kickouts and wide open 3FGs that the Rockets don't miss.  It felt a lot like the Wright State team just doing whatever it wants against another team that can't seem to stop it.  BG also does not have anyone inside to protect the rim.  Of course, UT is playing without a true 5 as well.

BG scored .88 points per possession.  That's a losing number, too.  BG is 1-10 scoring .88 points per possession or less.  And I get that defense feeds offense.  Of the five losses in this streak, BG played presentable offense twice and terrible offense three times.

The struggles are on both ends of the floor.

It has come down to shooting.  BG is 10th in the MAC in shooting...that's 10th on the 3FG and 11th on the 2FG.  In this game, BG shot a season-high 46% of its field goals from 3FG.  And made 22%, the second lowest % of the season.  You saw it.  On many possessions, BG didn't even work the ball, they just made one pass and jacked up a 3FG.  UT, on the other hand, moves the ball beautifully.

Oh and the pace was BG friendly at 75 points per possession.  By which I mean friendly to what we should have been.  When you give up .24 points every possession there's no good pace.

Last note.  UT does not foul on defense.  And BG shot only 5 FTs, which has been their lifeline in some games.

It's just a disaster.

Individually, it's hard to even care.

Justin did not catch Stacey.  He has 5 points to go.   He shot 5 of 13 from 2fG and 0-5 from 3FG.  He did have 5 assists.

No player had a plus-rating for us.  Diggs was -1 and shot 5 of 11 from 3FG.  Josiah Fulcher had 12 points and 9 rebounds and Cam Young had 7 rebounds.

The worst thing is that no one seems to have a clue what's wrong with BG.  One of our players told the media that "It's confusing."

Were we overrated?  Apparently.  But it has to be more than that.  People are mentioning the Zeigler departure to me, but BG won 5 of 6 after he left.  It is possible that the team is missing Anthony Stacey, who (as I understand) served to kind of soften Coach Huger's harder edges.  When Stacey was injured back in 2018, the team went on a similar streak.

I don't know.  Even if this team was overrated, they should be way better than this. 

Here are the numbers.  BG is 4th right now, in a tie.  NIU is the spot we need to stay in front of.  Here's the problem...BG has NIU and WMU next week which is the last soft part of their schedule.  After that, five of our last 6 games are against teams we lost to--and in some cases handily--and the one exception is OU, who was without Preston when we beat them.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Hated Rocket Preview

 A couple weeks ago, tonight's game would have been one of the more anticipated games in recent memory.  The Blade was writing about how the home of mid-major basketball was northwest Ohio, etc.

Since then, BG has lost 3 of 4, some of them in rather bad fashion.  I think some of the luster is off the match up.  It remains a very big game for BG, who need a win really badly.  Their next two games are against WMU and NIU and more likely wins, but then their last six games are against four teams they have already lost to, UT and OU, who they beat.

This is a really good UT team.  They are 14-4 with a kenpom of 66.  Their losses are to Bradley (122), Xavier (50), Michigan (3) and Akron.  The Michigan loss was by 20 but the other three were by a total of 6 points.

They are an incredibly good 3 point shooting team.  They are #2 in the MAC and #16 in the country in 3FG%.

That doesn't tell the whole story.  Most of the top 3FG shooting teams don't actually take very many of them.  That makes sense if you think about it, because it means they are probably taking only very high quality shots.  Of the top 20 3FG shooting teams, only 8 take more than 40% of their shots from 3FG.

UT is one of them.  In fact, Toledo shoots 45% of their shots from 3FG, #36 in the nation.  So they are highly accurate in big numbers.

40% of their points come from 3FG, #16 in the nation.

Adding to the problem--BG has been awful defending the 3FG of late.  Ball State, Kent and Miami all shot over 45%.

BG is going to have to do a little better than that, but for a model,  I suspect you are going to see them try what they did with Kent, which was a 78 possession game where both teams ended up in the 90s;  UT actually plays at an average pace, typically.

Lastly, UT also leads the MAC in 2FG%.  They are #3 at not turning it over and #3 on the offensive baords.

UT is actually strong defensively as well.  They are #5 in the MAC.  They are #4 against the shot, #3 at forcing turnovers and #1 at keeping their opponents off the line.  Their only weakness is defensive rebounding, which they are last at.

This is just a complete Rocket team.  The position here has always been the Kowalcyk is a great coach and UT has been lucky to keep him as long as they have.  

They are led by Marreon Jackson, a no-doubt first-team All-MAC player.  He's scoring 17.7 PPG in MAC play, on 41% and 37% shooting.  He is 2nd in FT shooting...95% for all games.  He's 2nd in assists and 2nd in steals...#5 in assists when you factor in the minutes he plays.  This is just a really good player.  He has spent his entire career at UT.

Their 2nd leading scorer is the probable MAC Freshman of the year, Ryan Rollins.  He's a 6'4" G from Macomb, MI.  He's scoring 15.9 PPG on 60% shooting from 2FG and 42% from 3FG, which are just eye popping numbers.  He's the #17 most efficient scorer in the MAC, ahead of even Jackson.  He also leads the team with 5.7 RPG.

Stuart Littleson is also scoring 15 PPG.  Also very efficient, 64% from 2FG and 49% from 3FG.  Both top ten numbers...and the #2 most efficient scorer in the MAC.

JT Shumate is a transfer from Walsh who wasn't declared eligible until the middle of December.  He' s 6'7" and is scoring 12 PPG on 72% shooting from 2FG and 54% from 3FG...those are the best combined numbers in the MAC.

Setric Millner is also scoring 11 PPG.  A JUCO transfer, he is scoring 11PPG on 54% 2FG shooting.

BG is going to have to play their very best game to compete with the Rockets.  BG won both games last year...and there would be no better time for it.

Friday, January 29, 2021

A couple notes on the Kent loss.....

 A couple items of note...

  • Caleb Fields was DNP due to an injury.  It is not a long-term injury and they hope he can play Saturday.
  • Dylan Swingle did not play a single minute.  I have not heard anywhere that he is injured.
  • We do appear to have some freshmen who can play.  Josiah Fulcher had 23 points in 22 minutes, making 6 of his 7 2FGs and 3 of his 6 3FGS.  And 2 of 3 at the line, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.  Pretty good in short minutes.  Or any minutes.
  • Cam Young had 5 rebounds and a block in 12 minutes.
  • Matheny has started every game.  He's having some FR struggles right now, but has also contributed at times.
  • Chandler Turner played 12 minutes, second straight game with double-digit minutes, and 2 of the 3 in his entire career.  He was one of only two players with a + rating, at +6.  Jacob Washington was +5 and Fulcher +2.  Coach said Turner and Fulcher have earned more minutes and I think Chandler Turner has been under utilized a little bit.
  • BG had its shooting back, but as I feared in the preview, was unable to overcome another porous defensive effort.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Another Loss for BG MBB

 Another game, another loss for the BG Falcons.  This loss was an improvement over the previous losses, but when you were picked to win the title, that is very small consolation.

You can feel it slipping away.  I think that's what is making people so nervous.  We felt that this was our best team since pre-WVU.  We have our best player since those days, to be sure.  And like it has so many times before...we just feel like somehow we're not going to have enough this year.  Again. And it will be wasted.

To be sure, you need to win 3 games in March to make this all forgotten.  If you finish in the top 8, you have the same chance everyone else has and you know the team has talent.  You'd think they are capable of winning those games.

Also, as a Twitter fan pointed out, we usually have a late-season collapse, so maybe it's better to have a mid-season collapse than a late-season one.  Obviously, no collapse would be preferable...but that hasn't seemed to be an option.  Most teams do go through a rough spot, to be fair.

Lot of things can happen too.  First, BG and UT haven't had to pause, but who knows, it could happen.  And those other teams are going to have to play a compact schedule in February, which won't be easy.

