Sunday, December 31, 2023

More from the Portal

 More news from the football portal.

Ja'Corey Benjamin will be coming in. He's the 2nd DB to come in from the portal.  BG has lost 5 DBs off the depth chart from the end of the year.

He was a 2-3 star recruit out of Houston.  He had no FBS offers and went to Texas Southern. He played four years there, one was the COVID year (they played in the Spring).  Another year he played less than four games, so I would say he has two years, but I almost always get these things wrong.

He played 22 games. He had 84 tackles, 4 INT and 14 passes defended. Interestingly, his PFF grades went up every year.  He was at 73 for coverage and 87 for run defense for last season.  In today's world, guys who can play that hybrid style are really valuable.

BG has also landed Zach Long, a kicker from Troy. He was a kickoff specialist there and I would expect the same at BG, with Jack Sauder in the portal.  In two seasons, he had 112 kickoffs and 70 touchbacks with 12 more fair catches.  His kickoff grade was 84.

Welcome to the Falcons, Zach and Ja'Corey.

Davion Daniels has also entered the portal.  He was on the depth chart, played 92 snaps.  He has signed at Slippery Rock.

The portal closes for the winter in a couple of days.

Pre-MAC Wrap Up

MBB conference play starts on Tuesday.  With the exception of one more Sun Belt game, we are done outside the conference. 

What have we learned?

Not that much.

The most remarkable part of the pre-MAC season was how unremarkable it was.  When we started, there were three groups in the MAC.  

The 4 traditional top teams:  OU, UT, UA and Kent.

The middle teams:  BG, BS, UB, MU, NI

The sub-300 teams:  EMU, CMU, and WMU.

And after all those games, the only thing that changed was UB went from the middle to the very bottom.  They are off to a dreadful start with no D1 wins.

There were also no big upsets or wins.  Here is the MACs composite record against the four quadrants the selection committee uses.

0-21 in Q1 games

1-16 in Q2 games

15-20 in Q3 games

45-12 in Q4 games

So, 1-37 in Q1 and Q2 games.  Not surprisingly, the MAC has fallen to #21 in kenpom, from #19 at the end of last season.

Here are the standings based on kenpom rankings

The question, short-term and long-term, is which of the "other 8" can insert themselves into the conversation on a year-in and year-out basis, as the top four have.

For our Falcons, it certainly looks optimistic.  We played the weakest schedule in the MAC on purpose.  We wanted to let our guys get settled with some wins.  For the opposite approach, I give you UB.  There may have been a middle ground.   I think a reasonable goal for us is to return to Cleveland, and we should ne able to do that.  Breaking into the top 4 would be a great first season.

We shall see.

Other notes:

Kent owns the 2nd most improbable loss in D1 this year.  They were up 5 on James Madison with :03 and lost in double overtime.  Flashes were 99.6% to win.

Miami has the 4th most improbable outcome, this one a win.  They were down 4 to Vermont with :13 to play. They won, with a .07% chance.

CMU's win over South Florida is the #12 upset to date, though South Florida has not turned out to be as strong as expected.

AJ Brown was all-FR last year for OU and is out for the year.  Keshawn Williams was expected back for NIU, but he has only played in 1 game.

Tyson Acuff leads the MAC with 23 PPG.  He's #5 in the nation.  Marcus Hill is #2 at 19.3 PPG.  If Acuff plays, those two will face off on Tuesday.

Enrique Freeman leads with MAC and the nation with 13.4 RPG.  He's also #6 in scoring and the early leader for POY.  Agee is #4 at 8.1 RPG--especially good because he doesn't always play huge minutes.

Agee is also #4 in FG%. 

Jaylin Hunter leads the MAC with 5 APG. BG has no one above 2.2 (Hill).  BG is #340 in the nation in the number of FGs which had an assist.

On we go.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Football: Year in Review

Well, it is over.  It always goes so fast.  Seems like two minutes ago we were gnashing our teeth while we threw all those picks to Liberty and then we are gnashing out teeth over the bowl game...I kid, of course.

This is year five of the Loeffler program. It has been a long road. He promised us a five-year plan to be in championship contention.  We are not there, to be sure.  But we have come a long way. No doubt, the correct path is to stay with the program.

BG had an incredibly tough schedule this year.  Our financial position puts us twice in P5 stadiums every year, and this year the MAC nestled our two toughest MAC games into that part of the schedule.'

BG salvaged the early part of the season with the Georgia Tech upset and then cruised through the easier part of the schedule to finish 7-5 and 7-6 with the bowl loss.

I think that with the recency bias of finishing with those wins, it's easy to forget that OU beat us 38-7 and Miami beat us 27-0.  The OU game was an embarrassment.

With one exception, we beat the teams we were supposed to beat and lost to the teams we were supposed to lose to.  

So, no one thinks the job is finished.  To make the next climb, BG needs to beat the top teams in the MAC and do more than feast on the weaker teams, especially as the division schedule goes away. The program has moved from terrible to decent....going from here to great is also tough, maybe tougher.

I'm glad we were patient.  Future success will continue to be a test and the MAC's new set-up is an additional hurdle.

Last year, I noted that despite being 5-3 in the MAC, BG finished -55 in point differential in MAC games...worst in the MAC.  You don't usually see that.  Teams consistently set up to win don't show that.

BG turned that around this year.  While finishing with the same MAC record, BG was +35.  The 90 point improvement was 3rd in the MAC behind NIU and Miami.  (NIU is also rebuilding).

It was a step toward sustainability.

A few things on the season as a whole:


BG was 3rd in scoring offense but 5th in yards per play and 7th in yards per game.  We were outgained by 8 yards a game.  When you see an imbalance like that, it is usually because the offense is either getting turnovers or doing very well on 3rd down or in the red zone.  In this case, we know the answer.  BG was 8th on 3rd down and 5th in the redzone.  BG excelled at turnovers.  

We were +9 for all games, which was 2nd in the MAC (OU was +10).  In 8 MAC games, BG was +7. 

A couple points.

I have nothing against turnovers.  No one does. I hope we go +7 next year.  Or more.  Phil Steele tells us that historically it's not a sustainable way to win.  Since 1990, 72% of the teams with a turnover margin in this range have the same or worse record the next season.  No, it's not 100% but it shows that there is an element of luck in turnovers and therefore is hard to replicate.  I would point you to USC's +22 last year and their performance this year.

The point is that it can paper over weaknesses in your offense.  Despite being 3rd in the MAC in scoring, BG does not have a championship-level offense.  We were 5th in the MAC in yards per carry, gaining a full yard over the year before.  That's significant. The passing was also decent...BG was #4 in pass efficiency.  Of course, we played part of the conference season without Terrion Stewart...a fully healthy back changes everything.

