Tuesday, January 31, 2023

BG Football Commit

BG football has a new commit.  His name is Jace Henry.  He is from Pataskala, OH, which is in Licking County, about 20 miles east of Columbus.  He attended Watkins Memorial HS. That's a Division II school...made the state playoffs and won one game.  (Same division as Central Catholic).

He is a highly decorated player and here's an excellent profile in his local paper.

He was a WR/DB but appears to have gotten most of his recognition as a DB.  He was second-team all-Ohio, LCL-Buckeye Defensive Back of the Year, All-district and Newark Advocate Defensive Player of the Year.  He had 6 picks and 57 tackles his senior year and blocked 7 kicks (!!). 

He's not ranked on 247 and the only offer I saw on Twitter was from Georgetown College, which is in Kentucky.

Welcome to the Falcons, Jace.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Ball State Comes to Town (MBB)

 Ball State now comes into the Stroh. 

In the 80's and 90's, the Cardinals were the MAC's dominant team.  From 1981 to 2000 they made the tourney seven times and the Sweet 16.  It seemed like the natural order of things...being in Indiana and all. Rick Majerus coached them. Ray McCallum left after the last one and they went into the wilderness.  No MAC titles, no coach with better than a 52% record.

James Whitford was fired after last year. Their new coach is Michael Lewis, author of the Blind Side and Moneyball.

OK, not that Michael Lewis.

He is an Indiana guy who was an assistant at UCLA before coming to BSU.

They were picked #4 in the MAC and are right there at 5-3. They won @UT, and UA, WMU and @NIU, with losses @OU, @KS and UB.  They are 2-2 on the road in MAC play.

BG has won 6 of the last 10, but lost both games last year and the last 2 at the Stroh.

BG and BSU are similar, with both teams scoring about what they allow. BSU is better on defense and worst on offense. FWIW, 1.08 points per possession is just above the MAC average....MAC leads the nation in offensive efficiency (or is last in defensive efficiency).

They are not a great shooting team....#10 in the MAC. They get to average by being #5 in turnovers, #4 on the offensive boards and #6 at getting to the line. They are 10th in making FTs.  They try 36% from 3FG, which is below average, but they make 37%, which is #5.  They are 11th making 2FGs.  Overall, things are relatively similar when BSU has the ball.

They are not great against the shot, #9 overall.  BG leads the MAC in shooting.  Furthermore, BG is #1 in 3FG shooting and BSU is last defending the 3FG.  Otherwise, things are pretty similar.  BG does not force a lot of turnovers, but they are really good on the defensive boards, which contrasts with a BG strength.  So, you'd look to see BG make 3FGs and start protecting the ball.

Jarron Coleman leads the Cards with 17.9 PPG.  You may recall Mr. Coleman, who was MAC freshman of the year then transferred to Missouri where he played two seasons before coming BACK to Muncie.  He shoots 41% and 41%, leads the team with 27 assists and has 13 steals.

Their next leading scorer is Demarius Jacobs. He is a St. Louis transfer who played last year in Muncie.  He's the most efficient shooter in the MAC, making 60% on 2FGs and a conference-leading 57% on 3FGs. He has 26 assists. 

Jaylin Sellers is scoring 11 points a game. He's making 46% and 34%. He was all-Freshman last year in the MAC.

Their center, Payton Sparks is scoring 10.6 PPG on 55% 2FG shooting and leads the team with 7.4 RPG. He was MAC freshman of the year last year.

This one is at best 50/50, but it is a game BG should compete in at home.  They had a rough night Saturday at Savage and a win would be very helpful.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sadness Accrues (MBB)

The rivalry went down at Savage Hall and so did the Falcons.  It wasn't a huge surprise.  The Rockets were big favorites and came in on a four-game winning streak.  But BG played with them much of the way but just didn't play well enough to beat one of the top teams in the conference, which they are and we are not.

The first half was highly competitive.  There were 9 ties and three lead changes. With 2:30 left in the first half, UT led by 2.  Believe it or not, it was not a one-possession game again.

UT closed the half on an 8-0 run to lead by 10 at the break. They came out and went on an 18-7 run to start the second half and it was over.  The lead got as high as 21. Unlike the closing game last year, BG did continue to battle, eventually cutting the lead back to 8 with 6 minutes left.  UT did what winning teams do...stemmed the tide and went on a 10-2 run to put the game away.

Coming in, we knew that UT was an offensive juggernaut...good shooting and low turnovers.  They even exceeded their MAC average at 1.29 points per possession. They shot the ball well and didn't turn it over.  BG even defended the 3FG well, holding them to 26%.  But they made 72% of their 2FGs, partly aided by easy baskets on BG turnovers.  It's the best 2FG shooting by a BG opponent since a December game vs. Wright State in 2020.

BG had 1.09 points per possession, making 63% and 27% on their FG attempts--only slightly behind UT.  They did well on the offensive boards and were +2 at the line.  However, they gave UT 10 extra possessions with turnovers and that will get you beaten when you play those guys, especially since we don't play for turnovers.

Ayers was BG's leading scorer with 8 of 13 and 1 of 3 shooting. He added six assists and 4 turnovers. Curtis had 14 points on 2 of 5 3FG shooting and 6 of 6 at the line and he added 5 assists and 2 turnovers.  Agee also had 14 on 7 of 9 shooting to go with 6 boards, 4 fouls and 3 turnovers in 18 minutes. Chandler Turner had 12 on 3 of 6 and 1 of 2 shooting and 10 rebounds.

So, BG is back at 4-4 in MAC play.  Two home games next week, starting with a surging Ball State team.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Rocket MBB Preview

So, here come the Toledo Rockets.  Rivalry game.

Toledo hasn't been to the NCAAs since 1990.  They have had some really good teams and their program is in really good shape, but they just seem to have weird things happen in the MAC tourney.

They were picked #2 this year by the MAC and they were picked to win by Blue Ribbon.  They are 14-6 overall, which is nothing special, particularly against the #196 non-conference schedule. They are 5-2 in the MAC....they lost @Kent as well as at home to Ball State...they have 4 straight MAC wins, @NIU, OU, @UB and EMU.

UT is 6-4 in the last 10 games against BG and 3-2 at Savage over that time.  Our last trip there at the end of last season was a low point for the program.

When you look at the Rockets, you see a team that can really score. Their pace is 5th in the MAC at 70 possessions, but they lead the MAC at 1.21 points per possession.  This is an incredible number.  It means averaging what BG scored against CMU.  They are 14th in the country in offense.  Since 2002, no team has ever finished about 1.18 points per possession in MAC play. 

BG is 2nd in scoring.  UT is #9 in defense and BG is #10.

So, UT gets there with scorching shooting and taking care of the ball.  They are #2 in the MAC in shooting at #20 in the country.  They are #1 in turnovers and #11 in the country.  They aren't great on the boards, but they get to the line and make 73%.

They try 39% from 3FG, which is #3 in the MAC. They make 41% from 3FG and 54% from 2FG, both of which are really good.  

The other side is really similar. BG is the #1 shooting team in the MAC and #2 in offense. UT is #7 defending the shot. BG's issue has been turning the ball over, and UT doesn't do anything special forcing turnovers.  They are not great on their own boards--they play without a post player in a 5-out approach--but they don't foul.  That is a hallmark of Kowalcyk's teams.  They don't foul.