Having said that, here is where we are....sorted by the loss column.  Wins, losses and games remaining.

BG is right now tied for 6th, with a game in hand over Ohio and BSU and games remaining with both.

Here's the thing.  For the last five seasons, the regular-season champ has finished with 5 or fewer losses...and as low as 2.  There are two more games this year, so let's charitably think about winning at 14-6, which would require Toledo to go 5-5 coming home.  Which I doubt, but it could happen.  It would also require Akron to 5-4.  And Kent is a sleeping giant as they get to a better part of their schedule.

So if you were looking for a top seed, you're not there and you aren't that team right now.  As for making the tournament, and it's hard to imagine that we are talking that way, BG has a 2-loss lead and there do appear to be 4 bottom-dwellers (Bad year for Michigan).

And BG has 2 games has two games with Toledo left.

The natives are certainly getting restless and their focus is on Coach Huger.  To be fair, this isn't new...despite bringing this team to a competitive level we have not seen in decades, there have been fans that felt that the Coach isn't the guy to take us to the title for years and even that extending him wasn't a good idea after 2019.

I don't see it entirely that way, but today you'd admit the river is flowing in the wrong direction.

The problem is that you are in the zone where there is nowhere to hide.  Which is where you want to be.  But those first post-Jans/Orr years are past.

If you're looking for it, you can see issues.  There was Frye last year, Zeigler this year and then the one collapse in 18 that coincided with Anthony Stacey being injured and not with the team.  And the big meeting with the team after the Cleveland State debacle in 2019.

Incidentially, critics of our football and men's basketball programs are latched onto one similar issue:  unwillingness to use transfers to jolt the program.  Coach Huger has used JUCO transfers to effectively fill roles...Sierra, Uju, Diggs, Washington, Alcegaire.  There have not been any D1 transfers and BG had a scholarship open when the NCAA opened the gates.

But other teams have gone full on.  UB's championship teams were filled with JUCO players.  And yes, you have CMU and EMU with transfers and sucking, but you also have Kent, Akron and UT all with four transfers averaging 10 minutes per game.  Cristian Jackson, Littleson, Nuga, Bryan Trimble...

Look, we've also developed Plowden, Fields, Turner, Frye, Wiggins, into high level performers.  And reached a level of competitiveness we wished for for years.  It does feel like we stay two steps from the top of the ladder while teams climb around us but we're also not at the bottom of the ladder.

The only was is to win our way out.   But you can see the frustration...because it does seem like we have the players.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Late Breaking Game with Kent

 Welcome to COVIDball.

BG was minding their business after the cancellation of the NIU game and thinking about Toledo and BOOM, they are playing tomorrow against Kent.

Crazy year.  I agree with what the MAC is doing...or at least I get it.  If two teams are healthy and have an open date, than let's get the game in now before one or the other has virus issues, which have happened to about half the MAC teams this year.

So, Kent is up next, making it a very tough week for BG, playing two of the top teams in the MAC, probably the top 2 to date.

Kent is really good.  They are 7-4, but their losses are to #7 Virginia in OT, Toledo by 2, twice, and Akron by 4.  They are right on the edge of being very good.  The total of those MAC losses is dwarfed by any one of BG's.  They are 4-3 in the MAC, with wins over UB, OU, WMU and CMU, three teams BG has also beaten.

Their only home loss this year was to Toledo.

So, here is how things stack up.  BG has been struggling and they are now #7 in the MAC in offense.  Kent is #3.  Even given the last "horrendous" game on defense, BG is still #2 in the MAC and that's going to be the key matchup.  BG has got to get stops against these guys.  

The two teams play at exactly the same pace, 72 possessions per game

How does Kent get to just a strong offense.  It is interesting. They are just #6 in shooting, #7 in turnovers and #6 in Free throw rate.  They are #6 in the MAC in FT%, making 75%.  (The MAC is the 9th best FT shooting conference right now).  

What sets them apart is offensive rebounds.  They are #1 in the MAC and #9 in the country in offensive rebounds.  BG is going to need to be on the boards.  Their last three opponents have had good games on the offensive boards, and that's the key to Kent's offense and the key to getting stops.

They don't try that many 3FGs...9th most in the MAC.  They are 7th at making 3FGs and 4th at making 2FGs...BG is 2nd in the MAC defending the 2FG, so that should also be worth watching.

Kent does nothing great nor poorly on defense.  They are #6 against the shot, #9 at forcing turnovers, #5 on their defensive boards and #6 at keeping their opponents off the line.  They lead the MAC in blocked shot percentage.  Here, I honestly feel like BG has to start making some shots.  If they can clear the defensive boards, there should be some transition opportunities since Kent crashes the boards.

Individually, this program operates in a really interesting manner.  They are transfer central.  It's just amazing.

Their leading scorer is Danny Pippen, 3rd in the MAC with 20.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG, a double-double.  He's inflated a little by poor 3FG shooting.  He's tried half of his shots from 3FG range and makes 29%.  He does make 59% of his 2FGs.  He gets fouled a lot and makes 77% of his FTs.  He's also #1 in blocked shots in the MAC.

Mike Nuga is scoring 19.9 PPG. He played JUCO and at Portland State.  He's the most efficient offensive player in the MAC.  He makes 51% of his 2FGs and 43% of his 3FGs and he takes a lot.  He also makes 81% of his FTs.

Tervell Beck is a 6'7" JR and is in his second year at Kent, though it was UNLV before that.  He scored 15 against BG last year.  He's scoring 11PPG on 63% shooting and 5.4 PPG in 24 in minutes.  He also is over 80% at the line.

Justyn Hamilton, a 6'11" transfer from Temple is averaging 6.4 RPG.

Pippen, Beck, and Hamilton are #3,4,5 respectively in the MAC in offensive rebounding.

Overall, the Flashes have 6 players how have played basketball elsewhere.

This is a team with a strong inside game and I worry about the matchup because our best lineup is a smaller lineup.  BG's defense is going to be the key determinant.  We have even played a little zone this year, I wonder if we might see that.

And BG could really use a win heading to the Toledo game Saturday.

Blade on Portal

 Interesting story from The Blade on the transfer portal and Coach Loeffler's thoughts about it.

You should check it out.

A couple thoughts.

First, there's going to be a lot of disappointment for players in the portal.  If the numbers in the article are accurate and there are 2,500 players in the portal and possibly one vacancy per D1 team, then you have 90% of the players for whom there is no D1 slot.

Some teams have more available.  Still, the demand is not close to the supply.

Which brings Coach back to something he has talked about before, which is the issue of initial counters.  So long as there is a hard 25 counter limit, players are not going to have the freedom to move that was envisioned by the loosening of the transfer rules.  (For an explanation of this counter thing that is as good as I have seen, click here.)

This is why you see players transferring to DII schools.  You know, if you weren't playing I could see doing that but if you are playing, I don't get it.  But people get to make their own decisions.

Obviously, the weaknesses to the initial counter rule are especially difficult for a program like BG's, where people leaving the program as expected has been greatly exacerbated by people leaving before their time was up.  It is hard to catch up when you are limited to 25 a year.

Now, you could argue that the current rules favor teams that don't have recruiting classes hollowing out like BG did, and that's not anything that was forced on BG but rather the result of a couple poor coaching decisions...or a bad one and an awful one.  Decisions have consequences.

One idea is that you could replace people who left in the portal and have those not count against your...well...counters.  

Based on history, the NCAA will address this in 2028, or, possibly, never, if the P5 schools create a new organization for football.

The other news is kind of snuck into the story.  BG has 3 scholarships left and is planning to use them for people in the portal.  As you are all aware, Coach Loeffler has taken a strong stand against transfer and JUCO players in rebuilding the program.  I believe that in his late-season post-Akron rant press conference, he said that he needed to build a culture and once you did you could bring in a few transfers but until there was a culture it didn't make any sense to bring in individual players.

