Wednesday, April 10, 2024

MBB Roster Update

Forensics from photos on Twitter...they are having some workouts and Sam Towns, Trey Thomas and Jamai Felt are shown.  Also, I understand that DJ Smith is back and practicing.  

As we know, Edwards, Greer, Agee and Hill are in the portal, and Phillip was out of eligibility.

And four players coming in....so far.  BG continues to work the recruiting wires.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

New Falcon MBB Verbal

So, BG has a new verbal for MBB, this young man is a transfer from UM.  He's 6'9" and originally from Lebanon.  His name is Youssef Khayat, although his bio at Michigan says he prefers "Yo-Yo" on first reference.  (More here from Michigan Daily on the origin of Yo-Yo, etc).

He's not the normal background.  He lived in Lebanon and then they moved to France so he could play ball.  His HS years were spent playing on a U21 Club affiliated with Limoges, which is a pro team at the top level.  He had some success there his last year, playing in 32 games and averaging 16.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists in 28.2 minutes

He has played internationally for Lebanon at the youth and senior level.

He went to UM where he played two years.  He signed late and kind of got a slow start his FR year. He played 26 games in two injury-plagued years, ending up 154 minutes played.  He did not generate a lot of numbers.  Even so, this article indicates he was making progress behind the scenes.

He has two years left.  I think our coaches have shown (in only one year, true) to be good talent evaluators, so I look forward to seeing Yo-Yo in action.

Welcome to the Falcons, Yo-Yo.


Thursday, April 04, 2024

Terrible News from Football

Oof.  Terrible news from Spring Practice.  PaSean Wimberly said he was injured and will miss the season as a result of a "tragic accident" in practice.

It's heartbreaking.  PaSean is one of the best liked players we have had for years.  He is from Whitmer, and is a grad student in Architecture with a high GPA.  He excelled on special teams and, from what I hear, was making a strong case to be Taron Keith in this year's offense.  He is three-time Academic All-MAC and National Special Teams Player of the Year. 

Best of luck for a return to health for PaSean.


BG MBB Transfer IN

So, BG has their first player out of the portal for MBB.  His name is Braelon Green.  He visited UT and BG over the weekend, and chose BG over UT to play for at least the next year.  He has the potential to be a really good player in the MAC.


He's from Southfield, MI, the home of Juice Turner and Da'Jion Humphrey.  He played a prep year at Southern California Academy.   He had a large number of power conference offers.

Out of HS, he would have been among the highest-rated players we ever landed. 

One of two Top-100 rated prospects by Rivals, as they tabbed him as the No. 65 overall prospect and the No. 21 shooting guard in the nation...ESPN rated him as a four-star prospect and the No. 2 overall player in the state of Michigan...Four-star prospect according to 247 Sports consensus rankings, which rates him as the No. 127 overall prospect and No. 22 shooting guard in the nation...No. 114 overall prospect and No. 25 shooting guard prospect in the country according to On3.

He went to Arizona State, where he played 122 minutes in his first season.  And into the portal he went.

Of special note is that he is normally mentioned as a combo guard.  Not much is available from HS and there isn't a big enough sample to tell much from ASU.

We are thrilled to have him.  He has the potential to be a top MAC player.

In other news, JZ Zaher announced he would be entering the NBA draft.  His Uncle does own an NBA team...

Saturday, March 30, 2024

MAC Portal Review

 The Portal is cutting a swath through the MAC.  The game has truly changed for us.


Akron:

No players in portal...had an old team


Ball State:

Quincy Adams (transferred to DII)

Jalin Anderson---15.8 PPG

Micah Bell--Averaged 6 minutes

Joey Brown--Averaged 9 minutes

Trent Middleton, JR--6.2 PPG

    Preston Sparks returning from Indiana


Buffalo:

Isaiah Adams--12.8 PPG

James Graham--Played 11 games

Kanye Jones--played 9 games, 8 PPG

Jonnivius Smith--8 PPG

    Noah Batchelor in from Maryland--highly recruited, averaged 7 minutes in two years


Central Michigan:

Noah Adamczyk--DNP

Derrick Butler--10.7 PPG

Jemal Davis--5.5 PPG

Markus Harding--10.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG

Max Majerle--4 PPG

Paul McMillan IV--8.3 PPG

Anthony Pritchard--MAC Co-defensive player of year, 1st team All-MAC

Aidan Rubio--40% 3FG shooter.


Eastern Michigan:

Tyson Acuff--MAC leading scorer, 3rd team All-MAC

Julius Ellerbe--2.5 PPG

Cyril Martynov--7-footer, played 12 minutes a game

John McGriff--15 minutes a game

Derik Pranger--9 GP

Javante Randle--6 minutes a game

Connor Serven--18 minutes a game

Andrew Wells--5 GP


Kent State:

Reggie Bass--former MAC FR of Yr at CMU

VonCameron Davis--13.8 PPG, MAC HM

LA Hayes--14 GP

Jalen Sullinger--Third team All-MAC


Miami:

Ryan Mabrey: 6.8 PPG

Jacquel Morris--13 starts

    Kam Craft, Xavier coming in. DNP this year.


Northern Illinois

Xavier Amos--14 PPG

Will Loving-Watts--MAC All FR, 7 PPG

Yanic Konan Niederhauser--7.3 PPG

Zarique Nutter--15.4 PPG

Zion Russell--4 PPG


Ohio

Quinn Corna--7 GP


Toledo

Tyler Cochran--2nd team All-MAC

Dante Maddox--2nd team All-MAC

Re'Heim Moss--2nd team All-MAC

Ben Wight--9 MPG


Western Michigan

B. Artis-White--All-MAC HM, 10.4 PPG

Jefferson De La Cruz Monegro, 9 PPG

Seth Hubbard--14.1 PPG, leading scorer

Hill in Portal, Simon Staying

In this week's edition of As the Hoop Turns, there are two significant updates.