They do not defend the 3FG well.

RayJ Dennis is their leading scorer at 17.1 PPG. He shoots 51% and 27% from the field. He also leads the MAC at 5.7 APG and a 3.3 A/T Ratio.  He's a really good player.

The second leading scorer is JT Shumate at 16.4 PPG. He shoots 52% and 48%. He also leads the team with 6 RPG.

Setric Millner scores 14.7 PPG on 54% and 52% shooting.  Very efficient.  He's #4 in 3FG shooting in MAC. Dante Maddox is scoring 13.7 PPG on 50% and 49% shooting.

Tyler Cochran is scoring 9.7 PPG but UT announced he would be going on medical redshirt.

Honestly, if the good Falcons show up, this has the potential to be an extremely exciting game, especially if you like scoring.  

BG will help its case by limiting turnovers and taking advantage of their rebounding.  Also, Agee is a player UT will have trouble matching if he can come at it with focus.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

JUCO Transfer Bo Tate on his way to BG

BG continues to add players...and I suspect will continue to.  Also, there will be another transfer window and I would expect more departures and arrivals in that period.

BG has added Bo Tate, a 6'2" 190 lb. WR who played at Ventura College in California.  He played HS ball in Oxnard.

He was productive as a JUCO player. He was there a while...a redshirt year, COVID year and then two seasons playing, so he is older.  Over the two seasons he played,  he had 57 receptions for 616 yards and three touchdowns.

He's the second WR BG has added so far, after losing Tyrone Broden.

Welcome to the Falcons, Bo.

BG Wins Easily vs. Chips

Well, MAC MBB is full of surprises.  EMU pushes the Rockets to the edge....Kent loses....and BG coasted past CMU for a 22-point win on the road.

How about that?  It was a drama-free joyride to victory.  BG led by 10 with 15 to play in the first.  The game was never closer than 10 for the last 32 minutes. In fact, it was never closer than 20 for the last 25 minutes of the game. The lead got as high as 32 and CMU never got closer than 21 in the second half.

Remember, CMU game in struggling to score and playing average defense.  BG scored 1.21 points per possession--BG is scoring really well in MAC play.  When you do that, just need average defense to win, but BG did better, holding CMU to .89, even at that being below their average.  Both offense and defense were winning numbers, hence the blowout.

BG shot the ball through the roof.  They tried 40% of their FGs from 3FG, made 57% from 2FG and 53% from 3FG.  You will not lose many games shooting like this, although BG did in Kalamazoo.  The Falcons continued to turn the ball over too much, but there was great offensive rebounding team and BG got to the line a lot and made 21 of 29 at the line.

Leon Ayers continued to scorch the nets.  He scored 24 points on 3 of 6 and 5 of 6 shooting (!).  He also made all 3 FTs....and did have 5 turnovers, but he continues to be an offensive machine.  Samari Curtis had 19, mostly on 14 of 16 at the line and 6 rebounds.  Agee played 15 minutes, scoring 6 points and 6 rebounds.  O'Neal provided some good minutes as well...with 6 points and 6 rebounds in 14 minutes. Metheny had 9 and made all of his 3FGs...Chandler Turner had 7 rebounds.

BG moves to 4-3 in the MAC...one of four teams in the MAC with that record. Next up is the Rockets, a team that plays much like BG does.  Should be a wild one...

Monday, January 23, 2023

MBB Preview: The Road to Mt. Pleasant

In 2003, CMU was led by 7'0" Chris Kamen and coached by one-time BG player Jay Smith...and they won the MAC and made the NCAAs.  In the 20 years since, they have finished over .500 only 3 times.  They ran through Smith, Ernie "Trey is my kid" Zeigler (a former BG assistant), and then an ill-advised 9 years (can you believe it was that long) Keno Davis run.

They brought in Tony Barbee, a Calipari guy--as a player and assistant--and took UTEP to the NCAAs before a not-so-great time at Auburn, with point-shaving and rampant dismissals and transfers of players...on top of a 40% winning %.  He went back to being an assistant at Kentucky.

In his second year, he is 6-16 in MAC play.

Blue Ribbon picked them 8th this year and 10th in the official poll.  They are currently 2-4 in MAC play and 5-12 overall in D1 games.  They did pick up a marquee win over UM at Crisler.  They beat Miami and Buffalo at home, lost at home to Akron, and lost on the road to EMU, NIU, and OU.

Reminder that to date the MAC is the second-hardest conference to win on the road this year.

The teams are 5-5 over the last 10. BG has won 4 of 6 but has lost and is 2-3 over the last 5 at McGuirk.

They have struggled with injuries.  Pre-season second-team All-MAC Kevin Miller has played only 4 games, Coppin State transfer Jesse Zarzuela has battled injuries, was a big contributor in the UB and UA games, but did not play in their last game. Emil Skyyta, a FR from Finland has also missed most of the season. JUCO Carrington McCaskill also missed their last game.  Going by who has played their minutes, they are one of the youngest teams in the country.

So, we see BG, now 2nd in the MAC in offensive efficiency with a struggling D.  CMU is last in the MAC in offense.  On the other hand, they are playing good defense--so this represents an interesting contrast on both sides.  Seems to me the key will be scoring for BG.

They are 11th in shooting and 12th in turnovers. They are actually pretty good on the defensive boards and they get to the line a lot, 

They are 2nd in the MAC in the percentage of 3FGs attempted. They are 10th at making them and last at 2FGs.  They are also 10th at the line.

To me, this is they key.  CMU is #2 defending the shot and BG is #2 at shooting. The Chips are #4 defending the 3FG and #6 at 2FG.  BG has shown they need to shoot well to win, and you hope it continues on the road.   BG also has to get back to protecting the ball...they are about average at forcing turnovers. They do foul a lot.

Also, one thing they have benefited from.  CMU leads the MAC in lowest FT% against...something that is total luck.

Zarzuela is their leading scorer.  He is scoring 22.7 in MAC games, on 43% and 36% shooting. Brian Taylor is scoring 14.8 PPG and a team-high 8.3 RPG.  At 6'6" he's in his second year at CMU after transferring from Illinois-Chicago. He shoots 47% and 28%. Markus Harding is a 6'10" JUCO and Canadian scoring 12.2 PPG on 59% and 29% shooting and 5.4 RPG.  He plays only 24 minutes per game.

Also, a young man named Max Maejrle is playing 25 minutes a game.  A FR, his dad is named Dan.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

BG MBB Rallies With Win over Miami

 BG was back at home on Saturday and with Metheny and Elsasser back in the lineup and things clicked back and the Falcons beat Miami by 10 to go to 3-3 in the MAC.  Miami, at a program low, is 1-5.

For reference, a .500 record almost certainly qualifies to go to Cleveland.

Things went well for BG from the beginning and Miami never led in the game.  BG led for 39:18. The margin was 9 or more for the last 33 minutes of the game and almost all of that time in double digits.

The first break was Anderson Mirambeaux getting 2 fouls in the first 3 minutes.  Their leading scorer played only 9 first half minutes.