This is at best a slight change in philosophy.  There are still teams using way more transfers than BG is.  However, I do think it makes sense to get someone who can help us next year and the year after (he says they are looking for multi-year eligibility, not grad transfers) because there are a couple positions--WR in particular--where we desperately need numbers...or 2021 is shaping up to be another awful year.  (It will be difficult under any circumstances, I fear).

Monday, January 25, 2021

Quintin Morris Entering NFL Draft


No real surprise here, but Quintin Morris has announced he is leaving BGSU to attempt to play in the NFL.  He will play in the Senior Bowl, which is the premier showcase for the NFL Draft.

Nothing but the best for Quintin.  He played 4 years here and would under ordinary circumstances have been out of eligibility this year anyway.  COVID gave him the opportunity for one more year, but he is opting to go pro.  Just as a reminder, it's perfectly reasonable to be in college for four years and then be ready to move on with your life.  In fact, that's the whole idea.

Quintin is a Texan who was recruited by Coach Jinks in the first 100% Jinks class.  He is the first non-JUCO player in that class to complete normal eligibility.  He came as a WR but moved to TE under Coach Loeffler.  His hybrid ability is what made him effective and is a skill the NFL is looking for.

He was All-MAC twice...first-team this past season.  In fact, it's a sign of respect for his ability that he made the first-team, because he caught only 20 passes in BG's 5 games.  It was clearly noticed that he was hampered by being really the only target for a team with the lowest pass efficiency in the FBS.

He caught 125 passes and scored 13 TDS for BG, with 1,529 overall yards.

Which means that BG's top 3 WRs are not coming back, as of today.  We completed 54 passes in our 5 games, and those three guys represent 40 of them.

Just a dash of realism for the 2021 season, whatever it looks like.

Thanks to Quintin for being a Falcon.  He distinguished himself in orange and brown.  Best of luck to him.

Friday, January 22, 2021

"Horrendous" Defense for Sinking BG MBB Team

 Things are not good in MBB-land today.  Not good at all.  They've got the weekend off and play NIU on Tuesday and  (see update) they need to get some things sorted out because this team is tracking toward a bottom-division finish.  They have lost 3 of 4, and by 24, 12 and 19 points.  And, yes, Akron is a decent team but Ball State and Miami are pretty average and should not have beat the conference favorites by those kind of margins.

BG has to figure out what the deal is and get it turned around.  They certainly should be better than this.  You can see Coach trying to find something...Chanler Turner played 19 minutes...Swingle played 3.  Fields played 22, Matheny 24.  But, search as he might, nothing is clicking.  (Fields was -22 in 22 minutes).  (Also, Jacob Washington DNP at all, no idea on that).

It was wire to wire...Miami scored the first 7 points and they never trailed by less than 7 for the remainder of the game.  It only got to 7 a couple times...most of the time it was in double figures.  It was a completely one-sided affair.  BG literally never challenged the Redhawks lead.

The issue was a little different than in previous games.  BG had shot very poorly for the previous 3 games--even the win--and in this one they had a 48% EFG, which is below average but better than it had been.  BG shot 51% from 2FG (which is decent) but 27% from 3FG.  BG has shot under 30% from 3FG in all of the last 4 games and in MAC play has only had solid 3FG shooting against CMU.  They are 9th in the MAC.

Meanwhile, Miami came in 8th in offense in the MAC and scored at will.  They had 1.4 points per possession, the worst against BG since that 2018 cringe-inducer at Savage Hall.  It was Miami's best offensive game against DI opposition since at least 2002, the beginning of when we have records.  So, the 8th best team in the MAC puts up a historic total.  Cannot be good.

Miami shot 68% overall, that's 65% from 2FG and 48% from 3FG.  They also won the turnover battle and the rebounding battle.  Honestly, BG lost by 19 and they had +10 at the free throw line.  That's hard to believe.

Coach Huger called the defense "horrendous."

BG has lost 5 games this year and in 4 of them the opposition shot 60% EFG or better.

Plowden had 21 points and 5 rebounds.  He shot 5 of 11 from 2FG and 3 of 7 from 3FG, which is a creditable overall game.  Turner had 20 on 4 of 10 and 0 of 3 shooting.  He made all 12 FTs, but had 3 assists and 5 turnovers.  Trey Diggs had a double-double, with 16 points (on 5 of 8 from 2FG and 0 of 2 from 3FG) and 11 rebounds and Josiah Fulcher had 11 points on 4 of 6 and 1 of 2 shooting.

He played 21 minutes and Chandler Turner played 19.

It is time for everyone to take a close look at themselves.  Toledo has 1 loss, Akron, Kent and Miami have 2 and BG, Buffalo and Ball State have 3.  I'd put BG in 6th place right now, behind Ball State if you just look at the loss column.  Also, BG has played the most MAC games (9 of 20) and thus has less control over its destiny than the other teams.

Obviously, what matters most is one game in Cleveland.  Just hard to be optimistic about that right now.  Can still be fixed.

Update:  BG's game with NIU Tuesday has been postponed due to NIU's pause.  As of now, BG's next game will be Saturday against Le Rocket.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Red Hawk Preview

 So next up on a quick turnaround are the Miami Redhawks.

Miami is at an all-time low in men's basketball.  From 1980-2000...they won the MAC 7 times.  Now?  They have 9 straight losing seasons in MAC play. That's the end of Charlie Coles, the John Cooper era and now the Jack Owens era.  No one has been able to turn it around.

Miami is 5-4, 4-4 in D1 play, and 2-2 in MAC play.  They beat NIU and Ball State and they lost to UB and OU.  They also lost by 24 to Wright State, a team that also smoked BG.  Their 3 non D1 wins are against teams with a kenpom over 300.

So, they don't appear to be much better this year.  It certainly isn't a quantum leap.

They lost Nike Sibandie (transfer to Pitt), which didn't help things.

They also had a 12-day pause for COVID.

So, you know, not a great time in Oxford.

They might be glad to see BG show up.  They have won 4 of the last 6 against BG and one of the BG wins was that crazy game from the Stroh last year.  Those of us who lived through the Miami Whammy just understand this as the normal state of affairs.

They are 8th in offensive and defensive efficiency in the MAC.  As you can see, they score more than BG is allowing and they allow more than BG is scoring.  That second one is good news.  BG is really struggling to score right now, and it would be nice to see that come around a little bit.

When you look at the Miami offense, they are 8th in the MAC in shooting, so about average.  They help that by being #4 in not turning the ball over and #4 at getting to the line.  They try 36% of the FGA from 3FG and they are 4th at making them.  They are #11 in 2FG% and 8th in FT shooting.  The biggest weakness is that they don't get any offensive rebounds.

Their defensive profile is interesting.  They are EASY to shoot against.  #10 overall in the MAC.  They are 12th at defending the 3FG and 10th at defending the 2FG.  So how to they get to #8 overall?  They lead the MAC in forcing turnovers and on the defensive boards and are #7 at keeping teams off the line.

So, you can see where the differences are.  This would be a good chance for BG's shooting to come around  BG is #10 in the MAC in shooting.  The other test will be turnovers.  Miami forces turnovers and BG takes care of the ball.  If you see BG missing shots and turning the ball's going to be a rainy night in Oxford.

Miami is led by 2 double figure scorers.  Mekhi Lairi is scoring 12.5 PPG on 50% and 39% shooting, which is really efficient.  He also has 18 assists over 5 turnovers.  Dalonte Brown--Falcon Killer--is also averaging 12.5 PPG on 43% and 91% on FTs.  He also leads the team with 4 rebounds.  All-FR Dae Dae Grant is scoring 9.5 PPG.

So here we go.  You try to avoid losing streaks in championship seasons.  BG is faced with the "bounceback" challenge for the second time in a week.  Let's see them get it done.