The first one, chronologically, was that Marcus Hill entered the portal.  He said that he was open to returning.  Online reports show that he has received a large number of offers from high-major schools.  As I noted on twitter, the Detroit News is reporting that Tyson Acuff, the MAC's leading scorer from EMU, is getting $200,000 NIL offers. If Hill is in that range, you cannot blame him for taking a look.  Love to have him back.   Wish him the best no matter what.

Speaking of taking a look, we went through a few days where it looked like Tod Kowalczyk and Todd Simon were dueling for the Utah State job.  It would be a big raise and in a six-bid conference.  Last night, they both "withdrew" a few hours before Utah State named Jerrod Calhoun of Youngstown State.

Anyway, that bullet was dodged.  BG has had two prominent one-and-dones in the modern era--Bill Fitch and Chris Jans--and each led to the wilderness.  It will be interesting to see if that impacts recruiting--it seems like less, since the players aren't looking at a four year commitment anymore.

That puts Agee, Hill, Edwards and Greer in the portal, with Pardon and JUCO Preston Squire known to be incoming.  We don't know about the other players, but anyone can, assuming the Senior Night guys.  One commented has said that Jason Spurgin is considering playing at BG or as a pro, presumable in the NBL in Australia.

More on the portal later.....

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

MBB Portal Update

Latest portal update for Men's Basketball....PJ Edwards has entered.

PJ was a 3-star recruit when he went to UCF.  He was there for one year and came to BG.  He made 5 starts early and consistently got minutes in the upper teens until the Louisiana game.  No idea if he was battling an injury, but in BG's last 10 games he played only 4 times for a total of 24 minutes.

Wish him the best as he moves along.

I saw one post on X that I thought was revealing.  It was from a Detroit News reporter who said that Tyson Acuff, the MAC's leading scorer who is leaving EMU, was expecting to make $200,000 next year.  Trey Townsend from Oakland is at $500,000.

Anyway, BG has only lost 3 guys and one major contributor.  (As of 11:10 on Wednesday). UT's top 3 scorers are now in the portal.

It's a new world.

Friday, March 22, 2024

BG MBB Update--two in portal

So, a quick update.  BG played a tough game against Purdue Fort Wayne and had a shot at the end but couldn't get the shot to fall.  They played without Rashaun Agee, who was on the sideline, and it showed.

The season ends at 20-14.

The portal opened on Monday.  As of 8:30 AM on Friday, two players are in the portal from BG:  Rashaun Agee and EJay Greer.

In today's world, Agee is no surprise.  A hugely improved player who was second-team All-MAC and called an "elite" offensive rebounder by Tod Kowalczyk,  he will see what fortune holds for him.  He carried this team in many ways this year....you saw on Wednesday what it looks like without him.  Best of luck to him.  He gave us everything he had and stuck the coaching transition out.

The other is EJay Greer, who played sparingly as a FR.  I saw on Twitter that someone was saying that EJay had told them he wants to play a guard and BG had him at F.  He's 6'8" and 170.  In the MAC, he had the potential to present match-up issues at G or F.  He had a typical FR season, but I thought he showed promise.  In the old days, it would have been a pleasure to watch him develop.  Best of luck to him as well.

Of the 15 players on the 3 All-MAC teams, five (Agee, Moss, Sullinger, Acuff, Cochran) have all entered the portal.  Four of the remainder were seniors or grad students, though I don't know what that means for their eligibility.

I believe BG is not done with players going to the portal.  I don't have any inside info....but you had those guys on senior night, and Agee and Spurgin said they had made no decisions at a presser in Cleveland, and our staff is showing up as offering a lot of guys.

FWIW:  Preston Squire, a BG signee from Salt Lake Community College, is the #40 JUCO player in the country based on jucorecruiting.com.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

BG MBB With At Least One More Game

So, the Falcons get one more home game, at least.  Who knows what happens after the first round.  Having said that, this opponent is what we used to know as IPFW, Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.  The Mastadons. They are now just Purdue Fort Wayne.

We have played them four times, but not in 10 years.  They are, after all, a D1 program that we can easily travel to.  The 'Dons have won 3 of 4, including 1-1 at BG.

They had a similar season to BG, actually.  They ended 2023 at 13-2 and 4-0.  They played 2 non-D1 games and played the #358 non-conference schedule in the country, among the 4 worst.  BG's, which was not tough, was #324.

And they had more problems in the conference schedule.  They ended up 7-9 in 2024, finished 11-9 and lost to Oakland in the Horizon Tournament.

The Horizon is the #20 ranked conference and the MAC is #25.

They are an efficient offensive team.  They play at a high pace and shoot a lot of 3FGs. They make 37% from 3FG and 54% from 2FG, both of which are really good.  They also take excellent care of the ball.  They are poor on the offensive boards and average at getting to the line, along with #10 in their league at making FTs.

They are also an efficient defensive team.  They are average at everything except forcing turnovers, which they are really good at.  That's going to be a test for BG's ballhandlers.

Their leading scorer is Jalen Jackson, #10 in the Horizon at 16 PPG.  He makes 53% from 2FG and 41% from 3FG, which is really good.  He was third-team all-conference.

Also, third-team All-Conference was Rasheed Bello. He scores 14.9 PPG on 49% and 34% shooting. He also leads the team with 4 assists per game. Quinton Morton-Robinson and Anthony Roberts also score 13 PPG---remember that there are a lot of possessions here.

Eric Mulder leads them with 7.2 RPG. 

Kenpom gives them a 54% chance of winning the game.  I will be there.  It has the potential to be a nice game.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Now there are 8

 

Now 56 elapsed years since BG has been in the NCAA tournament.  Here is the company we live with now.  There are 8 now, as St. Francis (NY) left this list by eliminating their athletics program. They are the 2nd to voluntarily and permanently exit...Centenary dropped to DIII a while back.