BG started playing really well.  In particular, Leon Ayres was en fuego, scoring BG's first 9 points.  BG led by 9 at the first media time-out and 10 by the next one. The game kind of hung in that balance for a few minutes until a modest 7-2 run ended with BG up 15 with 4 to play.  BG had a couple turnovers coming home and it was a 10-point lead at the half.

Metheny drilled consecutive 3FGs coming out of the locker room was 16.  A 10-0 run had BG up 22 heading into the second media timeout.  MU went on an 8-0 run to get it to 14, but in this case BG stemmed the tide, with Chandler Turner finishing in the paint to make it 16.  The lead was 13 heading into the last media timeout. 

With about 2:30 left BG turned it over and MU got to the hoop to cut the lead back to 9.  Gotta feel nervous at this point.  MU is pressuring, but they fouled Ayres who made both FTs.  MU scored on the other end to get it back to 9, Ayres was fouled again and made 1 more FT to put BG up 10 with 2 to play.  Mills got a steal, BG ran clock, Curtis was fouled and made both FTs and the lead with 12 with 1:26 left and that was that.

BG had another really good offensive game at 1.17 points per possession.  If you can score that well, you only need average defense to win.  The MAC average this year is 1.05 and BG held Miami to 1.03.  This is the difference between the MU game and the WMU game.

BG shot the ball really well.  They took 33% from 3FG and made 44% and added 63% on 2FG, their best D1 shooting of the season.  They also made 22 of 24 FTs...and did well on the offensive boards, but they needed this shooting because it was another bad night for turnovers.

MU tried only 28% from 3FG, but had a terrible night even for them, shooting 3-17.  They were 61% from 2FG and only 10 of 16 at the line. 

Leon Ayres had a career night for BG.  He scored 31 points on 7 of 7 2FG shooting, 3 of 5 from 3 and 8 of 9 at the line. He had 4 assists...and 7 turnovers, the only downside on his line.

Metheny continued to come out as a player even better than what we have seen.  He shot 4 of 7 from 3FG for 15 points and played excellent defense on Lairy.  Curtis has 10, mostly on 8-8 at the line.  He really struggles near the rim, but he did get calls when driving through traffic..  Also 4 rebounds.

One note.  Ubong Abasi Etim has been starting with Towns injured. He gave 10 really effective minutes Saturday--with 10 minutes, 4 points, 4 boards, 2 steals and 2 turnovers.  I'm feeling we are seeing some upside from him.

BG needed this win.  Miami is not great and you need to beat them on your floor.  Next up is CMU--not great, but at McGuirk.  BG's last 2 roads games were poor, but at full strength let's see if they can get the W.

Friday, January 20, 2023

BG MBB Preview: RedHawks.

Next up come the Miami RedHawks, they of the 21 MAC titles but none in 17 years.  Unbelievably, BG is a 4.5 point favorite.

Miami has certainly struggled. In 2011, Charlie Coles had them 11-5 in MAC play.  For the next 11 seasons, through John Cooper and Jack Owens, Miami has had one winning season in MAC play, and that was 8-9.  

They went about 25 miles down the road and chose Travis Steele to be their new coach...only 15 days after he was deposed from the Xavier job.  He has changed things in Oxford---they famously played a slow style with a ton of screens and man-man defense.  He has shifted them to pack line defense and a more spread offense.

Normally, that would cause a transition issue, but in today's world you are starting completely over and that was the case here.  Dae Dae Grant and Myja White transferred, leaving Miami with only a couple returning guys.

Falcon fans can rest easy.  Dalonte Brown is playing in Montenegro, where his gym is 4,926 miles from center court at the Stroh. Just about far enough.

This is the 149th time we are playing Miami and they have won 89 of the games.

Despite their recent struggles, they have won 7 of the last 10 against BG, a 2-2 record in the Stroh over that time.  BG won the game last year at home but Miami beat BG by 16 last year in Oxford during BG's 6-game losing streak late last year.

So here is how this chart looks.  Eesh.  BG is #3 in offensive efficiency and #11 in defensive efficiency. Miami is a little more settled....at #9 in offense and #6 with their pack line.  BG has allowed at least one below average team to go off on them...and we don't know who will be in uniform...but you've got a pretty good contrast.

Steele also said they were going to play faster. The Coles teams were famous for glacial play (about 58 possessions a game), but Steele's team plays at 72 possessions a game, slightly more than last year and just a little bit less than BG.

Miami is an average shooting team...and everything else on offense they do poorly.  They are 11th in turnovers, 10th in offensive rebounding in getting to the line...but these are all things BG has done poorly on the defensive end to date.

They try 37% of their FGAs from 3FG, which is about average. They are very poor from 3FG, at 29% but 3rd in the MAC from 2FG at 53%.  They make 75% of their FTs, which is #4 in the conference. 

When it flips the other way, you see a BG team which is scoring and shooting well, lost as they are being outscored.  BG leads the MAC in 3-point shooting and is #4 in 2FGs. Miami is average defensively....they are a little bit above average against the shot and #2 at defending the 3FG. They are average at forcing turnovers and on the boards, but they foul A LOT.  Last in the MAC. Their opponents shoot only 66% from the line.  Pure luck but it helps them. BG makes 70% of FTs, which is OK but not great.

Miami had to bring in a bunch of guys and they did.

Their leading scorer is Anderson Mirambeaux, a Cleveland State transfer who sounds like he will someday be the Governor of Louisiana. He is actually from the Dominican Republic.  He is a pretty good-sized fella. According to Blue Ribbon, he has weighed as much as 365, got down to 325 at Miami.  The roster says 305. He is 6'8".  He's scoring 16 PPG on 56% shooting.  He also averages 8.2 RPG, #6 in the MAC.

Their second-leading scorer is Mekhi Lairy, their one returning starter.  He is scoring 15 PPG, on 48% 2FG shooting and 30% 3FG shooting.  He's also #2 in the MAC with 5.4 assists per game and #6 in A/T ratio. 

Morgan Safford, who transferred from Wofford, is scoring 15.6 PPG and adding 7.6 RPG. He's 6'5" and a guard. He makes 53% from 2FG and 35% from 3FG. 

For BG, the question is who will be on the court.  Prior to the WMU game, BG seemed to have a set up that was working.  They especially need Metheny.  Metheny, Elsasser, Towns and Lightfoot missed the last game.  Let's hope everyone is healthy and feeling better. BG is still in the running to make Cleveland, but can't afford to miss wins against lower teams in the MAC on our floor.  Beyond personnel, BG needs to amp up the effort, especially on defense.

BG has QB Verbal

 BG's urgent search to solidify the QB position continued recently, with a move that seemed to slip by everyone, if only because it was announced on Instagram instead of Twitter.

His name is Daelen Menard...and yes, he is a transfer from BC. 

He's an interesting player.  He didn't play at all at BC...two games with not one pass attempted.  He was a top-flight QB in Florida in HS, all-state a couple times, (class 3A), played on a couple state championship teams.  He was injured in the state finals his junior year and was rehabbing during the camp season after his junior year and according to this article fell completely off the radar. Eventually, a coach set up a try-out at a HS and he impressed BC enough to get an offer.

He joins a QB room that now includes Conner Bazelak, Camden Orth, Owen Bainbridge, and Lucius Anderson, who is in school right now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Another long night for MBB.....

BG was smoked in their second straight MAC game.