Jerry Roberts in Portal

More portal news, this time Jerry Roberts.  Roberts red-shirted in 2017 and then played in 18-19-20, making him a redshirt junior.  He played in 16 games over the past two seasons (out of 17) at LB and was in on 93 tackles and 1.5 sacks. 

As such, he's was a significant contributor on an already undermanned defense.

Some of these guys have come back after announcing they were in the portal, so perhaps time will tell.  Either way, best to Jerry!

Zips Beat Poor Shooting Falcons (MBB)

So two games ago BG was smoked by Ball State as their offensive attack fell apart.

Then they bounced back with a big win in Buffalo.

And then they had another terrible offensive game against Akron...making it two out of the last three.

BG scored .81 points per possession, actually worse than the Ball State game.  That's a non-winning number...we haven't won at that level since that 2013 46-44 debacle with EMU.  Under .9, we are 2-12 since 2018.  You just don't defend your way out of that.

And we didn't.

It wasn't a total blow out.  UA had a 16-8 lead halfway through the first half and BG got it back and took the lead.  BG trailed by one heading to the last minute but then UA nailed two 3s to lead by 7 at the break.

They started the second half on an 8-2 run to go up 13.  BG battled back again, taking the lead and with 8 minutes left the game was tied at 45.

From there it got ugly.   Akron scored the next 10 and the game was never closer than 10 during the last 3:30.  The run started with 2 3FGs by Bryan Trimble.

BG struggled to score but did play decent defense, holding UA to .98 points per possession.  Again, you can't defend your way out of that kind of offense.

The worrisome thing is that is BG's third straight poor shooting game.  In fact, BG shot WORSE against UB...but salvaged it with 27 FTs.  UA defended BG without fouling...BG shot 5 FTs last night.  Beyond that, BG had a turnover advantage but UA did have a big game on the offensive boards, which helps the shooting %.  They didn't shoot well, but good enough.

BG needs to get the shooting turned around.  It is always hard to win if you shoot poorly, but this team will find it even harder if they can be defended without fouling.

Daeqwon Plowden led the team with 14 points and 8 rebounds against 7 of 16 shooting, 0-4 from 3FG.

Metheny had 14 on 4 of 8 3FG shooting.  Turner had 13, shooting 2 of 11 from 2 and 2 of 5 from 3FG.  5 rebounds and 6 assists.

BG has a number of guys in shooting slumps.  They are under 32% from 3FG in every game since Robert Morris when they weren't playing CMU.

BG is now 6-2 in the MAC, tied with Kent and Akron with 2 losses.  UT has only 1.  Tomorrow is at Miami.  Not a great team, but they did beat Ball State.  Winning a title is hard and the test continues for the Falcons.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Falcons Meet the Zips

 And now the Zips come onto the schedule.

For a while, this would have been a heart-stopping moment of terror for the Falcons, who at one point lost 24 of 25 against the Zips.  Things have improved...BG is now 3-4 against the Zips over the last 7, a significant improvement.  Last year, Akron won by 15 at the JAR and BG won by 18 at the Stroh, in the year's signature--and final, as it turned out--victory.

Akron had a lot of issues with COVID in their early schedule.  When they started MAC play, they had only played one D1 game, a 7-point loss to a really good St. Bonaventure team.  They opened MAC play like gangbusters, blowing OU (with Preston) out by 20 and then Kent by 4, then losing to EMU and NIU and then rallying to beat UT in OT in their last game.

So, big picture...go figure.

Even the UT game is a little misleading.  They more or less stole it, as you can see below.  (Chart from kenpom, used without permission).  When the red line is above the green line, it means UT had a 50%+ chance of winning and the top of the box is 100%.  As you can see, UT was highly likely to win for most of the game.  Akron at one point had a 3.5% chance of winning, the 39th lowest number by a winning team this season.  UT was ahead by 7 just inside 2 minutes and up 3 with :20 left in OT before losing the game.

So, let's take a look at the matchup.  First, the MAC is the 2nd most efficient offensive conference in D1.  The MAC is at.1.058 per possession and the D1 average is 1.017.  Tempo is #11, FWIW.

So, the teams are very similar in offense...BG is #4 in the MAC and UA is #5.  The big test will be on defense.  Akron is good on defense, but #6 in the MAC, while BG leads the MAC in defensive efficiency.  That will be the key...can BG get stops.

So, when Akron has the ball, the key test will be shooting.  They are the 2nd best shooting team in the MAC...they lead the MAC in rate of 3FGA and are #6 in 3FG% and #1 in 2FG%.  Meanwhile, BG is the 2nd MAC defense against the shot.  Otherwise, they are nothing special, they are 10th in rebounds, 7th in offensive rebounds and 10th in getting to the line and 6th in FT%.  So, the key will be shooting.  Akron is helped by their unconscious shooting night against OU, and when they shoot like that they are unbeatable.  Anyone would be,

So going the other way, Akron is #6 against the shot and last at forcing turnovers.  Since, BG rarely turns the ball over, they should get a lot of shots.  UA is good on the offensive boards and is about average at keeping teams off the line.  BG is #2 in the MAC in getting to the line and #1 at making FTs, so if they are getting to the line, that's a good sign. 

Individually, it starts with Loren Cristian Jackson, last year's MAC Player of the Year and the probably favorite this year.  Although, in conference games Turner is scoring more, with better FG shooting, more rebounds, fewer turnovers, a better A/T, and better FT% and more steals.  LCJ is better in 3FG and A/G.

Anyway, Jackson is very good, scoring 21.2 PPG, shooting 43% from 2FG and 40% from 3FG.  Their only other double-figure scorer is Bryan Trimble on 13 PPG on 43% overall shooting and 42% on 3FG.  Trimble is a transfer from St. John's.  Sophomore Enrique Freeman is averaging 7.8 RPG.

This is an excellent test for BG.  Coming off their best win of the season, it would be great to string a couple together.  This will be a very interesting game and one BG should be able to win.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Portal Update and Early Enrollees

So, we are entering the middle of January.  Here's a quick football update....

First, the new semester has started.  BG has five guys starting in January 2021, based on the info from signing day.  As noted, teams like this because the freshmen get the benefit of Spring practice.

  • Drew Gunther, QB
  • Jaylen Lawson, WR
  • Diego Neri, LB
  • Jaison Patterson, RB
  • Zach Russell, TE

Second, there has been additional new with the portal.  Two were starters...DeMonate Haigler and Julian Ortega-Jones.

Haigler was a JUCO transfer.  He made 12 starts as a Falcon with 4 sacks, playing DT.  He was among the players listed in our virtual senior day (that did not happen).  Like all of them, he was eligible to come back....and could still come back.

Julian Ortega-Jones is also in the portal.  He would be a R-SO..made 13 starts and caught 14 passes in 2020 to be BG's #2 WR. He could come back as well and there would certainly be playing time for him if he did, given BG's shallow WR corps.  If he does not come back, he will leave just 5 players from the 2018 recruiting class.

Rodell Rahmann is also reported to be in the portal.  He is one of 4 players who was indefinitely suspended in late November.  He was a transfer from Urbana.

In other news, BG's starting C, Cameron Stage, has announced that he will play at WKU.

Noah Massey, WR, will be transferring to Angelo State...(alma mater of Mike Jinks). Angelo State plays DII ball.

Honestly, while we can use everybody on this team, the portal activity has been lower than I anticipated.  There's still plenty of time for things to change, but given the year these guys went through, nothing to date can be described as a mass exodus.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Falcon MBB Vanquishes Bulls

 So BG MBB comes off the debacle against Ball State.  You can't let it turn into a losing streak and you're facing a team you played a competitive game with when they were without a top-flight player.  You are on the road, whatever that means.  (Home teams are 50-50 in the MAC so far, and that's actually 12th in the nation out of 36).

It was set up to be a big challenge.  Could the Falcons rebound.