I don't think any sentence about our team starts without the idea of having Terrion Stewart healthy for the full season.  He's truly a special player and would become the center point of our offense.  As we look to move the offense into high gear, it starts with him.  We will need a clear #2. Keith is gone.  We have Patterson and Johnson.  Coach mentioned incoming is possible for Nakai Amachree to play that role, too.

Other than that, what was the issue?  First, pass protection.  BG gave up sacks on 8.8% of its passing attempts, which is well below average. PFF had BG with the 11th-ranked pass blocking in the MAC.  Other measures were not so bad.  Bazelak was pressured on 31% of his drops, which is in the middle of the MAC pack.  Teams below us...Toledo, Miami, OU and NIU.

This is not all on the oline.  I think BG had a lack of healthy WRs able to get separation.  We also helped to keep pressures down with playcalling.  Our average depth of target was among the lower in the MAC and way lower when we kept Bazelak clean.

Last thing.  On the QB.  Coach is clearly planning to keep this duo in place for next year.  At his presser, Coach said that they might go into the portal for a guy between Bazelak and Anderson, but it wasn't certain.  And, we didn't get a HS QB in the class.  Bazelak finished 6th in the MAC in passing efficiency.  PFF graded him #11.  Their grades do show him improving later in the year--admittedly against weaker opposition.  The first half against UT, he was unstoppable.  

I think he can be effective when we have a complete offensive package.  Stewart for 12 games, improved healthy WRs and better protection.  Regardless, all indications are he will be under center next year.

Offensive Line

Having said that, the line needs to get better.  As mentioned, BG was #11 in pass blocking and #8 in run blocking.  It's no coincidence that our lead back is the most elusive back in the nation (PFF).  He needs to be.  We need a line that gets us that one first down to beat Toledo (and yes, we were down to backups at QB and RB).  Like most of the team, our oline has gone from dreadful to decent, maybe slightly below. Hopefully, we will see the next step after another year of development.  We are active in the portal with lineman.  Also, we are in dire need of healthy WRs to get separation.


The defense is kind of the opposite story.  We were #7 in points allowed per game...just a tick behind Toledo.  You can win at that level. BG was #4 in yards per play allowed. #4 in yards per rush allowed and #4 in pass efficiency defense. So, that's interesting, too.  BG is good on all the marginal stats, gets all those turnovers and still gives up more points than you would expect. BG was 11th on third down and had a poor red zone record, but only gave up 16 red zone trips, so it didn't matter that much.

BG's defense thrived on getting pressure. BG was 3rd in sacks.  BG got sacks on 9% of opponent passing attempts, which is really strong.  BG also was ranked 3rd in pass rush in PFF.  Furthermore, they had the top pass coverage grade in the conference.

In short, the defense has really taken steps forward and not only played well on its own but created many of the offense's scoring opportunities.

And this was without its best player, Demetrious Hardamon, after the Michigan game.  Not a bad year at all. 

Hardamon and Trent Simms are expected back.  However, as you can see below on the depth chart, the team has lost players to the portal, including Howell and Huskey, two standout players.  This is the world that we live in.

Special Teams

Special teams were on balance a contributor.  BG made big plays--two blocked punts and a blocked FG.  We need them.  They actually add to that turnover count. The net punting was ranked in the middle of the conference...with shorter kicks but almost no returns. BG switched punters mid-stream and they got roughly the same numbers.  BG had 2-3 game altering returns and from my count, gave up 1.


One last note.  The Liberty game, in retrospect, is a real tragedy. We played so poorly in the first half.  I just felt like if we were playing our best game, we had a shot at those guys, and they obviously had an amazing season.

Look, it took a long time.  It sucked. It's a lot more fun to win.  The switch to pods will be significant.  It isn't going to get will have to be the 2nd best team to make Detroit. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Defeat in the D

So, things didn't go how we hoped up in Detroit.  I will do a season wrap-up.  We're certainly improved but we are not where we hoped to be.  There are absolute reasons for optimism, but optimism and achievement are not the same thing. Coach said the same thing in his presser.  We have one or two more steps to go until we turn the dress rehearsals at Ford Field into premiering for the big use the metaphor Coach used to the team.

Again, reasons for optimism but getting the rest of the way there is not written in stone.

None of this really has anything to do with the game yesterday.  I thought we put out a quality effort that just came up short.  These bowl games are crazy.  Both teams had multiple players out...BG played 3 guys who are in the portal, amazingly was a nice commercial for Howell, to be sure.

Anyway, when it came down to it, Fleck was smart enough to forget everything else, swallow his pride and just run over us with his superior line and not try to overthink it.  And you can see it worked. They completed only 8 passes for a net of 26 yards.  And one INT.

So, you might say, how can you not stop a one-dimensional team?  The answer is that fans tend to put too much stock in the element of surprise.  When you are evenly matched, of course it is beneficial to confidently load the box or drop 8...but in this case, Minnesota had just too much size up front for us to defend, along with a fresh, quality runner.  Remember, nobody wondered what play Woody Hayes was calling.

Our guys on the line battled hard.  They were also short-handed, with Chace Davis out and Roberts and Saad playing single-digit snaps.  It was just more than we could handle.

The game plan on offense was to pass the ball, which is not our normal program.  Coach said he thought coming in that we were not going to be able to run the ball with our backs and and OL against their D-line.  Except for Bazelak, no Falcon carried more than 3 times.

So, BG went to their air, where they liked some matchups.  First, we learned what a tragedy it was that Hilaire was not healthy over the course of the year. He was just terrific.  Bazelak had a good game, but he was pressured on 18 of 43 dropbacks.  For the season as whole, he was pressured on 32%.  He was sacked 3 times.

BG went 7 drives without a TD after a successful opening drive.  I'm not sure we have the team to sustain drives on passing alone. One was a stall-out in Minnesota territory, one was a disastrous attempt in Orthmode, one was derailed by a sack and a pre-snap penalty...and then we hit the real killer.

With about 2 minutes to play in the half, BG got a pick and was on the Minnesota 15 and the Gophers up 9-7.  This is a huge opportunity heading into the half, but BG did nothing, losing 5 yards on 3 pass plays.  You rise to the occasion there, it's a different game. A FG gave them the lead, but Fleck cited that as a turning point in the game.

There were a couple of others.

We had called a screen to Fannin and he was out in the left flat and had green grass to the end zone.  Minnesota had called a corner blitz called and just tipped the pass.

There was a play coach said he should have checked out of that he didn't that cost us.

And there was a dreadful DPI call on a 2nd and 13 when Minnesota was only up 6...and they scored two plays later.

Coach said we also needed one big special teams play, but the only one came from Minnesota.

I know Minnesota had a losing record.  I get it.  But the way this stacked up, I feel like it was a quality effort, if not upset-worthy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Falcons Land WR Portal from Auburn

 This one could be significant.