Columbia: Last appeared in 1968
Tennessee Tech: Last appeared in 1963
Maine: Division I since 1962
New Hampshire: Division I since 1962
Dartmouth: Last appeared in 1959
Army: Division I since 1948
Citadel: Division I since 1948
William & Mary: Division I since 1948

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Sadness Accrues

I said in the preview that Kent was unlikely to hit 50% from 3FG again, like they did in the first game between the two teams.

Sadly, I was right. They made 67% and that was largely the difference.

Since 1999, the kenpom era, BG has only allowed a higher 3FG% once, and that was an early Huger game against Evansville in 2017 when the Purple Aces made 80%.  The most BG has allowed and won was 64% vs UT in 2012 at the Stroh.

So, that's a problem.  Even worse, the 3FGs were just daggers, late in shot clocks, stopping BG runs.

As Coach said, "it was their night."

Kent led for 30 minutes.  BG never led by more than 5 and that was early.  Kent was in control of the game most of the way.  They showed in both of the games in Cleveland that they are very difficult to come back against.

BG battled foul trouble in the first half, with Thomas and Agee both with 2. Agee played 8 first half minutes and had 0 rebounds.  Yet, BG was only down 6, so going into the locker room you had to believe we had a shot.  And Kent can't keep making 3s like that, can they?

The lead stayed in the 6-8 range for the first 7 minutes of the second half.  BG made a little mini-run to get it to 3, but Rollins converted an offensive rebound, BG missed a shot and a second chance, and Davis came down for an old-school 3-point play and it was back to 8.  BG knocked it back to 6 and then Santiago nailed a 3FG to make it 9 with 11 left. 

BG got it to 6 with 7 left, but Kent scored the next 5 to go up 11, and the fat lady was singing.

Kent ended up at 1.19 points per possession, BG's 4th worst MAC game.  BG ended up at .98 points per possession, their 5th worst MAC game.

BG shot 49% from 2FG and 20% from 3FG, which is really tough.  Kent also kept BG off the offensive boards--partly with Agee on the bench and partly with Hornbeak getting 8 defensive boards.  BG made 16 of 17 at the line, ended up +7, but it wasn't enough to make up for the shooting disparity.



Marcus Hill had a solid 22 for BG, shooting 7 of 13 and 2 of 5. He added 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 turnovers.  Agee and 15 and 7 in 28 minutes. Made all 7 FTs.

So, from here.  First, BG could end up in one of those ancillary post-season tournaments. Beyond that, it's the next steps for modern college basketball....roster retention and construction.  

People were focused on the senior day guys, but anyone can leave.  Last year, of the 15 guys on the top 3 All-MAC teams, only 3 came back.

SUU's AD said that Todd Simon's players don't leave...we shall see.  But even people who have already transferred can now do so.

I'll do a season review.  In total, it was a good season.  As they used to say on midmajority.com, it always ends with a loss.  I'm optimistic about the coaches.  What we need is clear (shooters), but I'm on board and counting the days to when we are back at The Stroh.

Friday, March 15, 2024

CMU Recap/KS Preview (MBB)

Well, now.  What a time that was.  I'm telling you...you follow a team...there are good times, they are bad times.  And then a night like today.  So proud of our guys.  I know.  One game.  A quarterfinal.  A big win in a hard fought game.  CANNOT WAIT for the next one.

And Toledo....we WON'T see you at the game.

It was a competitive, if low-scoring game.  CMU led for 18 minutes, but never by more than 6.  BG's biggest lead was at the end.  Neither team had a scoring run more than 8 and there were 9 lead changes and 10 ties.  Both teams were in touch the entire way.

Fittingly, it was tied with 3:35 left.

Then, BG closed with the run that decided the game and sent their fans home happy.  BG finished the game on a 11-1 streak.  Actually, that's not exactly right.  It was Trey Thomas 11....CMU 1.

And 3 rebounds.

It started with 3:01 left when he pulled an offensive rebound down and BG reset before Thomas hit a floater in the paint.  2:50 left, BG took :45 off the clock and scored and were up 2.

BG gets a stop on a missed 3FG, Thomas clears the board. BG runs offense, and with 2:01 left Thomas nails a 3FG to put the Falcons up 5.

CMU calls time.  Butler gets to the rim, Spurgin fouls him and Butler, a 76% FT shooter, splits the pair.  BG up 4 with 1:55 left.  BG ran the shot clock all the way down before Thomas was fouled going to the rim.  He made both free throws, BG up 6 with 1:25 left.

The teams traded empty possessions and with :52 left Markus Harding was barelling to the rim, but Agee blocked his shot--one of the plays of the game--and Hill grabbed the board.  BG was not in the bonus yet, so it took CMU 3 fouls to get BG to the line with :37 left.  Everyone in our section remembered the game at Mt. Pleasant where BG was up 4 with :19 left and lost in OT, so we were all riding it out.  

BG got two more stops, and Thomas added 2 more FTs and 1 more rebound and it was over.

Sweet victory.

Here's how it worked out.  Yes, BG struggled to shoot against CMU again.  As noted, they are hard to shoot against.  BG was 38% from 2FG....but 35% from 3FG, which was enough to make the difference.  Just as importantly, BG held CMU to just 44% overall, 40% on 2FG and 33% on 3FG.  BG lost the turnover battle, too.

But, like the games in which BG has succeeded, they won on the boards and got to the line. That rebound number is impressive.  It was BG's 2nd best offensive rebounding game of the year and their 4th best defensive rebounding game.   Finally, BG won the FT battle.  BG held CMU to 40% on 2FG and committed only 10 fouls and only 4 in the second half. BG made 79% from the line, with 15 of 19 while CMU was 4 of 6.  Yes, sir.