And they did.  It was a very sweet victory on a national cable is the kind of win you want to see as you are trying to see if your team has what it takes to compete for a title.

BG took the lead with 17:17 left to play....and led the rest of the way.  That's a measure, to me.  You led a team for 37:17 straight minutes, that's a pretty good performance.  Not that there weren't some ups and downs.  At the 8 minute timeout BG was up 9 and from there on in they pressed the lead to 16 at the break.  They took advantage of some horrid UB shooting, some of which was good defense and some of which was shots not going down.  UB shot 23% overall in the first half.

I think you had to figure that UB was going to shoot better than that in the second half and close the gap.  And they did.  UB slowly chipped away at the lead and didn't get it into single digits consistently until just before the 12 minute timeout.  Past BG teams might have been in real trouble, unable to adjust themselves to being back in a competitive game again.  BG held the line in this case.  It was inside 7 minutes when Javon Graves nailed a 3FG to cut the lead to 1.

The interesting thing is that BG punched back, outscoring the Bulls 17-11 over those last 6:40 to post the win.

It was good drama.  Once the game got to 1, the teams traded 3 empty possessions.  BG had the ball and Justin Turner brought it up and he launched a ridiculous 3 and made it, just when we had to have it  His toes might have been in the Falls.  That was with 5:38 and BG went up 4.  Oh yeah, it was the only 3FG he made in the game.

UB called time.  BG got stops on the next two possessions--and didn't score on their own--and then Mballa split a pair of FTs to make it 3 points with 4:33 left.

And Justin Turner came down and made a shot in the paint and BG got a stop and then Jacob Washington did the same and the lead was 7 with 3:19 left.  

That sequence decided the game.  BG's lead was never less than 5 again as they closed the win out.  Which is also worth noting, based on some past BG teams.  The Falcons had a 7-point lead against a good team with 3 minutes to play and the Falcons held them at arm's length the whole 3 eternity in previous seasons.

BG won the game despite getting outshot and not having a great offensive game.  BG scored 1.01 points per possession and UB scored .92.  BG made 35% from 2FG and 22% from 3FG.  

And still won. It was BG's worst shooting in a win since a 2008 upset of Ohio U at ANDERSON ARENA.

UB actually outshot BG.  You rarely win a game when you are outshot.  How did that happen?  First, BG had a slight turnover edge.  BG was unbelievable on the offensive boards, though.  That's their highest OREB% since 2012 in MAC play.  UB was also good on the offensive boards, but not as good.  And then, BG had an advantage at the line.  BG was +10....27 of 37 against 17 of 26.

Coach Orr always said you can't let your shooting percentage determine your winning percentage.  Here's a game where BG shot poorly and got the job done.

Justin Turner is just an incredible player.  He had 25 points on 50% shooting.  That will work any day.  He made 6 of 8 at the line and had 5 rebounds and 5 assists.  He did have 3 turnovers.  And, he had 5 points in BG's decisive run, including that landmark 3 that changed the tone of the game.

Daeqwon Plowden had 13 points and 8 rebounds on a night when he was 2 of 10 from 2FG.  Caleb Fields had 12 on a night where he was 2 of 9 from the field.  He made all 6 FTs.    Also 8 rebounds.

And Jacob Washington.  Jacob is in his first year here and has had an understandable adjustment period.  He played 22 minutes, had a 10 point and 11 rebound double-double and 2 steals.  Those are all career bests.  He was also 4-4 at the line.  I think there's no doubt that BG has a good nucleus of guys who can score the ball, but getting production like this from Washington is just an extra insurance policy for the team for times when they don't want Plowden guarding a 5.

As for offensive rebounds, Washington had 7 and Plowden had 6.

It was a really good victory for BG, for all the reasons listed above.  This is a sweep of UB--a good team, in my view--and a bounceback win after a poor performance.  Coach Huger was extra motivated, actually pumping his fists at times.  It is the kind of thing that winning teams do.  And the performance down the stretch was also something you look for in teams that win conference games.

BG is now 6-1 in the MAC.  No rest for the weary, as the MAC looks to jam games in when facing an unknown future.  Only UT is undefeated and no other MAC team has 1 loss.  BG has a big one at home against Akron on Tuesday, then it is @Miami on Thursday and then NIU at home the next Tuesday and then the Rockets at home the following Saturday.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Buffalo Redux

So, BG gets its second shot at UB tomorrow in Alumni.

BG won the first affair with BG winning by 8.  The game was tied with about 3 minutes left and then Justin Turner scored 9 on the road home and UB scored 0 and BG had the win.  Turner ended up with 33.  You can see how it played out below...neither team shot great, BG had a slight advantage on turnovers, gave up possessions on the offensive boards and made 31 of 40 FTs (+13 at the line) to make the difference.

Since that first game, UB is is 3-1 in D1 games and 3-0 in the MAC.  The loss was in overtime to Syracuse.  They have been playing well, beating Miami by 18, Ball State by 17 (undermanned) and WMU by 16.  Now, those aren't top-flight MAC squads in two cases, but they have been winning and winning easily since they last saw BG.

Also, they played without Josh Mballa in the game at BG.  He's back and averaging a double-double in MAC play.  Also, they have added Keishawn Brewton, a transfer from Coastal Carolina who became eligible after the BG game and is scoring 8.7 PPG, albeit in poor shooting.

Their big three had a game at BG...Graves with 23, Williams with 19 and Segu with 22.  They are also leading them team in scoring, with Mballa 4th but still averaging over 13 PPG.

One thing to note is that UB leads the MAC in defensive efficiency right now.  As noted, they haven't played the toughest opponents.  I think that's going to be the key battle.  BG's offense was dreadful against Ball State and they need to respond with confidence to outscore UB.  The Bulls play the fastest pace in the MAC and are 2nd in 3FG shooting, without taking a tremendous number.

This is a real test for our guys.  Coming off a bad loss, long road trip against a team that played you tough without their big man.  It's an excellent chance to see what we are made of.

Ball State Thumps BG MBB

Well, Ball State delivered a good old-fashioned butt-kicking to BG on Tuesday at the Stroh.  It happens.  If BG is to be a championship team, they have to rebound from this--their first conference loss--and get back to playing winning ball on a quick turnaround at UB.  

It was ugly and really no contest.  BG was up 1 about 8 minutes in and then Ball State set the tone for the rest of the game with a 9-1 run.  That was with 9 minutes left and a couple minutes later they were up 11.  BG drove the lead down to 2 with 2 minutes left in their last meaningful run of the game.  Here, they had a shot to change the direction, to finish the half-close or on top, but the Cards outscored BG 7-2 over the last two minutes to lead by 7 at the half.

They came out hot in the second half, outscoring BG 8-2 in the first 1:47 before a BG timeout, with the Falcons down 13.  They had it to 18 by the media timeout at 16, and it was over.  The lead never got inside 10 and ended up at 24 for the final score.

It was a thorough ass-kicking.

You can see here how it unfolded.  First of all, BSU made baskets with impunity.  Ball State ended up at 1.19 points per possession, which is really good.  They shot incredible....better than Michigan did earlier this year and the best against BG since that Akron loss on the run up to the 2019 MAC tournament.  They shot 63% on 2FG and 46% on 3FG...and 46% of their FGA were from 3, which is really high.  You're going to win, even if you have turnover issues.

Meanwhile, BG shot terribly.....86 points per possession, and 44% EFG, which is down in the territory of the Wright State game.  BG shot 21% on 3FG, their worst this season.  BG failed to take advantage of Ball State's defensive rebounding issues and the Falcons had unusual turnover issues.  And BG got to the line 26 times but made only 17, for 65%.  It was a game where everything that had gone well went badly instead.

Justin Turner led BG with 18 points, moving him into 3rd on the all-time scoring list.  He had a decent game, shooting 50% overall.  He added 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 turnovers (obviously not a good ratio) and 3 steals.