Malcolm Johnson, Jr. is transferring to BG from Auburn.  He was a big-time HS recruit from Alexandria, VA. 4-stars and everything.  Out of HS, he would have been the top player ever to come to can see his offers here.

He never caught on there and is one of 5 WRs from Auburn in the portal.  This is from Auburn Wire:

Johnson never became a consistent member of the receiver rotation, as he made just 14 catches for 199 yards and three touchdowns in three seasons on the Plains. The 2023 season was his best, as he recorded 89 yards on six catches. He appeared in five games in 2023, and his most productive game was in Auburn’s season-opening win over UMass, where he caught two passes for 59 yards.

I think he probably sees an opportunity here.  He walks in as the #1 WR and has a chance to show what we can do in an offense where he will be featured and where Fannin will be drawing coverage.

As a reminder to Falcon fans, (and Ohio State fans), actual games are played by people on a field and not on a faux-rating scale on your computer. Also, sometimes athletes have peaked at 18.  And there's Harold Fannin, who had no stars.

Just a reminder that this has happened before and the players have not turned out. I think sometimes they think they just have to show up at a lower level. I hope he is ready to go--he clearly has shown the skills.  And he would fill a huge position of need.

Welcome to the Falcons, Malcolm.

Go Falcons. Beat Minnesota!


Saturday, December 23, 2023

Portal News 12/23

So, Cashius Howell has entered the portal and presumably will not play on Tuesday.  This is a tough loss.  He led the MAC in sacks and Falcon fans were drooling over a Hardamon/Howell pincer attack next season. It would appear not to be.  Sometimes guys come back.  I do think Howell will end up in a P5 program.  Wish him nothing but the best.

BG added one player in the portal. He is Ed Rhambo from Northern Arizona. He has three years of eligibility remaining and is 6'2" and 190. As far as I can see, he was unrated out of HS.  His NAU bio says this: "Finished with 5 passes defended and 4 interceptions during the 2021 season, adding 14 tackles."

He red-shirted his first season.  Last year, he played quite a bit, with 369 snaps in 7 games.  He was really effective, with a PFF grade of 70.8 on run defense and pass coverage of 79.5.  The QB rating when targeting his WR was 48.  He had 1 INT and 5 PBUs.  You have to see if it will translate, but I think it looks promising.

Here's the way it looks for next year right now....

License to Kill....Gophers

The Motor City Bowl will wrap up the BG season.  Our opponent will be the Gophers of Minnesota

This is part of the wild world that is college sports...and one that will apparently just get wilder.

So you play a bowl game.  One of the teams has a losing record--the only team with a losing record in a bowl game.  Both have lost players since the last game of the regular season.  It is, in some ways, a whole new start.  No point in doing the whole scouting thing given that.  So let's just hit some high points.

The Series is Tied 2-2

BG has lost twice to Minnesota, once in the Ankney era and once at the Doyt under Gregg Brandon.  BG won under Brandon in Minnesota (think Sheehan to Barnes in the corner for a winning 2-pt) and then in Loeffler's 3rd year with a win that is as improbable as any win we've ever had.

Different Trajectories

BG comes into the game having won 5 of its last 6, while Minnesota lost its last 4...Illinois. Purdue, OSU and Wisconsin for the bloody ax or some shit.

Tell-Tale Opponents

Minnesota beat EMU 25-6 and lost to UM 52-10, a 17-point worse margin of victory against Michigan than BG had.

Terion Stewart

Coach said he was a game-time decision, which is what he always says.  He went on to talk about Patterson, Johnson and Wimberly carrying the load.  I don't expect Stewart to play, and of course, Keith is in the portal.

Gopher QB

The Gophers had to scramble to have a QB.  They had 3 scholarship QBs on the roster and two of them went into the portal.  Cole Kramer had decided he was going to skip the whole affair and move to Arizona to a house he owns and start his life.  Word is the Gophers paid him $30,000 in NIL to make one last appearance.

He played only 6 snaps this year.  This is his first start and he was the wildcat QB in 2021.

Four Gophers All-Big Ten

First team 
Tyler Nubin, DB
Dragan Kesich, K.  (Special Teams Player of the year).

WR : Daniel Jackson, Minnesota
OT : Aireontae Ersery, Minnesota

Fleck Is Minnesota-Successful

We all like to joke about Fleck.  Doesn't seem to bother him.  He puts himself out there.  It is an elite thing to do.  And we know what he did at WMU.  In 7 years at Minnesota, he has won 59% of his games, the best winning percentage for a Minnesota coach since Bernie Bierman, who coached on both sides of World War II.

Fleck threw an INT in the Gameday game at the Doyt.

Running Gophers

They run the ball on 61% of their plays.  I'd expect to see that even more.  However, they averaged only 3.9 yards per carry.  The good news is that the portal-holes in the d-backfield may not make too big a difference.

Healthy again?

Both teams should be healthy again.  This will also make it interesting.  I'm especially looking forward to seeing a healthy Hilaire running around one last time for the Falcons.  Would also love to see the Bazelak from the first half of the Toledo game.


As of the weekend, Minnesota is favored by 3.5, which has been bet down from a 5.5 open. ESPN gives the Gophers a 60% chance of winning.

I'm looking forward to it.  I'd like us to finish strong, 8 wins would be great and there are no insignificant wins over Big 10 teams when you are in the MAC.

That's all she wrote.

Friday, December 22, 2023

BG beats Siena Heights

The Falcons MBB team has one thing for sure...they can go LONG stretches of time where it seems absolutely impossible to put the ball into the basket.

Southern Indiana.  The first 30 minutes against Hampton.  And the first 30 minutes at the Stroh against Siena Heights.  Right now, this is shaping up as the team's biggest hole.  At the same time, they have yet to play at full strength...but it will be difficult to beat MAC teams with droughts we saw in the last couple games.

Certainly, we are never sorry to win, which BG did 79-58.  Further, BG played with Humphrey, Towns, Philip, Smith and Felt on the bench.  So, shorthanded to be sure.  Even so, Siena Heights led the game for 17:39...BG for 17:36.  BG trailed at halftime.

At halftime, BG was 6 of 18 from 2FG and 3 of 10 from 3FG.  They rallied in the second half to shoot 56% and 40% from 3FG.

At least four MAC teams have had trouble this week.  I think everyone is looking forward to a break and it can make it difficult to get started.

So BG ends pre-MAC play at 9-3 with a 7-game winning streak, the nation's 8th longest active streak.

It is the best BG has been on Christmas Day since 2004-05.  That was the Reimold/Almondson team that coughed up a division title last in the season.  The last competitive Dakich team here.

So, here's the thing.  As everyone noted when the schedule came out, BG felt that given the turnover in players that it was better to play a relatively easy schedule.  This is what they did.  Out of 362 D1 teams, BG has played the 346th ranked schedule, and that only counts the D1 games and doesn't include the 2 non-D1 wins.