This time it was Buffalo, getting 100-71 over BG.  The Falcons allowed 100 in consecutive games since the 1971-2 season.  That's even before MY time.  That was one of the worst seasons we ever had.  BG went 4-20.  It was Pat Haley's first season.  He had brought a couple guys up from his HS team in Dayton, but they were playing FR ball that year.  BG had no seniors.

Certainly, BG was not set up for success last night.  With Metheny, Elsasser, Towns and Lightfoot on the bench, the Falcons were stretched.  Even by those standards, it was an ugly look.  UB was also down a starter.

UB plays fast and usually scores on us, but remember from the preview this is not a great offensive team.

Here is what a noticeably frustrated and disappointed Coach Huger said after the game

  • We got too many guys who don't compete on the defensive end.
  • We didn't compete enough to post up.  You gotta compete in order to post up and we didn't compete when trying to post up we just allow people to front us and then we don't fight for the ball after that.  We allow people to just get right in front and then that's it, the effort is over.
  • I'm so disappointed in the fight that we showed in the last two games and in the fight on defense.
  • Live ball turnovers because they were so careless. Those turnovers were so, so careless, we were just throwing the ball and they get it and they go there's no defense for that. Now they run it out and get layups because we were just careless with the ball, that's the biggest thing.  In the offensive rebounding points that they got the same thing we were right there and they just out-toughed us. They just pushed us right out of the way and we were looking for fouls from the referees

That's as good a game summary as you need.

Maybe two more.

  • BG's biggest scoring run was 7 points. (mid 2nd half).
  • Midway through the first half it was 18-14 for UB. From there, in 30 minutes, it was 82-57.

Look, I like Mike Huger and I'm rooting for him.  He's one of us.  I worry greatly that this team has quit on him.  I hope not.

Also, I don't know what it is, but I remember that Coach used to say a lot in his first 3 years that he had to coach "effort" and here we are, in the same place or worse.

We didn't have high expectations for the year.  In a way, that is its own problem.  But as thin and average as you might be, you'd like your Coach not saying things like that.

Monday, January 16, 2023

BG MBB Preview: The Bulls

When the season started, I don't think we had high expectations for the Falcons and the pre-MAC season confirmed that.  When MAC play started, BG played much better...until a second half that set Falcon basketball back to the time of RB McCandless. 

That's happened and now there's just trying to get back onto the beam with a tough road game.  The biggest issue was that there was no one to punch back, no one to stem the tide...and you'll need to find one of those to get anywhere.

Buffalo was picked #6 in the MAC to start the season by the MAC and 7th by Blue Ribbon.  The Bulls are 6-9 in D1 games and 2-2 in the MAC.  They played the #29 non-conference schedule and picked up decent wins over Colgate (home) and George Mason (neutral), but also lost to Howard (neutral).  In the MAC, they opened by beating Ohio and NIU at home and losing to Miami and CMU on the road.  To date, in conference play, they have played the #10 schedule, so there are tougher games coming their way.

UB is 6-4 against BG over the last 10, with BG winning 2 of the last 3 at Alumni Hall.  Last year, the Bulls swept BG, including scoring 112 in a game at the Stroh.

UB plays a fast-paced game.  At 74 possessions, they are the #5 fastest team in the country. For all that, they are not a great offensive team.  Their scoring is below average....as is their defense.  These are the raw numbers....even adjusting for their schedule, they are below average.  BG's defense needs to stiffen up to take advantage....currently ranked #300.

They don't shoot well and they turn the ball over a lot.  BG doesn't force turnovers, but most of Buffalo's a non-steals and presumably less defense-influenced. They only take 33% from 3FG but they are terrible, less than 30% and #321 in the country. They are average on 2FGs.  As is typical for them, they are outstanding on the offensive boards (the last 2 years they were top 10 in the country and 32%, while good, is down from that) and they get to the line a lot, although at 67% they are poor at the FT line.

Defensively, they can be shot against, they are average on their own boards and give a huge number of FTs.  They do force turnovers...something BG is typically decent at, but when they struggle, it's usually the cause (as in the last minute of the first half against Akron and the early second half against WMU).  BG needs to take care of the ball.  UB defends the 3FG poorly.

BG played at WMU without Lightfoot and Towns and with Metheny under the weather.  Hopefully Kaden is feeling better and the other guys are ready to go.

Curtis Jones is their leading scorer at 15 PPG.  He's 6'5" and from Indian Hills CC in Florida, where BG forward Madani Diarra also played.  He plays a ton of minutes and is a good shooter, at 50% from 2FG and 38% from 3FG.  He also has 45 assists.

Their second leading scorer is Zid Powell. He's a 6'4" JUCO transfer from Harcum (in PA).  He missed a few games with injury and since he came back is playing bit minutes, but off the bench. He's scoring 13 a game, shooting a good 52% and a bad 16%. 

Isaiah Adams is the other double figure scorer. He's 6'6" and a transfer from UCF, where he started 9 games last year.  He is scoring 10.6 PPG on 45% and 32% shooting.  Armoni Foster leads them with 53 assists, a transfer from the Indiana University of PA.  LaQuill Hardnett leads the team with 6.9 RPG.  He is their 5th leading scorer but their top scorer who played with them last year.

As always, the Bulls are long in the backcourt.  They are the #49 team in the country by playing height. 

So, we will see what happens.  Whatever it is, it has to be better than the second half in Kzoo, but whether it is good enough to win remains to be seen.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sadness Accrues, Basketball Edition

 At halftime of yesterday's game, BG looked pretty good.  They were handling a poor team with little trouble on the road, making it three games and a half of playing normal, competitive basketball.

Then the second half started, and BG put forth a disgraceful effort to lose to the WMU Broncos 108-92.  Coach summed it up, showing his frustration in the post-game show...we have up 108 to a team averaging 69 points a game, he said.

Game?  We gave up 69 to them in the SECOND HALF.

BG allowed WMU 1.5 point per possession for the game.  For context, it is the worse defensive game BG has played since at least 2002, when the kenpom records start.  That's bad enough....and the opponent wasn't OSU or Xavier or LSU...it was WMU, ranked among the 50th lowest team in the country with an average offensive attack at best.

It was also WMU's best offensive game over that period.  WMU played Concordia this year....a DII team...in the NAIA.  They only had 1.4 points per possession.

Here is what Coach said:

"We got happy in the second half. We thought the game was over. It was only one half. No matter how much you preach to them and tell them the game is two halves, you have to play both halves. On the defensive end, we didn't defend at all. We gave up 108 points to a team that averages 69. 108 points to a team that averages 69. That tells you all you need to know."

I don't have any data, but it seems like he has said that plenty of times before.  I could get it if we were really good...but I can't imagine how this team gets cocky.  Also, you can start a half like that...you need someone to turn things around, check the run and turn it back and that's the opposite of what we showed.

I make it a 39 possession half....so WMU scored 1.8 points for every possession in the second half.

It was really ugly.  Lamar Norman just abused the BG defense.  They'd go to a flat 1-4 like BG used to with Juice, and Norman abused whoever was guarding him.  He made his share of tough floaters....and his share of layups at the rim.  BG seemed to be late to double him up high--which is what teams did to Juice--but when we did he either beat the double team and all the "help" defenders to the rim or else make a pass which led to a layup at the rim.