No one else was in double figures.  Swingle had 8 on 3 of 4 shooting in 8 minutes, though he struggled on the other end of the floor.  Washington had 9 on 4 of 5 shooting in 9 minutes.  Plowden had 8 rebounds.  But a lot of guys struggled.  Those numbers don't come out of nowhere.  Metheny, Plowden, Fields, Diggs and Fulcher all had trouble making baskets.

BG has been playing well and did not in any way play well in this one.  They were just outright beaten.  Two things.  First, BG needs to figure out how to score if they aren't making 3FGs, because it will happen.  And BG needs to bounce back and put together a winning performance Friday.  You don't want to string bad games together.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Cameron Stage into the Portal

So, Cameron State has entered the portal.  We've had a couple guys go into and out of the portal, so I suppose this isn't final until he finds a home.  Stage is from Ft. Lauderdale and is part of the ill-fated 2018 Jinks class.  Of the 20 players who did not graduate or get injured, only 6 remain at BG, if you count Stage as out.

He played 9 games at BG, with no starts and started all 5 games for BG at C this year...thanks to the commenter for correcting that.  Of course, it takes OL time to get to be ready to play.

I make it with BG having 13 scholarship OL on the roster, with a couple seniors who could come back or not.  True of any of them, of course.  The recruiting class current has 3 OL in it.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Ball State MBB Preview

So, here come the Ball State Cardinals. It has been a difficult time for the Cardinals this year.  They were picked to be #5 this year, but have faced some unexpected obstacles.  First, their returning MAC Freshman of the Year, Jarron Coleman, has yet to play this year.  And Reggie Jones, who you will remember from two years at WMU followed by time at Tulsa, was supposed to be in the fold, but he hasn't played either.  Both were injured.

Then, on Saturday, they played without starter Miryne Thomas and reserve Jalen Windham due to COVID issues.  

No idea about the status of any of those guys from tomorrow's game.

Overall, they are 4-5 and 2-2 in the MAC.  They beat WMU and NIU and lost to OU and UB.

So, on the basic matchup this one looks pretty one-sided.  The MAC average points per possession is 1.05 and BG leads the MAC in defensive efficiency.  Yes, the NIU game helps the average but BG has held every MAC opponent under 1.02.  Meanwhile, BG is #2 in offense, behind only the Rockets.

Ball State...well, they are average.  They are 7th in offense, 7th in defense, 7th in turnovers, 7th in defending the shot, 7th in 2FG%, the in FT%, 7th in getting shots blocked and 7th in 3FG frequency.  The boys from Middletown are in the middle.

We can see right here where the game will be contested.  BSU is a decent shooting team....5th from 2FG and 7th (!!) from 3FG.  BG is 2nd defending the shot in the MAC.  This is the most important of the four factors.  Only one team has stopped BG from scoring in the MAC, so it stands to reason you are going to need to make some shots to beat us...that will be the key test.

The only team to really stop BG was NIU, and they did it with extreme pace control for half the game.  It was 65 possessions, a number BSU hit in a 10-point loss to OU.  Here, the interesting issues will be turnovers and rebounds.  BSU is #3 in forcing turnovers--while is BG #1 in the MAC and #11 in the country in protecting the ball.  BG hasn't been great on the offensive boards, but maybe this is an opportunity to get some second-chance points.  MAC teams have clearly been trying to keep BG off the FT line...BG is #14 in FT% in the nation.

Ball State has five guys in double figures, which is as much about depth as it is about great players.  KJ Walton is scoring 15.8 per game, and is very effective, making 54% of his shots, all 2FG.  Ishmael El-Amin, who was 3rd-team All-MAC last year, is scoring an inefficient 11.8, on 37% overall and 31% 3FG shooting.  He also missed the second half of the Buffalo game, so we will see how that works out.

Miryne Thomas missed the UB game, but is scoring 11 PPG on 65% FG shooting and 64% 3FG shooting.  He also gathers 5.7 RPG.  He's a transfer from Maryland-Eastern Shore...played some last year.  Brachen Hazen is scoring 11.3 on 57% and 50% shooting, plus a team-high 5.8 RPG.  He is in his 3rd year of the program after transferring from Arkansas.  Luke Bumbalough is also scoring 10 PPG.

So, we will see if BG can keep the beat rolling along.  BG is playing very well right now.  They last 3 wins have not been against the top teams in the MAC--but they were also easy wins.  Ball State is tougher.  You'd like to think you keep the beat rolling along with this one.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Football Updates

So some football news today, catching up really....

First, over the past week or so, LaBronz Davis and Isaiah Johnson-Mack have entered the portal.  

Davis was the backup QB who saw action this year when McDonald was injured.   He was a walk-on though and as the QB room fills up with recruited players, I think he probably figures he isn't in the long term plans.

(Update:  Davis announced on Twitter Sunday he would be back).

Johnson-Mack was part of that discipline issue late in the year and also certainly is not a surprise.

On the good news front, Diata Burns (a JUCO DB) has left the portal and decided to return to BG.  We welcome him back and can certainly use him.  He could have two more years. probably the most significant news, Coach Loeffler restructured his coaching staff.  Coach Malone will move from OL to RBs...and move from Co-OC to OC.  Which means, yes, he is going to call plays.

I honestly don't think it makes sense for a head coach to call plays.  I know some of them do it well, but it seems like the head coach should have his focus on broader issues.  

The most important thing is that I think it shows that he is willing to learn and grow as a head coach.  And it is not the first time.  We all have our little preferences....for example, I'd prefer our coach have been a head coach before....but I know for every Clawson/Kill/Leipold/Lester/Solich there is also a Fleck/Campbell/Hoke/Meyer/Doeren.

We went with this approach and I believe in this guy...partly because he's willing to grow as Coach and not keep calling plays because he can't admit he was wrong.  

Also, sometimes the AD can dictate this....I think both of the previous coaches were ordered to unload their best friend/DCs.

Anyway, I applaud him for it.  He should be focused on the culture of the program and let his assistants call play.

Coach Hedden, who was coaching TEs, will move to coaching OL.  And Coach Nosal, who coached RBs for one year will now coach TEs.

I wish everyone--those departing, those re-arriving and those with new roles--nothing but the best.

BG-CMU Redux

BG did something relatively interesting yesterday at the Guirk.  They demolished a team for the second time in a week.  You just figured on a quick turn-around after Tuesday's game and on their home floor, that CMU would rally and make it a close game.  Furthermore, BG has, from time to time, been somewhat allergic to success.  They often have often been unable to even hold second half leads.  So, I was kind of expecting a game where BG would win but it would be much closer.

It was not.  I mean, it wasn't wire to wire.  CMU led for 2;26....BG led for the last 37:18.  They were up 10  about 6 minutes in and for the last 27 minutes of the game.  The lead got as high as 30 and ended at 28.  BG won the first half by 15 and the second half by 13.  Like the game at the Stroh, it was a comprehensive win.

BG scored 1.22 points per possession.  In fact, they have been over 1.2 points per possession in every game since the Wright State except one (NIU).  For context, only four teams in the country are averaging 1.2 points per game or more--Gonzaga, Iowa, Baylor and Drake.  BG's average is 1.12 for all games, which is #22 in the country.  The average is 1.02.

FWIW, the MAC has the #2 best offensive efficiency in college ball, counting conference games only.

So, BG is scoring.  They are doing it with modestly above average shooting, offensive rebounds and free throw rate, and outstanding turnover control.  BG is 10th in the country in turnover rate.

In the CMU game, it was just a huge contrast.  BG shot fine--the D1 average is 49%.  They made 45% of 2FGs and 41% of 3FGS.  They took excellent care of the ball--even as CMU applied pressure.  BG was good on the offensive boards--best in a competitive game all year--and didn't get to the line very much.  BG remains #15 in the country in free throw%, though it wasn't great yesterday (65%).