The good news is that BG did at least win those games.  Their losses are to Oakland (149), Bellarmine (260) and WKU (155).  Their best win is Lipscomb (153).  Just for reference, Oakland, WKU and Lipscomb are ranked about where OU and UT are.

There's a  long break now.  BG plays next on 1/2.  Hopefully, BG is getting healthy as the games are getting tougher.  BG's kenpom would put them 5th in the MAC right now...and with a projected 10-8 record a good shot to get back to Cleveland, a first step in getting this thing going.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Fannin Will Be Back

Well now, there you go.  Welcome back, Harold.  I mean, he didn't actually leave, but we are thrilled to have him back anyway.

As Coach said, the portal is not over.  He expects we could lose 1-2 more guys and we will be looking to fill some holes.  You'd think a RB and a WR would be good fits, and we have some holes in the d-backfield.

Here is how we look....

Siena Heights Preview

BG will finish up the 2023 portion of their schedule tomorrow against Siena Heights, the Saints.  Siena Heights is in Adrian and plays in the NAIA.

BG has never played the Saints.

They were 8-20 last year and are 5-5 so far this year.

They are coached by Joe Pechota, who is in his 12th year with a 42% record, 39% in conference.  He was the interim coach of IPFW in 2005 for a dozen games or so.

Their leading scorer is Delano Williams, at 12PPG.  Brent Wiles scores 11 PPG and Johnny Bowers at 10 PPG).

They have a couple guys who are 6'8" and one who is 6'7".

Congressman Darrell Issa is an alumni from there and prominent Coach Ben Braun started his career there.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

BG Takes Pirate Treasure

The Falcons kept the good times rolling yesterday, waking up from a mid-day slumber soon enough to beat the Hampton Pirates by 10, 75-65.  Our Falcons have been prone to long shooting slumps during half the game...and that's what happened here.  For the first half, BG shot 20% from 2FG and 23% from 3FG and trailed 31-21.

The 2nd half did not start out better.  Four minutes in, HU had upped their lead to 14 points, 38-24. With 10 left, HU still led by 9.  BG went on a 10-1 run to tie the game with 7 left. With 5:28 left, it was tied at 58.

At this point, this is fairly anxiety-producing.  This is a team BG should beat, for sure.  And they did, scoring 17 points in the last 5 minutes and allowing only 7. It started with an Agee and-one and went from there.  He ended up with 6 of the 17 points.

BG shot 67% from 2FG and 50% on 8 3FGs.  They went heavy 2FG and it turned the game around.  BG led for only 8:50 in the game.

The game went at 73 possessions, which is pretty fast.  BG scored 1.03 points per possession for the game, which is OK but not anything great.  The Falcons had 1.5 points per possession in the second half.  BG shot OK (47% on 2FG and 33% on 3FG), lost the turnover battle, rebounded OK and had a huge advantage at the line.  BG made 20 of 26...FTs have really come around...and HU had 5-8.

BG made 80% inside the charging arc.  Way higher than BG's number in past years.  Check out their shot selection in the second half.  Black dots are made FGs.

HU had 18 fouls 18 to BG's 11. That can impact shooting percentage.  If every time you are lined up for a clean shot you get fouled, it takes away from the made shot portion of your FG%.

BG played excellent defense.  HU shot 47% and 22%, did well on turnovers but poorly on the boards and (as mentioned) did not get to the line.

Trey Thomas had a monster game. He was 1 of 6 from 2FG but 6-11 from 3FG, 4 Reb and 5-6 at the line. Rashaun Agee is a really improved player.  He scored 21 points on 7 of 10 shooting and 7 of 10 at the line (also improving big time) and 11 rebounds. Hill had 14 on 5 of 11 and 0 of 4 shooting, 5 rebounds and 4-4 at the FT line. Jason Spurgin scored 10 points on 3 of 5 and 1 of 2 shooting, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots.

With Smith and Towns still out, BG played Agee, Thomas, Spurgin and Hill 33 minutes or more.  Humphrey started and played 28, Phillips 14 and Edwards 14.

That's it for D1 play pre-MAC.  Siena Heights is in Friday...they are in the NAIA.  For now, BG has been winning games they should win, which we will take all day.

NSD in the books

Today was National Signing Day.  The full information is here.

Of the 21 players, 12 came from Ohio or a neighboring state.

By position:

  • 4 RB
  • 3 TE
  • 2 WR
  • 3 OL
  • 3 DL
  • 1 OLB
  • 1 ILB
  • 2 CB
  • 2 S
  • 0 QB
Loeffler noted there is still work to do in the portal.  We will continue to recruit our own players. Thinks we could still lose 1-2 players to Portal.  Also expects to announce some people staying. 

Caden Campbell's dad is Mark Campbell who played with Loeffler with Michigan. He is coming as a TE but Loeffler said that his Dad thinks he is a center someday.  He will need to eat his way onto the list.

Loeffler was asked about no QB. Said "we will see" if we go for a portal guy between Orth/Bazelak and Anderson.  "Was not our year" for a HS QB. 

There are three players who were verbals who did not show up as signees.

Aqil Meredith-Smith, OL, said he was re-opening his recruiting on December 4 after committing in July. So far as I can see, he did not sign anywhere.

Elijah Parker, SS, also committed in July.  His twitter photo still shows him in a BG jersey but he is not on the signing list and does not appear to have signed elsewhere.

Elijah Blue, DB, also committed in June.  His commitment post is still pinned to his Twitter feed.

You never know what is happening with these.  They sometimes committed as a PWO, in which case they might not have signed today.  Something may have happened with their eligibility.  But they were not on the official list.

Having said that, there were three players who were signed who made their choice late.

The one that has eyes-popping is Kal-El Pascal.  He is listed as a 3-star safety who had offers from Texas A&M, Auburn, Georgia BG, Akron, Arkansas State, Charlotte, FIU, FAU, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Liberty, Maryland, UMass, Duke, Pitt, WKU and WMU.  The P5 offers came a couple days apart in May. His last tweet before signing said that "when one door closes, God opens another one."

Coach said he was committed to NC State.  Brian White, from out staff, has his son on the Wolfpack staff.  He "de-committed" and we jumped on him.  He "fell into our laps."

  • Notched 108 tackles and 6.0 tackles for loss in 2023 as a senior
  • Recorded two interceptions and defended 22 passes as a senior
  • Earned all-state honorable mention honors as a junior in 2022
  • Also garnered second-team All-Dade accolades in 2022
  • Recorded 180 solo tackles in his three-year varsity career and 233 tackles overall
He will enroll in January.

Isaac Hill is listed on 247 as a 3-star TE/ATH from Steubenville.  He had offers from BG and WMU--BG was his first offer in January.  I see a November news story that mentions him as a Bowling Green commit.

He was highly productive.