To be sure, BG was not at full strength.  Sam Towns is injured, Lightfoot is injured.   Metheny was gutting it out while sick.  Regardless of all that, this team can't hang 108 on us....or 98 or 88.

Here's the chart.  The sad thing is that WMU is a dreadful defensive team and BG exposed that.  Even a terrible defensive effort would have gotten a win with a shorthanded team.

Next up is Buffalo, on the road.  The Bulls are facing similar questions after a loss @CMU.

As Coach Orr said, the good thing about basketball is you get a chance to get back on the horse right away.

One last note.  It used to be a canonical truth that it was hard to play on the road in the MAC. It was mostly true...in 2008 it was the hardest conference of all to win on the road in...and the MAC is often in the top 10 our of 33.

This year, the MAC is #1, to date.  It's still early.  (Last year, home teams were barely .500 in the MAC).  Just yesterday, we've seen CMU and WMU win games at home they should have lost....so we will see how that plays out.

In the meantime, let me say this.  I really like the way our team was playing.  They have really seemed to be cohesive and stick together.  Tuesday that will be put to the test.  OK...you had a terrible half...a TERRIBLE half...how do you respond in a tough road game?

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Lawler and Spires to Portal

 Latest update in the portal report....

Mason Lawler and Blaine Spires have entered the portal.

Lawler spent most of his time at BG as the kickoff specialist.  He won the FG job this year, and did a good job, making 11 of 16, including 2 key FGs in the Rocket win.  

He had one year left.  BG did have a kicker in the recruiting class announced in December.

Blaine Spires is also in the portal.  He played on the edge for BG, going for 390 snaps, down from over 600 the year before. He was in on 20 tackles and had one sack this year, but graded out at 64 on PFF.

The defense is a concern.  The DC is leaving and most of the losses have been on this side of the ball.  The offense is shaping up to have some serious potential.  I understand there is frenetic recruiting activity right now at Sebo, so stay tuned.  This is the world we live in.

Best of luck to Mason and Blaine.

Friday, January 13, 2023

MBB Preview: WMU

 BG heads to WMU tomorrow in a game they will really want to put into the win column...as will WMU.

The Broncos are the second-lowest ranked team in the MAC at #309 in kenpom, with only EMU lower and BG beat them by 26, also on the road.

For years, WMU had a consistent and successful MAC program under Steve Hawkins.  They made the NCAAs twice.  Then, they hit some transfer issues and were 8-24 in 18-19.  Hawkins lasted one more year before he was let go. It was COVID and the AD didn't feel right doing a coaching search, so she elevated Clayton Bates off the staff, and he was 13-39.  He was fired and Dwayne Stephens is in his first year after being an assistant for 19 years for MSU.

They were predicted to be 8th by the MAC and 10th by Blue Ribbon. They are 5-11 this year, but 2-11 in D1 games with wins over Houston Christian (#352) and EMU (#320). 5 of their 11 losses were to teams ranked over 200.  They are 1-2 in the MAC with a win over EMU (see above) and losses to Kent and UT, arguably the two best teams in the MAC.

BG has won 6 of the last 10 against WMU, and the last 3 in Kzoo.

The Broncos like a slower pace at 66 possessions a game.

What you expect with a record like WMU's is a negative point disparity, and you definitely see it here.  They are #231 in offense and #356 in defense, out of 367 teams.  They played the #126 ranked schedule non-conference.

Offensively, their only real strength is on the offensive boards....and they make 73% at the line, though they don't get there much.  They have poor shooting and turn the ball over too much.  They try a lot of 3FGs (#80 in the country), but they only make 31%.  They shoot 50% on 2FG which is just about average.

The defense is just astounding.  They do rebound well.  However they are #351 in defending the shot and #350 in forcing turnovers and they give up a lot of FTs, too.  They are #349 on 3FGs and #318 on 2FGs.  When your defense is poor in those first two categories, it is very hard to compete.  BG has scored on poor defense teams and we'll be looking to see the same tomorrow.

Individually, they are led by Lester Norman, who is scoring 17.5 PPG. He makes 53% on 2FGs, but shoots most of his shots from 3, where he is 36%, which is a lot for a high volume 3FG shooter.  Tray Maddox, who played at CSU-Fullerton and Oakland, scores 12 PPG on 56% and 28% shooting, with most of his shots coming from 3FG.  Markeese Hastings averages 10.3 RPG, #2 in the MAC. 

B. Artis White had off-season knee surgery and has yet to play this season.

BG Gets QB Transfer Commit

As urgent as urgent could be finally coming to fruition.  BG has a grad transfer QB coming in with two years of eligibility...Conner Bazelak, lately of Indiana and before that at Missouri.

He has played a lot of college football.  He's 6'4" and was a 4-star prospect out of Dayton and the #10 QB in the country. He went to Missouri and red-shirted after injuring his ACL early in his first start.  He came back the next year and had a big year, leading Missouri to a 5-3 record and being named co-SEC freshman of the year.

He had a second really good season at Missouri and then transferred to Indiana for last season.  It appeared that he had differences with Eli Drinkwater, Missouri's coach for the 2021 season. He went to Indiana, who lost Michael Penix and had a hole at QB. 

He did not have a great year at Indiana after a good start, finishing 14th in the conference in passing efficiency.

But those years at Missouri were really good....if he can pick that level of play up and limit the INTs, then he fills a badly needed hole in the BG lineup.

 Welcome to the Falcons, Conner!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

BG Adds Transfer and Commit for Football

BG has a new transfer and a new commit....

The transfer is from Arizona State...Armon Bethea.  He played G at Arizona State for two years.  He played two games as a FR on the o-line and even one game on defense in a bowl game in a shortage of players.

He is from Erasmus High in Brooklyn, NY.  In its previous incarnation, Erasmus Hall might have more famous graduates than any HS in the US, from Bobby Fisher to Neil Diamond to Barbra Streisand to Mae West.  As you can see in his tweet above, he's in a New York State of Mind.

He was highly recruited out of HS, including by BG.  He had a ton of P5 offers.  He is 6'5" and came to Arizona State at about 350, although this article says he lost 50 pounds with the Sun Devils.  He was a 3-star recruit and the number 6 player in the state of New York.

He will have 3 years of eligibility. He comes at a position of need for BG, who loses Jalen Grant and Jakari Robinson off the interior of the line.  If he comes and is able to play, he will feel a need--but just coming from a P5 program has not always meant you will step right into the line up.  He's certainly got the measurables...

BG also has a commit from the local area, Bryce DeFalco.  He was a star player for Eastwood, who have been in a really successful era of their program--this year they made the regional semis. He was second-team all-District (Division V) at RB and all-league, both twice. He had 1,000 yards last year, and over 3,000 career all-purpose yards.  He's a playmaker.

He played both ways for the Eagles and I think it will be interesting to see where he fits.  It might be on defense.  He's listed at 5'10" and 180 pounds.

Armon and Bryce...welcome to the Falcons.

Akron Delivers Gut Punch....Again

The Falcons MBB is playing better and competitively to date, and certainly better than during November and December.  They should have beaten Akron last night, but didn't.  But I don't think the team that lost at home to TN-Martin would have been expected to be even that competitive with a team in the top-tier of the conference.