Meanwhile, CMU had a terrible game shooting.  That's worse than NIU a week ago and the worst by a BG opponent since 2019 (WMU).  They made 34% of 2FGs and 17% of 3FGs.  They didn't have a terrible game with turnovers but still lost possessions overall to BG, they were good on the offensive boards...and in fact this game would have been even uglier if they hadn't gotten to the line for 38 FTs and making 26 (68%).


Individually, BG was led by Justin Turner with 24.  He is now 13 points behind Howard Komives.  It wasn't his most efficient game--he shot 8 of 20--but he added 6 of 7 at the line and 8 assists with no turnovers, if that works for you.  

Kaden Metheny had 14 points.  Young man has stones.  He splashed some shots to start the game and showed no fear moving forward.  Missed a few but they were good shots, by and large.  He ended up 4 of 7 from 3FG and 1 of 5 from 2FG.  Two assists, no turnovers and 3 steals.

Caleb Fields is shooting really well.  If that continues, we are just very hard to beat.  He scored 13 on 5 of 7 overall shooting and 4 of 6 from 3FG.  Also 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 turnover.  And +23.

Finally, Trey Diggs had 13.  Only 1 of 7 from 3FG, but 5 of 6 on 2FGs.

Plowden struggled with his shot, but 14 rebounds in 21 minutes.

BG is now 5-0 in MAC play for the third time ever and two of them have been Huger teams.  The challenge the last two years has been the last few games.  For now, let's enjoy the ride.  BG sees Ball State on Tuesday and is #102 in kenpom, which loves blowouts.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Justin Turner up to #4

So, just to update the tally, Justin Turner continues to move up the all-time scoring list.  Let us hope he stays healthy and we can keep playing and he can move up the chart.  He passed Antonio Daniels in the last game--and note the classy video Antonio made to congratulate him--and now sits 33 points behind Howard Komives.  (For you young-uns, Komives was a stud.  Scored 36.7 PPG in 63-64, the highest in MAC history.  He played 742 NBA games).

1. ANTHONY STACEY ............... 1,938 POINTS

2. KEITH MCLEOD ..................... 1,895 POINTS

3. HOWARD KOMIVES ............... 1,834 POINTS

4. JUSTIN TURNER ...................... 1,801 POINTS

5. ANTONIO DANIELS ............... 1,789 POINTS

6. JAMES DARROW ..................... 1,740 POINTS

7. CHARLES SHARE .................... 1,730 POINTS

8. WALT PIATKOWSKI ................ 1,577 POINTS

9. COLIN IRISH ............................ 1,567 POINTS

10. LEN MATELA ..........................1,527 POINTS

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Easy Stroll for BG MBB over CMU

 A highly enjoyable night for the Falcon MBB team, as they cruised past CMU.  BG led wire to wire.  Over the last 27 minutes of the game, BG outscored CMU 66 to 47.  BG held a 10+ lead for the last 25 minutes of the game.  Other times, we have seen BG soften and lose leads like this but not this time.  The Falcons kept their foot on the glass and left no opportunity for CMU to get back in the game.

Small note, CMU even applied traps and pressure, something BG has struggled with in the past, but BG handled the pressure nearly flawlessly and often created opportunities off it.  

That how you like this kind of thing to roll.  

BG ended up with 1.21 points per possession and CMU .92.  What's interesting is that you have that kind of a gap when the shooting was relatively close.  BG shot 56% from 2FG and 40% from 3FG, while CMU shot 55% and 35%, which is actually above average.  The difference is that they didn't get turnovers on defense, which they usually go, and BG was dominant on both sides of the boards.  Also, while CMU had an advantage getting to the line, they made only 3 out of 15 FT attempts, which is obviously terrible. BG made 8 of 11.

BG put six guys in double figures.  Justin Turner led the way, while moving into #4 on the all-time BGSU scoring list.  He scoired 17 on 7 of 20 shooting, 0 of 2 from 3FG, 3-3 at the line and 7 assists over no turnovers.  Caleb Fields had 13 points, shooting 3 of 4 from 3FG.  He also had 5 rebounds.  

Cam Young scored 12 points.  That's 5-7 overall and 1 of 2 from 3FG and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes played.  If that would be of interest.  He was +9, netting a high +/- for the second straight game.

Josiah Fulcher had 11.  That's 3 of 4 overall, making his only 3, and making all 4 FTs.  

Kaden Metheny had 10 points on 4 of 11 shooting, with 2 of 7 on 3FG.  He led the team with 7 rebounds.

How about those BG freshmen, huh?

Daeqwon Plowden had 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

BG is 4-0 in the MAC now and moves to play CMU against at the Guirk.  That will be interesting.  How does CMU respond after this game--do they come back strong?  And does BG come out strong or act like there's nothing to prove.  There's no way BG should lose the game...but we shall see.

Monday, January 04, 2021

CMU MBB Preview Preview

 Somewhere, we need the Little Caesar's guy.

So, the MAC schedulers were back at it and BG is no longer going to have on off day Saturday.  Instead, BG will play CMU at the Stroh on Tuesday and in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday.

This is Keno Davis's 9th season at CMU.  He's had one really good year, been above average and below average other than that.  They were 7-11 in the MAC last year and are 1-1 this year.

They lost 4 starters off last year's team, which is probably why they were picked to be 11th in the MAC this year.  All were double figurer scorers.

This year has been rough, with one notable exeception.  But very rough.  First, they lost to UIC by 2 in a game that wasn't that close.  They lost by 20 to FIU, an OK team and then they lost to Flagler by 19 on a neutral floor.

Flagler, you say?  Yes, Flager.  That's a DII team.  This is partly some Karma.  CMU has rivalled EMU is cupcake scheduling of non-D1 teams, and this time they got blown out by one.  It was their first win over a D1 team ever.  

They got back onto the boards, beating Olivet (DIII) and St. Francis of Ill, which is in the NAIA.


They also lost by 15 to WMU, picked to be last in the MAC.

Then, of all things, they beat EMU 87-60 in Ypsi.  

Go figure.

They are 3-3 in D1 games and 2-1 in non-D1 games.

This will be a significant tempo change from the previous game.  Where as NIU plays in rubber cement, CMU plays on ice skates.  They have the 50th fastest possession in the country.  Which, actually, is a pace at which BG should be more comfortable.

Even at a fast pace, CMU is not a great offensive team.  D1 average is 1.01 points per possession, so they are above average on offense and below average on defense.  BG's efficiency is #40 in the country--for you kenpomers, I use raw not adjusted for these.  Anyway, you'd want BG to score on CMU and they should be in reasonable shape.

So, how does CMU end up at 1.04 points per possession.  Their shooting is just slightly better than the D1 average.  They don't take many 3FGs....just 29% of the overall attempts.  The average is 38%.  However, they are very accurate.  They make 38%, which is among the top 10% in the country.  They also take good care of the ball and are decent on the defensive boards and they get to the line.  They make only 66% of their FTs, which is not good.

So, things are pretty evenly matched between the CMU attack and BG defense.  

They are a poor defensive team...easy to shoot against and poor on the defensive boards.  They do force turnovers, which helps.  BG will need to be careful to take good care of the ball.  They are especially poor against the 3FG, which is an opening for BG.

CMU's top four scorers are former JUCO players.  Travon Broadway is one of them...actually in his 2nd year at CMU.  He is 6'5" and is pretty good.  He's shooting 46% overall and 35% from 3FG and 5.4 rebounds per game.  Caleb Huffman--who is in his first year--is scoring 12.4 PPG on 61% and 41% shooting.  He's a 6'4" G.  That's in 22 minutes all off the bench.

Meikel Murrary....a 6'6" G, is scoring 12.1 PPG on 50% shooting, all from 2FG.  He's in his first year in the program.  Their leading assist-maker is Devontae Lane, who is in his second year after a JUCO transfer.