  • Named Big 22 Player of the Year and led Steubenville to the regional title and state semifinal appearance (Big 22 is akin to being all Mahoning Valley).
  • Listed at 6'4" and 210.
  • Earned first-team all-state accolades
  • Named Eastern District Co-Offensive Player of the Year
  • Caught 61 passes for 892 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023
  • He also carried the ball 11 times for 132 yards and a score
  • Holds all of Steubenville’s receiving records
  • Aided Steubenville to a combined 25-5 record over 2022 and 2023
  • Recorded 780 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior in 2022
  • Laser timed 4.60-40, 76" wing and 10" hands
Next is Jaden Copening from Hartford, CT.  BG offered him in August.  He also had one FCS offer.  Beyond that, there is not a lot of information on him.

Also, BG netted a portal transfer last night.  This young man is RJ Garcia, who is transferring from Kansas State. He's from Tampa, and was a 3-star out of Tampa.  BG offered him, along with Air Force, Army, Buffalo, FAU, Iowa State, Georgia State, Rutgers, Tulane and WMU.

As a FR he played in 3 games, made one catch and took a red-shirt.  As a sophomore, he appeared in every game and made 14 catches with 1 score.

Welcome aboard to all.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

NSD is Tomorrow....

Tomorrow is the day for D1 football programs, as most of the high school classes sign their NLI.  Our current list (at least that I have seen) is 20 players.  We lost one this week to MSU when Austin Clay switched his commitment.  Best to him.  

We will see tomorrow whether BG loses any other players.  The thing to do is to get on X/twitter and follow @BG_Foootball and they will post each time an NLI is received.  They usually start coming in pretty early.

For me, I think we have continued to recruit well.  We have clearly upgraded the roster over the past three seasons.  We need to continue--especially up front and at QB.  By the way, no QB commits to date.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Pirate Preview

Next up for Falcon MBB is Hampton--the Pirates.  This will be a school day filled with high-pitched screams...go at your own risk.

Hampton is now in the CAA, but they were in the Big South and MEAC before that.  They are an HBCU. Without question, their biggest win was a #15 upset over Iowa State in the 2001 NCAA Tourney.  That team was coached by former Falcon assistant Steve Merfeld, who now heads Player Development for Creighton. 

They actually made the tourney 6 times in the MEAC. Since they left the MEAC, they have had losing seasons 4 of the 5 seasons. They were 17-43 over the last two seasons entering this year.

They are coached by Edward Joyner.  This is his 15th year there, and he has won 48% of his games in that time.

Their pre-season poll and Blue Ribbon has them 13th out of 14th in the CAA.  Last year, the CAA was the #26 ranked conference.

They are 4-6 this year, but 1-6 in D1 games. Their only win was over #261 Florida Gulf Coast. They lost to James Madison (68), Kent by 38 (103), San Jose State (173), Howard (234), Norfolk State (236) and UMBC (at home) (328). They are 1-15 on the road over the last two years, including this year.

BG has beaten them both times they played, once at Calihan Hall in 2018 and again last year in Virginia. Based on ESPN or Kenpom, BG has an 84% to 86% chance of winning.

They struggle on both sides of the ball.  They are #321 in adjusted offense and #300 in raw (not adjusted for schedule).  They are #305 in adjusted defense and #325 in raw.

They play a VERY fast pace....74 possessions, #23 in the country.  They take 40% from 3FG, which is a lot but only make 32%, which is below average.  They are decent (51%) on 2FG.  They turn the ball over a lot (#343 in the country) and do not offensive rebound well (#309).  They get to the line a lot, #62 in the country and make 73%, which is pretty good.

Defensively, they are terrible against the 2FG (#286) and 3FG (#227).  This is good for BG, which has relied on 2FGs this year. Their defensive turnover rate is average.  They are poor on the defensive boards (#281) and they also give up a lot of FTs (40%).

Their leading scorer is Tedrick Wilson, a 6'6" GR who scores 15.8 PPG on 65% 2FG shooting and 44% 3FG shooting.  That is very efficient. He also averages 5.4 RPG and has 14 steals.  These are the numbers of an efficient scorer.

Kyrese Mullin is the second leading scorer at 15.3 PPG. He's a 6'7" SO. He makes 57% and 37% of his shots, also very efficient, and adds 9 RPG.

Tristan Maxwell is 6'3" and a SO. He scores 10 PPG, on 46% and 31% shooting.  He leads the team with 32 assists.

Settle in kiddos. See if BG can with their 6th straight.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

BG Beats "Roos"

BG beat the Kansas City Roos with relative ease on Saturday in front of 1,561 at the Stroh Center.  KC kept within reach the whole way, but the Falcons never trailed in the game and won by 10 with a maximum lead of 15.  The Roos never got closer than 6 in the second half.

The Roos played without Anderson Kopp, their 2nd leading scorer.  DJ Smith, Sam Towns and Jamai Felt were unavailable for the Falcons.

It was BG's fifth straight win and the Falcons are now 7-3 for the year.  They play their final D1 game of the year Tuesday in front of screaming school children.

The game was played at a relatively slow 68 possessions.

BG scored 1.16 points per possession, which is a nice offensive game. BG shot 56% from 2FG and 27% from 3FG.  Overall, that's a 49% EFG, which is slightly below average.  Pair it with low turnovers, good rebounding and a huge FT disparity and 18 of 21 at the line for the Falcons, and you get a good offensive game.

BG also held KC to 1.01 points per possession, well below the NCAA average. They made 47% and 29% for a 45% EFG. They did a little worse than BG for turnovers and were decent on their offensive boards, and were largely sunk by the huge FT disparity.

Today was BG's third game in a row under 30% from 3FG and their 7th of the season. The Falcons are just under 30% for the year and #298 in the country in 3FG shooting.

I mention only because Marcus Hill is a significant force in BG's offense.  No doubt, he is a scoring machine. It didn't seem like the Roos really focused on him, but I can guarantee that the teams in the MAC will put a little more pressure on him.  I feel like BG has lacked for another outside scorer if that happens.  They will eventually need to resolve that in MAC play.

Great to see the Falcons making FGs today.  Even Agee was 2-2.

Hill had another night.  He was 6 of 13 from 2FG and 4 of 8 from 3FG.  Add 5-6 at the line and 5 boards.  Quality night of offensive basketball.

Jason Spurgin had 20, on 6 of 11 and 1 of 3 shooting and 7-8 at the line. Also 5 rebounds.

Agee double-doubled, with 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting and 2-2 at the line and 12 rebounds.  In 22 minutes.

PJ Edwards had 8 rebounds.  Thomas had 4 assists over 0 turnovers.

Enjoying seeing the team win and looking forward to seeing them continue to improve.

Football Update

 Well, let's see.