Trey Thomas started the season injured and hasn't always seemed to be on track.  But he was all of it in this one.  He scored 20, shooting 1 of 2 from 2FG, 4 of 8 from 3FG, 6-6 at the line, all in crunch time, 6 rebounds and 1 steal.  If something like that interests you.

Rashaun Agee.  What can you say? A career high 17 rebounds.  He's as good a rebounder we have had since Nate.  He has 320 rebounds this year. Wiggins had 362 in his senior year and then you're back to Cornelius Cash before you get a higher number.  He added 13 points and a monster crunch time block.

They held Marcus Hill to 11 on 3 of 14 and 1 or 2 shooting.  He also had 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 turnovers.  Coach said after the game that he does more for us than score.  He never left the floor.

So, Kent is next.  BG played them once and lost in OT at the Stroh.  Here's the way it looked for that game.  Look familiar?  The only difference was that BG can't let Kent shoot like that.  They were 50% on 2FG and 47% on 3FG.

In fact, there's a good chance they don't shoot that well tonight, even as the #2 3FG shooting team in the conference. 


They are big and physical.  For my money, the most consistently physical team in the MAC.  They seem to be willing to commit 10 fouls on every possession and dare the ref to call them.  Also, they blocked 5 shots against UT and held them to 44% on 2FG. 

In general, they have not been great on defense....#10 in the MAC, which is what had them in 8th place.  They are good on turnovers and defensive rebounding, but give up a ton of FTs and have been easy to make 2FGs against.  They certainly were not last night. (Not to rag on UT, which I already did, but they just seemed flat the entire time.)

I kind of see a similar game to last night and the first meeting.  Kent is favored, 58% chance of winning on kempom, 64% on ESPN and 1.5 points in Vegas.  

Kent is also tournament tough.  They are used to playing in the tournament and succeeding.  For me, the key will be for BG to get more stops than we did the first time.  Here we go!!!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

BG/CM MBB Preview

 OK, here we go.

BG makes their first MAC tourney appearance since 2021, when they played with a badly hobbled Justin Turner and still had a shot to win until Jermaine Marshall, logging less than 10 minutes a game, nailed 2 of his 4 career 3FGs in the closing minutes to beat the Falcons.  At the time, I said you could kind of feel a window closing and that was, in fact, what happened.

This year's team is facing CMU...a team BG lost at home in 2OT and in Mt. Pleasant in OT.  BG struggled to shoot against them in both games...2 of their 4 worst shooting games for the season.  (Worst and 4th worst).  The fact that either game went into OT was a miracle. BG shot 35% and 43% from 2FG and 6% and 21% from 3FG.

So, there's a reason for that.  To start with, BG is the #10 shooting team in the MAC.  Add to it that CMU is the hardest team in the MAC to shoot against.  (They are the best defensive team overall, as well).

So why were those games close?  In the first game, BG was +11 at the line and had 3 turnovers to CMU's 16. Also, note that CMU played without Anthony Pritchard and Markus Harding in this one.

In the second game, BG was +17 at the line, double the offensive rebounding while having 6 more turnovers.  BG was up 4 with :19 left to play in this one.

CMU doesn't usually foul as much as they did to BG in the first two games--two of their 5 worst MAC games in free throw rate.  That can also impact BG's FG%, because you are getting fouled every time you have an open shot.  While struggling much of the year, BG finished #7 in the MAC in FT%,

So, look, BG nearly beat these guys both times...but didn't.  In a sense, the road OT game against a fully stocked CMU lineup is actually the bigger accomplishment.

BG's game plan is normally below average shooting, low turnovers, good offensive rebounding and getting to the line.  Based on the first two games, they have a long way to go to get to below average.  That's also going to include making some 3FGs, because I expect CMU to pack it in and guard the paint, which is the percentage play against the Falcons.

Even so, this is an entirely winnable game for BG.  Kenpom gives BG a 56% chance of winning, though their formula penalizes CMU for a dreadful 2023 portion of the schedule.  They are better than that now. Vegas has BG -2.5 and a 67% chance of winning.

I'm really looking forward to this game.  Somebody is going to win 3 games this weekend.  Maybe it's us. With a win, based on UT's history, we get Kent in the final and who knows?

Two Falcons Make All-MAC

Below are the All-MAC awards as selected by the coaches---they can't vote for their own guys.  As you can see, Freeman and Simmons were unanimous choices.  I don't have any problem with the guys you see here...Barbee's team was picked last and finished #4.

BG has two guys honored.  Marcus Hill is first-team All-MAC, certainly well deserved.  And Rashaun Agee was second-team, also well deserved.  In fact, he had a first-team All-MAC season, but you can't argue with any of the guys who made it ahead of him.  You could say the same for Jihad. That's how it goes sometimes.  

Really proud of these guys.  Marcus and Rashaun carried this team on their shoulders most of the way.  Rashaun might have shown more improvement in one year than any player since Richaun Holmes.  Both of them play unbelievably hard on every possession.  I thank them for helping to make this an enjoyable year and for being Falcons.

---------------------------------------

2023-24 MAC Men’s Basketball All-MAC Teams & Specialty Award Winners

Coach of the Year: Tony Barbee, Central Michigan

Player of the Year: Enrique Freeman, Senior, Forward, Akron*

Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Pritchard, Junior, Guard, Central Michigan

Co-Defensive Player of the Year: Tyler Cochran, Junior, Guard, Toledo

Freshman of the Year: Javan Simmons, Forward, Toledo*

Sixth Man of the Year: JaVaughn Hannah, Sophomore, Guard, Western Michigan

* - unanimous selection by 11 opposing head coaches


All-MAC First Team 

Ali Ali, Senior, Guard, Akron

Enrique Freeman, Senior, Forward, Akron

Marcus Hill, Junior, Guard, Bowling Green

Anthony Pritchard, Junior, Guard, Central Michigan

Ra’Heim Moss, Junior, Guard, Toledo

 