So, this will be two in a row.  BG is going to need to defend effectively against their length.  And they need to keep scoring.  If they do, there's no reason they shouldn't sweep the week.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Falcon MBB Wins over NIU in Montgomery's last game

Well, there you go.  BG MBB beat NIU yesterday--convincingly in the end--and then, looky here, away goes Mark Montgomery.

A bit on that.  It's hard to understand.  Look, he's been there 10 years and I don't think he would have lasted that many years at most MAC schools.  They have OK/decent once in a while.  But they have a good year last year, lose their all-time leading scorer and then start awfully this year (1-7) and NOW they fire him, in the middle of the season.

Hard to understand.  I mean, two years ago I could have seen it.  ln March 2021 I could see it.  But now?  Can't see it.

Anyway.  That was his last game at NIU.

It was, no doubt, an ugly effort.

NIU knew they needed to control the tempo and they did a really good job of it.  The first half was plodding and tough...I expected to find out there were still seams on the ball.  The game was very close in the first half.  BG finally went on a mini-run at the end to lead by 5 at the half....23-18.

After the game, Montgomery said that Tyler Cochran--who is their best player and a tough matchup for us--hurt his hamstring late in the half.  He played only 4 minutes in the second half, in two short bursts.  It definitely had an impact on them.

BG shot 37% overall and 11% in the first half.  NIU shot 29% both overall and from 3FG, meaning they were 5 of 17 on 2FGs.

The first 5 minutes of the second half were more of the same.  NIU had it pruned back to 3 when BG launched onto the decisive run.  BG went on a 17-2 run that lasted from 15:53 to 9:36.  Part way through, they subbed Cochran back in but it didn't make a difference and he came out to stay when NIU called time at the end of the run.

BG had an interesting alignment on the floor during the run...most of it was Turner, Diggs, Plowden, Fields and Young.

Anyway, from there it was over.  BG was up 45-27, an 18 point lead when the team only had 27.  BG kept it on, pushing the lead to 28 before winning 68-42.

Ourch.  42 points.  That's the lowest against BG since 2013...against NIU.  It also equals .64 points per possession, which is the lowest by a BG opponent since the 2009 OU game that clinched the regular-season title for BG.

BG had a decent game at 1.04 points per possession, but not the offensive game they have been having.  There were only 65 possessions in the game.

As you can see, the #1 factor was decisive.  BG shot well--65% on 2FG and 27% on 3FG--while NIU shot horribly...33% and 18%.  They also turned the ball over a lot.  As always, they were good on the offensive boards but didn't seem to turn that back into 2FG shooting.  No one got to the line very much.

Justin Turner scored 20 points for the 45th time in his career.  He is 6 points behind Antonio Daniels on the career list.  He did it without a FT, shooting 9 of 14 and 2 of 4 from 3FG, which is very efficient.  They were doubling him off the ball screen and he didn't force things. Plowden had 12 on  3-5 from 2FG and 1 of 3 from 3FG, to go with 9 rebounds.  

Diggs had 11 on 3 of 4 from 3FG and Fields had 10 and 5 rebounds in 32 minutes after seeing limited minutes in Athens.

And, because I mentioned it last time, Metheny had 3 assists.

Staying on the youth front, Fulcher had 6 on 3 of 4 shooting and Young had 5 on 2 of 4 shooting.  Both played 15 minutes.  

Coach told Todd Walker that Chandler Turner was going to play more and he played 8 minutes and made his only shot.

BG is 3-0 in the MAC, tied with UT.  It is only the 5th time in 20 years that BG has won its first 3 MAC games...three of them under Huger.  With Huger, the test has been the last 3 games, not the first.  Anyway, BG will get culture shock now, moving from the slowest team in history to one of the fastest, the CMU-JUCOs.

That game is on Tuesday at BG.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Denley to end BG Football Career

Bryson Denley has announced that he will be leaving BG to take a shot at what lies ahead for him.

Denley was a Jinks fact, he attended the high school that Jinks was HC of in Texas.  He played 34 games in his four years at BG.  He gained 934 yards and a 4.2 average and he caught 42 passes.  Overall, he scored 7 touchdowns for the Falcons, highlighted by the 66-yard reception in the UT upset.

Denley was a warrior for BG.  He played hard even when we were out of games, which for him was a lot.  He ran guys over when it was just for fun.

Like everyone, he had the ability to come back, but I think you can understand this decision.  College isn't only a limited part of your life.

Best of luck, Bryson.  Thanks for being a Falcon.

2021 Kicks off for MBB

 Now we're back at it, with games coming the way they do in "normal" times.  BG was in Athens this week and now they are all the way over in DeKalb.

Mark Montgomery is in his 10th season with the Huskies.  He won 10 games his first two seasons and then last year was the first year he has been over .500 in the MAC.  They were 11-7.

They lost three starters from that team and it has shown this year.  That includes first-team All-MAC Eugene German, the third-leading scorer in the MAC.  Also, starters Lacey James and Noah McCarty graduated.  Their top returning scorers had 7.5 PPG and the top rebounder was 4.2 RPG.

They were picked #10 in the MAC this year.  BG has won 4 of the last 5, including last year's game and the MAC Semi-final in 2019.

It hasn't been a great start.  They are 1-6 and ranked #307 in the nation in Kenpom.  There one win was over Chicago State, the lowest-ranked team in D1...they have called the remainder of their season off.

They lost by 20 to SIU-Edwardsville---ranked #320--along with a loss to UIC which is, to date, the nation's most epic collapse.  NIU was up 18 inside of 9 minutes with a 99%+ chance of winning and then went on to lose.

They are 0-2 in the MAC.  They took Ball State to OT before losing in DeKalb and Toledo beat them by 23 at Savage.

So, this pretty much tells the story of what's happened so far.  

The average points per possession so far is about 1.01 in the country.  As you can see, NIU is having serious problems scoring the ball.  BG has played subpar defense, however, and we'll see who gets well here.  On the other side, NIU is also having problems stopping other teams, and BG is scoring very efficiently and you'd expect to see that continue against a struggling NIU defense.

NIU is struggling to shoot.  They try very few 3FGs, and for good reason.  They make only 22% of them.  So they focus on 2FGs, and make only 45%, which is well below the D1 average.  They crash the offensive boards, so that's a good number.  They rarely get to the line and only make 65% when they do.

A hidden key here is the rebounding.  They are going to miss a decent number of shots and if BG can clear the boards they will get a chance to increase the tempo and could have a very nice day.

Turning it around, you can see the NIU is easy to shoot on.  BG's shooting is about average for the year, and NIU is #305 defending the shot--and that extends to 2FG and 3FG.  If you see BG missing shots, there's an issue.  To add to the problem, they don't cause turnovers--and BG doesn't make them--and they aren't great on the defensive boards.  They are average at allowing FTs.

The FTs are worth a note. BG is #40 in the country in getting to the line and #4 in FT%.  An average team gets about 19% of their points at the line and BG gets 25%.  BG has the #3, #6, #11 and #13 FT shooters in the MAC.

The leading scorer is Tyler Cochran, a 6'2" So G.  He's scoring 14.5 per game and shooting 48% overall, which is pretty good.  He also leads the team with 7.5 RPG.

Their other two double figure scorers are not so efficient.  Trendon Hankerson is scoring 12.7 PPG and 39% and 29% shooting.  Darius Beane is scoring 11.7 PPG on 39% shooting.  Both of those players also have under-water A/T ratios.  Kaleb Thornton leads the team with 19 assists in 7 games at a 1:1 A/T.

This is a game BG should win.  You don't need it to be pretty, but you need to get the W.  If you don't, this is one that will sting when you add up the results in March.

Happy New Year to the Falcon Nation....


"Brothers and Sisters, let us begin anew.  For until today, we have done nothing."

---St. Francis