We've had some more guys say they are staying.  Coach said in a presser the other day that it was Jordan Oladokun's idea...he wanted to post something positive.  Coach agreed (obviously), going on to say that we give all our attention to the 5% who leave and not the 95% who stay.  (I'm going to note that Akron has lost 21% of their scholarship players, but that's just being a smart ass).

The graphic below shows players who are in the portal.  Players with a circle are the guys who are staying.  Coach says there are more coming on that front.

Jordan Jackson is the only new player in the portal.  He was a contributor, to be sure.  He transferred from Stony Brook and is now a graduate transfer.

Jalen Huskey is at Maryland.  I have not seen anyone else land anywhere.

I don't think we have any guys impacted by the thing where you can transfer multiple times for a while.

There was a rumor online that Minny had to pay $30,000 to keep at least one QB for the game.

Here we goooooooo

Friday, December 15, 2023

The Roos

The Kansas City Roos are coming to town on Saturday.  They represent the University of Missouri @ Kansas City, but they are to be referred to as the Kansas City Roos.

I dunno.  You're all bent outta shape about UMKC, but you want to be called the Roos.

Go figure.

They began in D1 hoops in 1989.  They have never made the NCAA Tournament.  Since 2000, they have had 6 winning seasons. They were starting to make a little progress under Billy Donlon (think Wright State and literal non-step substitutions. Should have been a hockey coach).  Donlon was 19-12 in 21-22 and then decided to go to Clemson as an assistant.

They brought in Marvin Menzies, with pretty high expectations given where the program was at the time. Menzies was highly successful at New Mexico State, making 5 tournament appearances in 9 seasons.  He went next to UNLV, where he took over right after Todd Simon's stint as interim coach.  He was .500 there, fired, was an assistant for a couple years, and then went to the Roos.

They had a rough year last year.  A ton of injuries and they were 11-21 with a 314 kenpom, their worst in 10 years and that time it got the dude fired.  Then, they lost their top two scorers to the portal.

They were picked 8th in the official Summit League poll pre-season and Blue Ribbon had them 9th.  The Summit is the 21st-ranked conference and the MAC is the 20th.

BG and KC have played once.  In 2016, the Roos beat BG with a last second basket. That was Huger's 2nd year and part of a 4-game losing streak to start the season.

Lest we forget, BG has a terrible recent track record against teams represented by a Kangaroo.  Also, UMKC has twice given UT an early disqualifying loss in a year they thought they might earn an at-large bid, including last year.

The Roos are 5-6 this year, but only 2-6 against D1 teams. Their wins were over SEMO (352) and Lindenwood (339).  So no quality wins.  On the other hand, they have lost to Kansas, Baylor, Colorado State and UNC-Greensboro, along with Brown (248) and Middle Tennessee (241), both on neutral floors.

Their Kenpom is 268. ESPN says BG has a 79% chance of winning and Kenpom makes it 76%.  BG is a 5.5-point favorite.

To date, they have played the #61 schedule in D1.  BG has played #294.

They have played at a slow pace, at 67 possessions a game.  They are struggling on the offensive end, with .99 points per possession.  (1.045 is D1 average so far). They do 2 things well on offense--they make 3FGs (#127) and they try a lot, and they rebound (#66).  They don't get to the line much and they are #344 in making FTS (BG is #353) and #323 in turnovers. 

On defense, they allow 1.12 points per possession. Their strength is rebounding, #36. They do not defend 2FG (#304) or 3FG (#337) well, don't force turnovers (#241) and give up a ton of FTs (#352).  Until BG starts hitting FTs, they aren't really ready to take advantage of that.

Their leading scorer and rebounder is Jamer Brown, a highly ranked JUCO transfer and Blue Ribbon's pick as Summit newcomer of the year. He's scoring 14.2 on 50% and 27% shooting.  Also 5.5 rebounds per game.

Next is Anderson Kopp, their top returning player. He is scoring 13.1 PPG on 48% and 25% shooting, adding 5.1 RPG and has 32 assists, tied for the team lead. He's a 6'6" G.  FWIW, he did not play in their last game.

Cameron Faas is their third-leading scorer and a major 3FG threat.  He is making 53% of his D1 3FG attempts.

So, this is one BG would expect to win. One issue is will be interesting to see who is able to go.  BG had 4 guys in street clothes last game.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2023


Big changes are coming to MAC football.  For years, there has been this scheduling rhythm....every year, Toledo, Akron, Kent, Miami, OU, and Buffalo were on the schedule.  The last 5 were the ones we needed to beat to make the MAC Championship.  (Not always, we were in the West for a while and there were an odd number of teams for a while.)

Let me give you an example.  I heard recently that Ohio U has lost most of best offensive players to the portal. My first thought was, OK, we are now ahead of them and all we need to do to get to Detroit is beat Miami.

But that's now how it is anymore.  It is a big switch in thinking.  It's going to make all the games count more--right now you can drop a cross-division game without being in trouble, as long as you took care of business in your division.  I'm not sure what the tiebreakers will be, but it will be important since it is very possible that you won't have played the team you are tied with.  It will mean that you won't benefit from a weak division.  It will also make the difficulty of schedule a key issue and a bit of random luck.  Except for your pod, the schedule will be random.  You might catch Buffalo (for example), on an up year or a down year.

It's a big change.  It's fair and it will be harder to make it to Detroit, in general.  (Or, I should say, the conference final). Nothing wrong with that.  Be the best.

To protect rivalries, they had to break the 12 teams into 4 pods.  Each team will play the teams in their pods every season.  The pods were needed because of the uneven rivalries in the MAC.  For example, you have BG and UT in the same pod.  You might say, hey, Miami is a rival, but you can't put Miami in that rival without separating them from Ohio....their rival.  Same with Kent and Akron.  The three Michigan schools are in their pod, which is good because that's the whole Michigan MAC thing, and then NIU, UB and BSU, who are without true rivalries, will fill in the gaps.

FWIW, BG has ended up in what is the toughest pod, if history is our guide.  Since 2001, half of the MAC titles have come from our pod. (Once UB gets on their feet, they would appear to benefit most from this arrangement).

Since 2001

  • BG, NIU, UT: 11
  • Ball State, Miami (OH), Ohio: 5
  • Akron, Buffalo Kent State:  2
  • Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan: 4

The other news was a read-between-the-lines type thing.  The Ford Field contract was extended only one year, which many think portends a return to home field conference title games, which is what is done at most G5 conferences. People seem to think that the wrong team is winning the conference--as in not the best team.  

Over the last ten years, the favorite has won half of the games.  Whether that's too much is a matter of opinion.  I'm not really sure why it matters--in basketball you want to increase your chance of winning a game in the Big Dance. But here, everyone goes to a bowl, they are equally meh and I'm not sure it's any better if you win than if you finish second.

Ford Field is a good venue.  Indoors and easily accessible by 10 of the 12 teams. Maybe I just have flashbacks from the MAC title game we did host...

Well, onward and upward.  