All-MAC Second Team 

Basheer Jihad, Junior, Forward, Ball State

Rashaun Agee, Senior, Forward, Bowling Green

Jaylin Hunter, Senior, Guard, Ohio

Dante Maddox Jr., Junior, Guard, Toledo

Tyler Cochran, Junior, Guard, Toledo


All-MAC Third Team 

Brian Taylor, Graduate Student, Guard, Central Michigan

Tyson Acuff, Junior, Guard, Eastern Michigan

Jalen Sullinger, Junior, Guard, Kent State

David Coit, Junior, Guard, Northern Illinois

AJ Clayton, Junior, Forward, Ohio


All-MAC Honorable Mention

Greg Tribble, Senior, Guard, Akron

VonCameron Davis, R-Junior, Forward, Kent State

Anderson Mirambeaux, Senior, Center, Miami

Darweshi Hunter, Graduate Student, Guard, Miami

B. Artis White, R-Junior, Guard, Western Michigan

 

MAC All-Freshman Team

Arne Osojnik, Guard, Eastern Michigan

Eian Elmer, Wing, Miami

Will Lovings-Watts, Guard, Northern Illinois

Javan Simmons, Forward, Toledo

Sonny Wilson, Guard, Toledo

 

MAC All-Defensive Team

Greg Tribble, Senior, Guard, Akron

Enrique Freeman, Senior, Forward, Akron

Anthony Pritchard, Junior, Guard, Central Michigan

Tyler Cochran, Junior, Guard, Toledo

Ra’Heim Moss, Junior, Guard, Toledo

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

BG Adds Cornell Brown to Staff

 BG lined up a new defensive line coach, and this guy has a long history of coaching and playing at the highest levels.  His name is familiar--Cornell Brown.

He is still from the Loeffler-verse.  He was an assistant at Virginia Tech with Scot.  He also graduated from Virginia Tech, was a two-time  All-American, and played for 7-years in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Ravens.

Last year he was with the New Orleans Breakers and the year before that the Calgary Stampeders. In college, it was Tarleton State, Marshall, Virginia Tech and Norfolk State.

You can see the details about the record at all these places here.

This was a key hire. The D-line is critical to any team's success and I think BG has done an excellent job developing talent at that position.  It might be the area that most contributed to our 10-6 record in MAC play the last two years.  Certainly, Brown has the credentials...love to see the results this year.

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Falcons Close With Home Win, Finish #5

BG beat Ball State last night and finished 5th in the MAC.  The Falcons were picked 8th and with the new guys and the new staff, this was a favorable result.  In the 22 years since WVU, this is only our 8th winning record in MAC play.

The Falcons will play CMU at 1:30 on Thursday.  This is a much more favorable matchup than one of the top 3...BG took CMU to overtime twice and you have to believe we have a shot in this one.  And some motivation?

The sobering news of the night was senior night.  Jason Spurgin, Trey Thomas, DJ Phillips, Rashaun Agee and Sam Towns each were honored, received their commemorative framed jersey, etc. 

That's sobering because, with the exception of Phillips, all of these guys have eligibility remaining.

This is a space to watch.  We've had guys go through senior day and decide to return, and that's always a possibility. As far as that goes, anyone on the roster could leave.  BG has two players signed...Preston Squire and Jaxon Pardon.

On the bigger picture, this is the world we live in now.  Last season, of the 15 players on the All-MAC team, only 2 returned.  Eight were out of eligibility and the remainder transferred.

Last year, we had to recruit ten new guys...this year, maybe five or more.  Every one of those guys played significant minutes.

The actual game was a solid performance for BG.  Coach says guys are healthy again, the energy is back, and the shot making is coming back.

BG led by 9 at the half and had the lead up to 12 with 10 minutes left to play in the game.

Ball State played hard, cut the lead to 3 with about 7 left and to 1 with 4:29 left.  

What happened next is what makes basketball such a great sport.  With 4 left, Hill was under pressure and found Humphrey, who nailed a 3FG dagger and was fouled.  Missed the FT, but BG up 4.  BSU threw the ball away on the fast break, BG came up and--after replay--it was determined the Jihad had flagrantly fouled Spurgin.

Jason hit both FTs and then on the possession took an absolute dime from Hill and nailed the 3FG, giving BG a 9-point lead.  Two possessions, less than one minute, and the game went from in the balance to over.  Humphrey nailed another key 3FG with 1:15 left.

BG led for 36 minutes of the game, which is a good sign you are on the right track.  They outshot BSU, and only were -2 at the line after making 15 of 18.

So, onto Cleveland we go.  Proud of our guys. It has been a very good season.  See everyone in Cleveland.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

This is it. It's the last game (MBB)

 So, here we go.  The last game of the regular season....hard to believe, seems like yesterday we were tracking whether the Bewley twins were going to play.

If BG wins and Miami loses, the Falcons finish 5th.

If BG wins and Miami wins, then it depends on who wins the #1 spot.  If it is UT, than BG is 5th.  If it is UA, then Miami is #5.  UT wins the tiebreaker over Akron.  Also applies to a two-way tie at 9-9 with BG and Miami.

If BG, Miami and Kent tie at 9-9, BG is 6th.

If BG, Miami, and WMU tie at 9-9, BG is 5th.

If BG, Kent and WMU tie at 9-9, BG is 6th.

If BG, Kent, Miami and WMU tie at 9-9, BG is 6th.

At 5th, BG plays CMU.  At 6th it is OU.

The opponent is Ball State, who are trying to get into the tournament.

BG and Ball State played earlier this year, with the Falcons picking up the road win.  The Falcons had a multi-possession lead for the last 8 minutes of the game.  Ball State got the lead to 4 with 3 minutes left, but BG blasted the lead back out again and won by 9.