Sadly, that team is Akron and BG lost.

BG led for 24 minutes.  BG easily outshot Akron.  BG played good defense much of the way...but it can come down to a few plays and it did.

The first was in the opening half. BG led by 9 coming out of the last media timeout. 

Elsasser got blocked in the paint and UA came down for a 2FG. (+7)

Akron went to a trap and some kind of odd-ball zone and it worked.  BG turned the ball over on the next three possessions and Akron got a 2FG, a 3FG and 2FTs off them.  BG called time.  From the block to the time out was 1:01 and UA had tied the game, which is how the half ended.

That's just 1 minutes of play but highly significant.  And it shows how resourceful Akron is and always has been.  They changed the face of the game.  Coach said after the game that they didn't do anything special, we just didn't handle it.  In which case, that's the difference between where we are now and where we have been trying to get.

Inside of two minutes, BG was down 1 at the end of the game.  BG gets a stop at 1:27.  They end up on the other end on a baseline in bound.  They're struggling and the ball is fed in and gets loose and Agee grabs it and a foul is called.

Sadly, Agee missed both FTs.  UA was on the other end running a play and Castenada slipped up by the right point (and not for the first time in the game, oddly).  Metheny gets a steal.  BG calls time with :28 to play.

BG has really only excelled in this situations when they could isolate Juice and let him put the defender on skates. I don't have stats, but I feel like we struggle on these last minute chalkboard plays.  And this was no different.  BG worked the ball and ended up with Ayers driving into the paint for a heavily contested shot that stayed on the rim for a while but fell away.

BG fouled Freeman.  He split his pair, leaving BG with life.  Another time out.  :07 to play.  Coach says the play was to find Metheny for the 3FG off a screen but he got tangled up so Curtis drove to the rim and missed another heavily contested shots.

So, look, UA wasn't great in the last minute.  But BG completely whiffed and that's how you lose games you should win.  It boiled down to 2 minutes at the end of each half.

You don't often lose a game with this kind of shooting disparity.  But BG had uncharacteristic turnovers and was terrible on the offensive glass (worst since 2016 against....Akron), and while FTAs were similair, BG was 8 of 13 and UA was 13 of 14, not missing until the final seconds.

Ayers led BG with 19 on 7 of 13 and 1 of 3 shooting, so an efficient game.  Metheny had 16 on 2 of 2 and 4 of 10 shooting, again, very efficient.  Added 6 rebounds and and 6 assists. Rashaun Agee had 11 on 3 of 6 and 1 of 1 shooting.  Mills had 9 and 6 boards on 3-4 shooting from 3FG. 

So BG falls to 2-1.  @WMU on Saturday, which is a game that we need to win.  This was a disappointing loss but we're competitive at this point, which is something to build on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Lewis heads to Navy

Things got a little more difficult for the BG football team, as it was announced that Eric Lewis has moved on to Navy.  He deserves it.  He's done a good job with our defense and I wish him nothing but the best.  Honestly, the defense has been the only part of the team that has punched above its weight, and with the losses out there we can use some help.

If I had to guess, Associate Head Coach and LB Coach Steve Morrison will be promoted to DC. He was DC for WMU in 2008-9.  But maybe I will be surprised.

Never a dull moment and nothing gets easier...

Monday, January 09, 2023

Zips Arrive in BG for MBB test

The always-tough Akron Zips are coming to town.  They are one of the three consistent programs in the MAC and made the NCAAs last year for the first time under John Groce.  They were 24-10 and lost in the first round.

They were picked #3 in the MAC this year.  They are 8-6 in D1 play...their 5 non-conference losses were all to top 100 teams, but their only decent win was over WKU on a neutral floor.  In MAC play,  they opened by beating NIU at the JAR and then lost in Muncie to a rising Ball State.  Their kenpom is 126, and BG is 245.

This is a good team.  They have played the MAC season without Xavier Castenada to date.  He was listed as game-time decision Saturday and from that, I would expect him to play tomorrow.

Of course, the BG track record with Akron is not good.  The Zips have won 7 of the last 10, which isn't great except for the Zips winning 25 of 26 before that.

The first battle will be over pace.  UA plays at 65 possessions per game, BG at 70.  The Zips are #303 in the nation in pace.

Akron is not a great offensive team. At 1.01 per possession, that's below the national average. The key is defense, as it usually is. They are a top 100 defense.  BG has been on a hot streak on offense, and that's going to be the key element.  Can BG score enough against a strong Zip defense that will try to keep them playing in the half court.

The Zips are respectable on all aspects of the offense except shooting.  They are above average on turnovers and at getting to the line and they rebound really well for a team controlling the pace.  

Shooting is the issue.  They try 41% 3FGAs, which is a lot.  They make only 32% on 3FGs and 47% on 2FGs, neither of which is very good.  They make 73% FTs which is above average.

Defensively, they do everything well.  They are hard to shoot against--especially on 2FG, where they are #52 in the nation--buy they are above average on turnovers and offensive rebounding and they do not give up FTs.

One weakness is defending the 3FG, which is #269.  Teams don't try 3FGs against them--only 31%, #23 in the country--but they have given 3s up.

Individually, Castenada is their leading scorer and #2 in the MAC at 19.5 PPG.  He has missed the last 2 games. He's not especially efficient, shooting 39% on 2FG....but he makes 40% on 3FGs. He leads the MAC in 3FG per game.  He also leads the team with 39 assists.

Enrique Freeman is their only other double figure scorer at 14.3.  He's a double-double average, with 10.6 RPG (#1 in MAC).  He shoots 58% on almost all 2FGs and was all-MAC second team last year.  He has 33 assists and 35 turnovers.  

There are no other double-figure scorers, but they do have Trendon Hankerson, NIU transfer, at 9 PPG.

This is a good test. BG has been playing well, but here's a top-3 team in the MAC who has traditionally given BG fits.  I have liked what I saw the last two games and I hope we get a nice crowd tomorrow and BG continues to show growth on the court with their new lineup and a cohesive team.

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Anders returning to BG

This is certainly helpful to the Falcons on defense.  Jordan Anderson is heading to UCLA and JB Brown is on his way to Kansas....Anders has been a warrior for BG and we will be glad to have him back in orange and brown. 

Falcon MBB Wins 2nd straight MAC game

Saturday at the Stroh, BG came up with their second straight MAC win and their best game of the season, defeating the OU Bobcats by 9 in a highly entertaining and competitive game.

BG had the best of the play, most of the way.  The Falcons led for 13 minutes in the first half, with OU only leading for about 4 minutes.  There were 7 lead changes, but BG was setting the pace and led by 4 at the half--a result we would be happy with the whole way.

BG came out of the locker room strong and stretched the lead to 13 with 15 to play.  OU was never going to go easy.  They brought Wilson back in and went to a zone and things stabilized and they went on a 16-13 run to tie the game with 11 minutes left.  The Bobcats eventually took the lead with 8 minutes left and led (with one short exception) until the 4-minute media timeout.

At this point, as a BG fan, you have to be nervous.  We don't have a great track record in situations like that--it's not universally bad, but it always feels like a struggle.