Monday, December 11, 2023

Football Verbal...Caleb Goodloe

With 9 days to go, BG has its next verbal commit.  This young man is Caleb Goodloe from Clearwater, FL.  247 gave him 3 stars and he had 16 D1 offers.  Those included Iowa State, BC, Kansas, Liberty, Mid TN State, NC State, Wake Forest, Toledo and West Virginia.  His twitter handle says he had 19 D1 offers.  He visited Clemson.

He's 6'1 185 lbs, with a 79.5 in. wingspan.

2022: As a junior, caught 50 passes for 670 yards and 10 TDs while at Calvary Christian School, which competed in Florida’s 2M classification.  He transferred for his senior year and the team played in the state final, albeit losing to a nationally prominent Chaminade-Madonna team.  Heading into the title game, he had 36 receptions, 682 yards receiving, seven touchdowns.  That's about 30% of their yards for the season--you can never tell how often these HS teams pass.

Welcome to the Falcons, Caleb.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

BG Takes Care of ODU

BG took care of business with Ohio Dominican, cruising to a big win, which is what is supposed to happen.  The Panthers were 1-6 coming in and their top scorer and rebounder went down 90 seconds into the game and did not return.

Five minutes in, it was tied 10-10. Three minutes into the second half, BG led 51-21, making it an 18-minute, 41-11 run.  The lead got as high as 51, with the 95-47 final.

BG played without Da'Shawn Phillips, DJ Smith and Sam Towns.  Towns was in a boot and had one of the scooter things to get around. No word on the other two, but not reason to push anything for this game.

BG has the rest of the week to work on their game outside of school, which I think makes it easier. UMKC will come on Saturday, and BG hopes to reverse their kangaroo-game troubles.  BG has an 0-1 record against these Roos.

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Ohio Dominican Preview

Quick preview for tomorrow, as we head to the Stroh for the first home MBB game in 23 days.  This one is against Ohio Dominican (the Panthers) who BG has played twice and beaten them both times.  BG beat them 102-65 last year.

Ohio Dominican is a DII school located in Columbus.  They have 1,700 students enrolled, give or take.

They are 1-5 to date this year.  They play Tiffin on Saturday, so their record will be different when we tip off on Sunday.

They have a new coach.  Casey Kaufman is his name.  He was at Malone for eight years and led them to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. 

Their leading scorer in JeJuan Weatherspoon, who scores 19 a game with a lot of shots.  He came from West Florida to ODU. He also leads the team with 11 RPG--he's 6'5".

This one is on the schedule to be a win and to get some guys into the game.  Simon feasted on games like this at SUU, and let's hope for the same.

Portal and Verbal Commit Updates....

So, it is Saturday morning and there is no new portal activity for BG.  While we don't like losing anyone, to date it could have been worse.  The portal is open for quite a while yet, so it's still in flux.

I love what we are doing with having players commit to stay.  Loved this....

And this.....


Meanwhile, recruiting never sleeps. BG has a new verbal, a young man known as Malik Moses, from South Gwinnett, which is in Georgia.

He's a 3-star recruit, listed at 6'2, 250. Generally, he is projected as an EDGE or DE.

247 says "2023: As a senior, totaled 31 tackles (6 TFL), 3 sacks, a QBH, a PBU and a FR in 8 games per MaxPreps. Helped South Gwinnett go 5-5 in Georgia’s highest classification."

He was once committed to Charlotte and then de-committed in November. He had offers from Arkansas State, Army, Brown, James Madison, Liberty, Navy, Richmond, Troy, UAB, UCF and Wofford--a solid portfolio of G5 offers.  Rivals adds an offer from EMU. I always like to see the service academies for academic purposes.

He was all-state as a junior, and second-team all-region this year. 

Jaylin Ballew, from Erasmus in NY, has "re-opened his recruiting."  He is a TE and was the first player committed to BG this year.  Best to Jaylin.

The state of play as I know it is in the left sidebar.  We are going heavy high school this year, while working the portal more selectively.

Below is the WMU depth chart, with a line through departing players and circles over the players who have committed to be back.  This is way less than a normal senior attrition in the old days.

Friday, December 08, 2023

As the Portal Turns Friday

 According to the Portal Report, over 1,200 players in the portal to date.  It is the world we live in.

87 of those players are from the MAC.  Most of the starting QBs...WMU rotated 3 QBs this year trying to find a fit and they are all in the portal now.

Since last we posted on the Falcons, Kitione Tau has entered the portal.  His BGSU bio said he had one year left including 2023, so I don't know what is happening. He was a juco transfer who played some in 2022 but this year did not play after the Miami game and totaled only 18 snaps.

Best of luck to him.

On the flip side, Dontrez Brown un-portalled and announced he would be back at BG.

If you are interested in following the MAC and its portal activity, Ypsi 11 is doing yeoman work there.

Thursday, December 07, 2023

As the Portal Turns

Welcome to today's edition of "As the Portal Turns."  In the last day or so, Andrew Bench and Nick Mosley have entered the portal.

Bench is a TE from Elmore, OH, who came to BG on the Dline and played there before moving to TE.  He was mostly a blocker, but caught 16 passes including a 31-yard TD against South Alabama. He's behind Fannin and Gazerek on the depth chart, his snap counts have gone down every year.  He has 2 years of eligibility.

Mosley is from Columbus and a RB.  He had 77 carries in 2021 at 4.4 per attempt, he carried only 23 last year and 8 times this year, and DNP after the fourth game of the season.  He could redshirt this year and have two more years.

Best to them both moving forward.

On the flip side, BG is starting to run some un-portal announcements....players who are staying.  That's a great tactic and did lift my spirits a little.  Oladokun, Bazelak, Orth and Wollschlager have joined in to date. Hope to see more.

The pace has slowed down a little, but this is an ongoing issue.  You have the first wave, and then you have people trying to fill the holes created by that wave.  Which BG is doing as well.

And the signing deadline is less than two weeks away.

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Taron Keith In Portal

Man, this is a rough time to be a G5 fan.  This one hurts, he was a fan favorite and bailed us out so many times, including the UT win and with Stewart injured.  He was a warrior, playing hurt.  It really got me when I saw this one.

I don't blame him and wish him great success.  This is the world we live in.  Was it a better world when a player like Keith was forced to stay with us, even if he'd prefer to leave?  For me, yes, but it's his life.

You don't get much time to enjoy the end of the season.  It felt so good, making progress, etc.  Looking forward to a bowl game.  Now, honestly, we don't know who's showing up for either team.

Yesterday's NCAA proposal doesn't point toward more changes, not less.

Anyway, the portal has only just opened.  And our guys are out working it as well.

Update:  I just saw Jack Sauder, our KO guy, is in the portal.

Monday, December 04, 2023

Two More Portals

Two more BG players in the of them a significant contributor.  That was Jalen Huskey, who was first-team All-MAC this year as a true sophomore.  In today's world, a guy like that starts to look around, maybe he hears some things, and off he goes.