It was BG's best shooting game of the MAC season.  They made 53% on 2G and 50% on 3FGs.  They had an OK day with turnovers but was great on the offensive boards. BG was 15 of 20 at the line, but -3 for the game.  BG had 1.21 points per possession, their second best MAC game.  Ball State had 1.08.


Hill had 28 in his best offensive game of the season. He was 11 of 16 from 2FG and 2-2 from 3FG. Spurgin had 17 and 7, Agee had 14 and 10.

Ball State leads the MAC in getting to the line, FT% and the percentage of points coming from FTs. Beyond that they are average in FG shooting and turnovers, and slightly less than average on the offensive boards. They are #5 with the 3FG.

On defense, they are pretty much average across the board, although they are #3 in keeping their opponents off the line.  They are somewhat vulnerable to the 2FG.

They are led by Basheer Jihad, who is #4 in the MAC in scoring. He makes 40% on 3FGs. He also leads the team with 8.4 RPG, which is #3 in the MAC.  He's clearly first-team material. 

Jalin Anderson scores 15 PPG and is #4 in the MAC in assists, Davion Bailey and Mickey Pearson score 13 PPG. 

They have 4 MAC wins on the road.

Last chance to see BG at home...and a chance to finish strong and head to Cleveland looking to shock the world.

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

BG MBB....onto Cleveland.

 Well, you have a team picked to finish 8th....with a shot at 5th or 6th.  It has been a good season.  A ways to go, and more needed in future years, but this was a a good start.  After two years not even in the top 8, the Falcons will play for the title in Cleveland.

The game with WMU was entertaining.  There were 8 ties and it remained close most of the way, even though BG did not trail in the 2nd half.  It was tied once.

With 5:35 left, BG led by 6.  WMU rallied and had it down to 1 with 2:36 to play.  The game remains afoot.  BG ran the clock down and then Jason Spurgin drained a 3FG to put BG up 4. The hated Lobsinger bricked a jumper (schadenfreude) and BG came down, missed a shot, but Agee had the glass, which he followed up with a basket and a foul, which he converted.  BG up 7 with 1:11 to play, and the game was over.

That's what games come down to.  And BG's bigs made the plays that were needed to secure a nice road victory.

BG had 1.11 points per possession, which has been a winning number--if rare--over the last few games.  They held WMU to .99.

To start with, BG outshot WMU.  That's usually led to a win, which it should.  Neither team shot great.  BG was 54% and 29% and WMU was 51% and 29%.  BG tried BG tried 28% of their shots from 3FG, a typical number for them. When they beat WMU the first time, BG got outshot. 

BG also led on turnovers, kept a board-crashing WMU team off the boards, got offensive boards themselves and made 12 of 16 at the line, for +3.


Rashaun Agee had another big game.  He had 17 on 6 of 11 shooting, 5 of 6 at the line, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and no turnovers.  If that might be something that is of interest to you

Spurgin, who Coach says is healthy for the first time in weeks, had 16 on 5 of 7 shooting and 2 of 5 3FG shooting.  With 5 rebounds a 3 turnovers.  He was running the floor and making shots like he was earlier, and did it in 28 minutes.

Marcus Hill only had 13, but it was on 6 of 10 and 0 of 1 shooting.  He appeared to press the issue less.  That's not a lot of points, but an efficient night.  Also, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 turnovers. Trey Thomas had 10 on 10 shots and 6-6 at the line.  Greer had 15 in 12 minutes, making 2 of 4 from the field and 1 of 2 from 3FG.

The last game is at home against Ball State, which can still make the tournament with a win. BG will play CMU or OU....CMU would be interesting given the OT games we played previously.  Anyway, a good year and more to go.

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

The Football Schedule is Out!

 Finally!

First, you are going to want to watch this....pretty funny....



Here's another ChatGPT prompt for Scott

Write a plan to hold a 28-10 halftime lead against your rival.

 I kid.  I kid.


So here it is.  This is a much different picture than last year.

Let's start.  First, we have a bye week between our P4 games, and we follow the second one with a home G5 game.  Much better than what we had last year.

Toledo--while away--is on Saturday, as it should be and will be two of every four years.

Out non-pod games worked out OK...we keep Kent and Akron and add Ball State (who we beat last year) and WMU, who we beat last year in Kzo0.  There's @CMU as well.  

If we are playing like we hope, the key games will be on 10/12 and 10/26 in our pod.  I have no idea how good the other teams are, but we don't face OU, a top MAC team last year and usually a good team.

Here are the number of P4 games played by MAC teams.

  • Akron 3
  • BSU 2
  • BG 2
  • UB 1
  • CMU 1
  • EMU 1
  • Kent 3
  • Miami 3
  • NIU 2
  • OU 2
  • UT 1
  • WM 2
Anyway, there it is.  Plan your life now.  Love to see us make a run this year...we have a lot of guys who are finishing their eligibility....and this schedule seems a little more workable.

Monday, March 04, 2024

Rematch: MBB vs. WMU.

Two games left.


A win or Ball State loss, and BG is going to Cleveland after 2 years away.  It could happen with two losses...but not under all circumstances. They can also finish 5th or 6th, which would place them against CMU or OU (probably) as opposed to UT or Akron.

WMU has had a weird season.  Picked to finish near the bottom of the MAC (10th), they burst out to a 4-0 start in the MAC.  They were 4-1 when they played BG and the game looked like an important battle in the top of the standings.  Both teams have found some reality since then.  BG won the game.  WMU at one point lost 5 straight games in the MAC.  They have rebounded and won 3 of 4, beating Miami and UB in Kzoo, lost @EMU and then won @BSU in the most improbable fashion.

You have undoubtedly heard.

Both teams are 8-8 and tied for the last playoff spot (also including Kent).

WMU is 5-2 at home in MAC play.  BG has won 3 of the last 5 in Kzoo, but there have some pretty rough years for the Broncos.

This is a kind of typical BG win.  BG was outshot, as WMU made 53% from 3FG and BG actually made 37%,  BG won the turnover battle, had an incredible game on the offensive boards and made 23 of 27 at the line.