All that to say that BG did the job Saturday.  They outscored OU 17-7 coming home, turning a 72-71 deficit into an 88-79 victory.   The run started with 3FGs on consecutive possessions from Metheny....which turned out to be decisive.  The dagger came with a minute left.  OU had cut it to 5 and BG needed a basket.  Rashaun Agree drove into the paint and fired the ball and the front of the rim with such force that it climbed over and into the basket.

From there, FTs did the job and get won by 9.  Highly satisfying game in front of a decent crowd at the Stroh.

BG scored 1.24 points per possession, their second straight strong offensive game. Importantly, this one came with OU working very hard to take Leon Ayers out of the game.  They did that (more or less), but BG still was able to have a big offensive game.  That's important as we see if this can turn into something.

The game was at 71 possessions, a BG-friendly pace.  BG shot 37% from 3FG, in what seems to be a good number for us.  BG made 53% on 2FGs and 44% on 3FG.  BG also took excellent care of the ball--their turnover rate was the lowest in a couple seasons.  The rebounding battle was lost decisively, but free throws were even.

On defense, BG didn't have a great game.  They allowed 1.11 points per possession, which is normally a losing number.  OU shot the 3FG really well at 48% but BG did a really good job on the 2FG, holding OU to 43%.  Combine that with the turnover advantage and there's your victory.  Not a great defensive night, but good enough to win a game and provide BG with their best performance of the season.

Individually, Kaden Matheny continues to be a sparkplug.  It's hard to overstate how much he struggled early in the year, coming off an injury where he missed almost all of last year.  He was just spectacular.  He scored 25 points on 4 of 8 2FG shooting and 5-9 3FG shooting and added 3 steals. He's settling in and is making a huge difference in the improvement in the team, especially as opponents lock down on Ayers.

BG seems to have found something with their new lineup.  Starting Mills is providing them with a defensive presence, and they are now bringing Agee and Curtis off the bench. It's an interesting approach and everyone seems bought in.  I have not seen a bench like this in a long time--actually chanting defense in the second half.

Agee had 16 points on 7 of 10 shooting, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks in 17 minutes.  I don't know how long it's sustainable to limit his minutes like this, but he is doing 30 minutes of work in 17 minutes.

Ayers had a rough 13 points and 4 assists.  Sam Towns double-doubled against his former team.  Curtis had 8 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in 26 minutes.  

Brenton Mills, in addition to playing great D, was 3-4 from 3FG, which is a real contribution.  He came to BG as a 3FG sharpshooter and if he gets in that mode again, we get better.  But the defense helps on its own.

It is as optimistic as I have been since we were 5-0 in the COVID year.  Long way to go...it's cautious optimism...but I think Metheny has his groove back (and some) and we have found a rotation that seems to be working.  It's conference play, so you're only as good as the last game....and it is the Zips at BG on Tuesday.

Friday, January 06, 2023

Bobcats Arrive in BG....MBB....

So game 2 of the MAC season coming up, should be a bigger challenge than the first.

Its the OU Bobcats.  They are really one of the more consistent basketball powers in the MAC over the years.  For a long time, they and Miami were the powers and you'd go down there and the Convo would be absolutely rocking.  John Groce got them to the sweet 16...left...Jim Christian was 49-22 over two years, left...Saul Phillips had 2 20-win seasons, left...and then Jeff Boals came in.  Boals won a game in the 2021 tourney and was 25-10 last year...with a 13-2 MAC record before losing 4-5 going home.

This year is looking to be a little tougher.  Jason Carter graduated (and was ejected from his last game at the Stroh), and Ben Vander Plas and Mark Sears disappeared into the portal.  They returned only 6 scholarship players and no double-figure scorers. They did get Dwight Wilson back...and some transfers...and were picked 6th in the MAC.

They are 7-6 and 0-1.  Their best win was @ a decent Youngstown State team, and they have a loss @ Detroit that doesn't look good.  Their kenpom is 155 and they played the #186 non-conference schedule.

They lost @ UB on Tuesday, so a lot of bus time this week.

The two teams split last year, but BG has won 4 of the last 5 and the last 4 at the Stroh.

OU comes in playing a slightly slower tempo than BG.  They are an efficient offensive team, in the top 100 of the nation, despite losing all their scorers.  They are not good on defense, but a little better than BG.  So summary...they are better than BG both ways but only by a little.  Mostly, things are close.

OU gets their efficient offense in an interesting way.  They shoot slightly above average, but they take good care of the ball and they are #76 in offensive rebounding. BG has been good on the defensive boards, (though not in the last game) and that will be a matchup.  They do not get to the line much at all although they make 73% when they do.

They try a below-average number of 3FGAs, but make 36% when they do, which is #87 in the country.  They make only 49% on 2FGs, which includes Dwight Wilson, who is #3 in the MAC, so others must be relatively poor.  

On the other side, things are about as equal as they can be.  BG's offense produces almost exactly what OU's defense allows.  OU defends the shot well, especially the 2FG.  They don't force turnovers, aren't great on the boards and don't give up FTs.

Their leading player is Dwight Wilson III.  You may recall Wilson was 3rd-team all-MAC the year before last and then missed all of last year with a knee injury.  He's a 6'8" big body, scoring 13 PPG, adding 9.1 rebounds and shooting 56%.  He's #2 in rebounds and #3 in FG%. 

They also offer freshman AJ Brown, from Orlando, a 6'4 G scoring 11.4 PPG on 49% 2FG shooting and 44% 3FG shooting.  He moved into the starting lineup 4 games ago.

Miles Brown is scoring 10.8 PPG on 40% and 51% shooting.  He is a 6'1" G and a senior who played his whole career at OU and is over 10 PPG for the first time in his career.

Jaylin Hunter (6'0 JR) and AJ Clayton (6'8" So) also score about 9 a game.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

BG MBB opens with big win

 Well, after a rough off-season, BG started off the season the right way, with a 7th straight win over EMU.  It's a step in the right direction...obviously lots more to prove.  EMU really is a mess...but it was on the road and BG did win by a big margin.  Kenpom had EMU slightly favored.  So, even with EMU's issues, it was worth noting.

BG never trailed and led for all but 35 seconds.  The first half was competitive....BG led by 4 with 6 minutes left.  BG went on a modest 16-9 run to close the half out with a double-digit lead.  It never got closer than 8 from there on in and was over 20 for the last 5 minutes.

BG is focusing on being over 90 for three straight games as if two of those weren't non-D1 games.

It was BG's biggest win in a MAC since a COVID-era beatdown of CMU at McGuirk.

The game was played at 73 possessions, preferred by both teams. As Todd Walker noted, BG ended up with -17 at the line....almost impossible to imagine winning when you are -17 at the line, much less by 26.

Remember, EMU came in shooting right at the NCAA average.  They shot 36% from 2FG and 13% from 3FG for an EFG% of 31%.  That's the worst a team has shot against BG since a Cleveland State game right before Christmas, 2015.

Of course, was it terrible offense, poor shooting night, or good defense.  From what I saw, I felt like BG played their best defensive game of the year.  Coach said they talked a lot about it, and I hope we can see a reset starting in MAC play.  It would make a significant difference....we play much better off a missed shot.

To wit, BG shot 60%....their best shooting this year and only bested once last season.