It's our second loss in the d-backfield.  You wonder about DeShawn Jones, who was behind Huskey on the depth chart and left one day before him...I don't know, I'd think the picture would look different.

Anyway, best of luck to Jalen.  He played really well for us and he's taking what's available to him in today's world.  I hope he enjoys success.

The other is Hayden Timosciek, who will live forever in Falcon lore as the QB who was pressed into action in the Big House and played his very first collegiate snaps in that environment.  He says he wants to transfer to big a TE....apparently we didn't have any interest and so he is off as well.

Best of luck to him as well.

It's discouraging.  The redeeming thing is that everyone in the MAC is going through it.  Even the Rockets have lost 2 all-MAC performers today. 

We will see how big the impact is.  Remember, the portal is open until after Christmas.  Last year, a few of our guys left on the final days.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

Back to the Motor City....

Back to the Quick Lane Bowl.  BG brought the people last year and they couldn't wait to have us back again.  It's great for our fans.  Once in a while, I'm sure the players would enjoy a little more of a trip, but it's great for the team's supporters.

More to come on the opponent, which is the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

As in....

YEP.  ROW the BOAT.  They were the last team to get into a bowl, with a 5-7 record.  And, we can't forget, that they were the victim of the most improbable upset in BG football the Falcons won in 2021 coming off a dreadful 2020 year and in the midst of a just-slightly-less-dreadful 4-8 season. BG lost the next 4 after that win.

One thing is that Minnesota's starting QB for 2023 is in the portal.  More on that all later.

Good job to our guys for getting this far.  Let's bag a Big 10 win and an 8-win season.  If you are in the MAC, every Big 10 win is meaningful.

First Football Player in Portal

BG's has its first football player in the portal.  It's DeShawn Jones, who has been a contributing DB for BG.  

He played 11 games for BG this year but with only one start. 

He was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week after making four tackles and recording a "pick-6" with a 45-yard touchdown return in win at Georgia Tech.  His 45-yard interception return for a TD at Georgia Tech capped 38-unanswered points by BGSU.  He also had 2 picks in a game against OU in 2021.

According to pff, he played 668 snaps last year and 198 this year.  Their grades show him getting better, so he wants to go where he can play.

Best of luck to him in his future endeavor.

FWIW, here is how the depth chart looks right now.

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Ugly MBB win in Evansville

Here, Dr. Naismith explains the object of the game.

College basketball may well have been set back to here after Saturday's BG-Southern Indiana game.  You're back to having laces on the basketball.  BG MBB won 54-52.  The only worse thing would have been to lose.

That's a 3-game winning streak for the Falcons, now 5-2.  The ugly win cost them 15 spots in kenpom.

Just to give you an idea, USI shot 32% for the game.  BG shot 29%.

BG had the lead much of the first half, leading 17-11 with 7 left in the half.  The Screaming Eagles then closed hard, with a 17-4 run to lead by 7 at the half. 

USI shot 37% for the half.  BG shot 24%.

For the first 7 minutes of the 2nd half, there was ONE FG made by both teams. Some FTs....USI still led by 7.

Coming out of the 12-minute time-out, some shots started to fall and BG took the lead.  It bounced back and forth and was tied with 6 minutes left. BG went on a 9-3 run to take a 6-point lead with 2:20 to play.

USI went on a run and had the lead down to 1 with :56.  BG ran clock but turned the ball over with :34 to play.  USI got into the paint with :19 left, Spurgin impacted the shot and BG had the rebound.

Hill was fouled and made both.  BG was up 3 with :16 left.  BG opted to foul to prevent a 3FG attempt and USI made both FTs, so it was now a 1 point lead with :11 left.

Hill was fouled again with :09 left and he split the FTs.  No worry about fouling to prevent a 3FG now, USI just had to run offense.  They hit a shot that might have been a 2 or might have been a 3 but was definitely not-a-buzzer-beater.  The Falcons won.

BG had .79 points per possession.  It is their third offensive dog of the year, including Oakland and WKU, which were only a little better.  It is our worst offensive game since ODU in 2017.  The last time we won with that kind of output was against EMU in 2013 in a truly unwatchable game.

BG shot 31% from 2FG and 24% from 3FG.  USI shot 32% from 2FG and 31% from 3FG.  However, they made a lot of turnovers and had only a slight lead in the rebounding--still a bad night for BG on the defensive boards, as that has been a strength for us. Both teams made 13 FTs.

Marcus Hill was BG's leading scorer with 15, but it was a lot rougher than normal. He was 3 of 13 on 2FGs and 9 of 10 at the line. Also 6 rebounds. Jason Spurgin had 10 on 3 of 7 and 1 of 3 shooting. Towns had 10 and 11 for a double double and made 5 of 11 of his shots. 

Trey Thomas played 25 minutes but Da'Shawn Phillips did not.

It's a week off for finals and then the 1-5 Ohio Dominican Panthers will be in town Sunday.  They are a DII team that BG beat by 37 last year.

Friday, December 01, 2023

Southern Indiana Preview (MBB)

BG's MBB team journeys to Evansville, IN Saturday to play the Screaming Eagles of Southern Indiana.

As a review from last year, Southern Indiana was a highly-competitive DII program and moved up to D1 last season.  They were not bad, going 16-17 and 9-9 in the OVC and playing in one of the minor post-season tournaments. And they beat BG at the Stroh.

This year is a different story. They lost their top six scorers from last year.  They were picked 9th in the OVC.  Blue Ribbon had them 5th.   According to kenpom, they are #332 in experience.

They are 0-6 against D1 teams with a kenpom of 332. They lost at home to Chicago State, who BG beat easily, and lost @Bucknell (331) and @ LaSalle (200).  Along with that, @St. Louis, @Duke and @MSU.

They are averaging .96 points per possession, which is one of the 30 worst in the country. The defense is not good either, at 1.08 points per possession, but ranked in the 250s.

Offensively, they are bad at everything.  EFG (ranked 269), turnovers (289), offensive rebounding (299) and FT Rate (359). They are below average on 3FGs and poor on 2FGs. They are #307 in FT%. 

On defense, they are actually a little above average defending the shot, including #122 against 2FG. They are also excellent on the defensive boards.  They don't force turnovers and they give up a lot of FTs. (This smells like a packed in defense). 

They have two double figure scorers.

Jesse Hernandez scores 12.5 per game. He shoots 45% and 26%.  He actually started at Kent before moving to USI the year before last.

AJ Smith scores 12.1 PPG on 50% and 33% shooting.  He also leads the team with 9.3 RPG. He's 6'6" and started at USI.

Jack Campion, PG, has 40 assists.  He also started at USI. 

BG is a 5.5 point favorite, which laying the points seems like the move to me.