BG led by 16 in the second half.  WMU rallied and BG had a 1-point lead inside of 2 minutes.  BG got a basket and then three stops in the last minute and BG hung on to get the win.



Overall, WMU is #8 in the MAC in offensive efficiency. They are average at shooting and getting to the free throw line....they are #1 in offensive rebounding and #12 in turnovers.  As you can see above, those trends played out in the first game.  They are the worst FT shooting team in the conference.

They are 4th in defensive efficiency.  That's #4 defending the 2FG and 3FG. They don't force turnovers and give up free throws, but are #4 on the defensive boards.

Owen Lobsinger (I did not make that up, though it sounds like the name you give your Mom when you don't want her to know who you were really out with) had 25 on 7 of 7 from 3FG. He has made 20 in the 11 games that followed.

Marcus Hill had 28, although it took 26 shots.

WMU has a transfer C, a 7'0" who does not start and usually plays less than 20 minutes.  He's a force when out there.

So here we go.  On the road, this is a tough matchup.  Hopefully, the Falcons break out of their slump and don't leave it all to the final game.

So, on paper this would appear to be a tough matchup, as a scoring challenged team against one of the better defensive teams.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

Some football updates

 Just a few things from football...no the schedules are not out yet but people are waiting impatiently.  Should be any time.

Spring practice is underway.  BG has a lot of injuries.  This includes Conner Bazelak, who has surgery in January, and Orth, neither of whom will be ready until June.  Coach has them in intensive, Loeffler-led film study.  Better them than me.

Meanwhile, Lucian Anderson will get the reps for spring and Loeffler has advised him to practice like he is the guy.  This isn't bad...Anderson is in line to compete for the top job next year, along with anyone else who might arrive by them.  BG is offering QBs all over the place and there's always the portal.  But this is a chance for Anderson to position himself for that role. He is a redshirt FR this season.

Running backs are also thin.  We expect Stewart back by camp, but the role Keith played is open.  No help was found in the portal but Coach hinted that there could be a player or players in the freshman class who get snaps this year.

Diego Neri is in the portal. He was Academic All-MAC and played in all the games last year, mostly on special teams.  I suspect he got to spring practice, wasn't where he hoped to be on the charts and wants to look elsewhere.  Wish him nothing but the best.

One factor might be that BG has moved Trent Simms to LB.

This is a pretty big season.  BG has gone from awful to decent.  Last year, we lost to the better teams in the MAC and ran wild through an extremely weak part of the schedule.  We were better.  But we need to go from decent to contending for the title, which is just as hard if not harder.

Hopefully, the schedule is slightly more favorable--though it will remain challenging so long as we have to go to two P5 games like Penn State and Texas A&M.  There will be a conference game in the week between those two games, so we can hope it won't be against a top team.  Our G5 game is at home and not against a team likely to go undefeated.

I think continuity was the way to go.  I am not convinced that we will break the 5-3 MAC ceiling...but it would certainly be great to see it happen.

Saturday, March 02, 2024

Falcons Lose at OU

BG played a more representative game on Friday night, but ultimately OU made a couple shots down the stretch and BG couldn't respond and that was that.  OU has only lost once at home in MAC play.

While probably not the highest exhibition of the Art of Basketball, it was a competitive and entertaining game.  Neither team led by more than 7, there were 11 lead changes and 7 ties.  OU lead for 21 minutes, BG for 8.  Presumably 11 minutes tied.

The game was also tied at the half.  OU led most of the way in the 2nd half.  BG had the game tied, though, with 8 minutes left, and with about 3 minutes left was down 4 and got a huge break when Boals got T'd up.  Thomas and Agee hit 4 FTs to tie the game. 

Sadly, BG would score only 2 points in the game's last 3 minutes.

After the FTs, BG needed a stop to harness some momentum.  Instead, Hunter came down, after being ice cold all night, and dropped a 3FG.  BG failed on two possessions, OU one, and the Bobcats had the ball back and Clayton drained a 3FG with :30 left and that was the game.

BG shot better than they have recently.  They didn't shoot well, but they shot better.  Only 24% from 3FG, 46% on 2FG and 27% on 3FG.  BG was 16 of 29 in the paint. The problem was that BG turned the ball over at a historic rate. That turnover rate is about the 10th worst since 1999, and the worst since VCU in 2018, and that's a team that is known for turnovers.  BG had a big game on the offensive boards--though it didn't seem to contribute to baskets--and BG got to the line and made 18 out of 20, which kept them in the game.

Overall, .93 points per possession, a rough night, and a losing number. 

BG's defense was decent, holding OU to 1.04 points per possession, well below their season average of 1.14.  Their shooting was also well below their normal average and they had more turnovers than normal.  OU did have their 3rd best MAC game on the offensive boards.  And they also shot FTs well and ended up only -4 to BG.


Agee continues an outstanding season.  Agee had 17 on 6 of 8 shooting, 11 rebounds, 5 of 6 at the line and 4 turnovers. (Fun fact, in the last 10 games Agee has tried only 3 3FGs). 

Thomas had 15 on 1 of 3 from 2FG and 2 of 3 from 3FG, 7 of 8 at the line and 3 turnovers.

Hill had 12 on 5 of 12 and 0 of 1 shooting, only 2 of 2 at the line, and 6 turnovers and 3 steals.

So, BG is 8-8 in MAC play and @WMU on Tuesday.  It would be nice not to play Ball State in the final with a trip to Cleveland in the balance.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

BG MBB Heads to Athens

 The road does not get any easier for the MBB team.

Next up is the OU Bobcats...who are playing as well as anyone in the MAC.  When BG faced them the first time, they were in the midst of a tough start.  They were on their way to a 1-3 MAC start and four non-conference losses to 200+ teams.