BG put five guys in double figures.  Leon Ayers had 24 points, with on 9 of 13 2FG shooting and 1 of 4 3FGs.  That's a highly efficient night.  Chandler Turner had a big night as well...double-double, 14 and 10....shot 4 of 7 and 2 of 3. Rashaun Agee had 14 as well, in 17 minutes.  He made 6 of 7 and 0 of 1 and added 4 boards and 5 blocked shots. Kaden Metheny seems to be coming into form....11 points, 3 of 6 from 3FG and 6 assists over 1 turnover. Curtis also had 11 on 2 of 3 and 1 of 3 shooting, with 7 assists over 2 turnovers.  In case you missed it, he has made 32 straight FTs.

Love seeing our guards play efficiently without chucking up tons of shots.

Sam Towns also had 7 boards in 18 minutes. 

Of course, the big name is Emoni Bates.  He shot 2 of 10 and 0-4...but made 11 of 14 FTs to end with 15 points in 35 minutes.  His two best games this year....Michigan and South Carolina.

So here we go.  OU in Saturday.  Off to a good start with a big win over a struggling team.  OU is better, let's see how that plays out.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Portal Update

 OK, so a lot of stuff flying on the web about BG and the portal.  Specifically, the idea that BG is losing 15 players to the portal....which is true, but also not an accurate picture.

Since I last posted, Jalen Grant has entered the portal.  This is a significant loss in terms of snaps.  He essentially started every game for BG and is a guy who we recruited out of HS.  At guard, PFF had him as the #6 pass blocker and the #9 run blocker in the conference.  He led all MAC linemen in penalties. (Note, he did play some center too).  (Second, note.  Warner was second in penalties.)

Now, let's get to the 15 players in the portal.  Look, I'm not saying this situation is good, but within the 15 are Owen Rozanc, a kicker we never used, Justin Shiets who hadn't played in a year, walk-ons Kellen Adler and Leiris Manzi, long snapper Dominic Konopka, and Marcelo Mendiola, who quit the team before the first game of the season.

The real number is 9 in the portal, to date.  Again, that's not good, but it's not 15.

It is certainly very frustrating.  But it is how this works now.  Take Broden.  He has offers from all kinds of P5 schools and is going to get paid (I would imagine).  We have nothing to offer in return and I don't think having a new coach would have made a difference. Many of you feel differently.  I get it.

If it feels like we are just going to be a farm system, I worry about that, too.  Here is what the new AD said:


No, it is not going to be easy.  I'm reminded of Moneyball:  The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

Not claiming we have Billy Beane hanging around.

To me, football has continued to morph into two classes.  This has been going on since BG was first pushed into I-AA (briefly) in the 70s. Going to FCS is not an option unless we leave the MAC or the entire MAC goes.  You're not going to see that.  

It's discouraging enough without people screaming about 15 people in the portal.

First step....get out there and get better players who want to come to BG and develop.

Monday, January 02, 2023

MBB Preview: EMU Lid-lifter

And so we switch to Men's Basketball, which has not been a very rewarding pursuit this year, either.  Perhaps they will turn things around...we can hope.  Nothing has been seen in that regard yet.

EMU is the first opponent, up at Gervin Arena in Ypsi.  The Eagles were picked 7th in the official MAC poll but have been nowhere near that since the season started.  Of course, they made the biggest news in the MAC by landing Emoni Bates, the one-time #1 recruit in the country.  And while Bates is leading the MAC in scoring, he hasn't been that much of a true difference maker.

EMU is 2-10 in D1 play against an average non-conference schedule.  They won @FIU (260) and Detroit Mercy (215).  They only lost to UM by 5, but have 5 losses to teams with a kenpom over 250 or so.  Their current kenpom is 302....11th in the MAC.

EMU is reasonably effective on offense--actually a little bit better than BG.  However, their defense has been terrible, even worse than BG's.  That's ranked #348 out of 363.  

Both teams like to play fast, with EMU over 71 possessions a game.

Let's start with the first one.  EMU is an average shooting team.  Their mix is very 2FG-focused but they only make 49% of 2FGs. They are actually really good at the 3FG's they do take (26%) which is common among teams that are selective.  They take excellent care of the ball....a good combination with decent shooting, but they don't do much on the boards and they don't get to the line much, although they make 34% when they do.

The biggest issue is FG defense.  They are #355 out of 363.  (In the MAC, Miami is worse). They allow 60% on 2FGs against them, which is fourth-worst in the country.  The 3FG defense is 34.4%, which is about a point below average.  They combine being easy to shoot against with not forcing turnovers, being poor on the boards and giving up a ton of FTs.

As you can see below, the question will be whether BG--the nation;'s 293 shooting team--is capable of taking advantage. BG has been good from the line, if that comes into play.

As mentioned, Emoni Bates is averaging 20.8 PPG. He takes 31% of their shots, making 52% from 2FG and 39% from 3FG.  He adds 5.8 RPG (team high) but a 1:2 A/TO ratio.

Noah Farrakhan averages 13 PPG but he is way less efficient, at 41% and 31%.  He adds 4 RPG and 36 assists with 33 turnovers. Tyson Acuff, a 6'4" transfer from Duquesne.  He shoots 57% and 28% and has 36 assists over 20 TOs and 16 steals. I also mention Legend Geeter, a Providence transfer, who has 16 steals but I mostly like to mention his name.

So, on paper this is a game BG should win.  It is on the road....by ranking, it would be BG's worst loss o the season.  EMU is in the pack of six fighting for two tournament spots and if BG has designs to change the narrative, this is one they need.

Football Personnel: One In, Several Out

2023 did not start out in a great fashion for the Bowling Green football team, as key contributors used the New Year to announce they were entering the portal.

They included:

  • Jordan Anderson, All-MAC Safety
  • Ty Broden, deep threat, 74 career receptions and 12 career touchdowns for BG.  Syracuse and Pitt reportedly offered already.
  • Darren Anders, All-MAC LB
  • Jeremiah Banks-Wall....made 11 starts on the troubled 2021 line, and once the line was tooled made one start in 2022,  Gave up 5 pressures at UT game.
Others from the days leading up to that...
  • JB Brown, 53 tackes, forced three fumbles this year
  • Justin Shiets, LB, played in no games this.

Just a personal note....all of these guys played with us through our roughest years, especially the first four. Man, Anders was just a warrior on some really bad defenses.  Same with Anderson.  As they leave, that needs to be recognized.  They were here for the worst time in our program's history, and I thank them for it.  Yes, they are leaving, not seeing it through to the end, whatever....this is the way things work now.  Once everyone saw the coaches didn't have to see things through, you couldn't make the players do it.  It's likely at least three of these guys could be paid next year.

The defense has been hit especially hard.  Brooks, Taylor, Bacon, Brand, Ferguson and Haire will not be back...and Sheppard left as well.

BG did get one commitment for the '23 class.  His name is Chris Edmonds, from Toledo Central Catholic.   

Those are some eye-popping numbers for a really good program.  As far as I could see on his Twitter feed, he had no D1 offers.  He's 5'10 and 180....Keith is 5'10" and 195.  Seems to me you can find a way to play a guy like that.  I have no idea if he is a scholarship player or a PWO.

Welcome to the Falcons, Chris.  And all the best to the departing players.  This is going to be crazy.  You are going to see guys coming in and going out (I fear) in the coming weeks.