Things turned around.  Since the 1-3 start, they are 8-2 in MAC play, with their only losses @UA and @UT.  They beat Akron at the Convo in their last game, and they are 7-1 in MAC play at home and have won their last 7.

In the first matchup, BG led wire to wire, making 50% of their 3FGs.  They also had an edge on offensive rebounding.  (BG made 12 3FGs that day, their season high.  They have 9 in the last 3 games.

Anyhoo, Thomas had 20, his high as a Falcon.


OU is the #2 offensive team in the MAC and #5 on defense.  BG is still #5 in offense, but have been "scoring challenged" of late.  The Falcons are #9 in defensive efficiency. 


OU is the best shooting team in the MAC and BG is #9 on defending the shot. OU takes the most 3FGs in the MAC, and make 37%, #4 in MAC.  They lead the MAC with 55% on 2FGs.  They take excellent are of the ball and are pretty good at getting to the line and make 74% when they do.  They do not seem to contest the offensive boards, which will force BG into a half court game, just as Miami did.


BG is the #11 shooting team in the MAC.  OU does force some turnovers.  There is an opening for BG on the offensive boards, but OU is good at keeping opponents off the line, which is something BG has relied on.


Progress at this point would be BG getting into the paint and make some shots, and hope that maybe they have a shot to get to the line.

Jaylin Hunter is scoring 14.5 PPG. He makes 63% of his 2FGs, #5 in the MAC.  He also makes 33% from 3FG. He leads the MAC with 4.9 APG and is #5 in ratio. AJ Clayton is scoring 12.5 PPG, on 67% and 40%, the top overall shooter in the MAC and #5 in efficiency. Shereff Mitchell scores 12.2 PPG on 50% and 34%. Aidan Hadaway is their leading rebounder with 5.1 per game, though they spread them around to a bunch of guys.

So here we go. BG is 3-4 on the road in MAC play.  It will be interesting to see---only game of the night in the conference.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

"Scoring Challenged"

Well, the UT win did not create momentum.  In fact, BG slipped right back into the rut they were in before the UT game, failing to make shots and eventually losing the game.

This one hurts.  BG led for 27 minutes of the game. Not by a lot, but as long as we weren't making shots and they weren't making shots, the Falcons were able to lead.

BG was up 6 with 12:41 left to play in the game....when Miami started to make shots.  They went on a 15-0 crippling run--sparked by two 3FGS by Anderson Mirambeaux, which is like watching a howitzer launch--and led by 9 with about 8 minutes left.  BG did rally, and had it to 2 with 1:30 left, but Miami broke a guy free at the rim, Humphrey had to foul, he made both FTs and went on to score the last 6 points of the game to win by 8.

After the game, Coach said we are "scoring challenged" and he was right.  No surprise there.  He said when you don't make shots you have to get to the line and Miami did a good job of defending us in the paint without putting us on the line.  The refs let 'em play--pretty evenly, I thought--and Simon said that BG needed to make shots, even with contact.

Coach Srulovich said on the radio that Miami did not crash the offensive boards, got back to force us into half court and then packed the zone in.  BG did get penetration...BG took 47 shots in the paint. And made 17.  They were 9 of 23 inside the protected area.  Both are disasterous.

As Coach said, "you have to put the ball in hole."

Again, dropping Toledo out, it was BG's 4th straight game under .92 points per possession.  The thing is, this one was at home.   Further, Agee was 9 of 17.  The rest of the team was 14 of 54.



Agee continues to be a stud.  He's just a non-stop, energy machine under the basketball.  He scored 20 with 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal and 1 turnover.

No one else was in double figures.  They held Hill to 8 on 4 of 13 and 0 of 2 shooting. He shot only 1 FT and had 4 turnovers.  It was not his night.

Or BG's.

So, things get a little tougher now.  They got to OU to play a Bobcat team that is the hottest team in the MAC right now. BG is 2 games out of 9th and 1 game ahead of the two teams that are one game behind them.  They should still make Cleveland, but it's no lock.

Monday, February 26, 2024

MBB to Face Miami at Stroh

And we're back.

Really looking forward to the game tomorrow...coming off the big win, tough match-up, another traditional rival.  Hopefully a good crowd.  Only two home games left.

And hopefully whatever demons BG chased into the cold night in Oxford in January are still out in the cold.

Miami is 7-7, one game behind BG in the standings.  Since BG beat them at Millet in January, they are 5-4 in MAC play. They have lost 3 of their last 5 MAC games but blew CMU out by 28 at Millet in their last game.

Their only win over a top-tier MAC team was a good one...Akron in Oxford.  On the other end of the spectrum, they have lost to NIU and WMU, twice.

The previous game went to BG in Oxford.  Miami had a 6-point lead with 4 minutes left to play. BG had been pretty flat heading into that part of the game, but picked up the pace there, and closed on a 12-5 run, including a Marcus Hill special to land the dagger.

The game followed a pretty common pattern.  BG was outshot, but had an edge on turnovers and on the boards and a huge edge at the line, ending up +9 and leaving Travis Steele complaining about the officials.


Hill had 23 on 13 shots.  Agee double-doubled and Thomas had 14.

7'0" FR Reece Potter had a career night, scoring 17.  He's only been in double figures twice since then. Mirambeaux came off the bench and had 12.  He is their leading scorer but takes a ton of shots.

They are #6 in the MAC in offense. They shoot well, take care of the ball and are decent at getting to the line, but are last on the offensive boards.

They are #3 in the MAC in defense. They are #3 on the shot and #4 in forcing turnovers...and slightly below average on the defensive boards and keeping opponents off the line.  

Frankly, with their stats, they should be better than 7-7.  Part of that is probably the big win over CMU.

It would be great to see BG generate some momentum.  It won't be easy coming off that big W on Friday, but they've had an extra day off and seen what they can do.  Go Falcons!

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Sweet Victory


How's that work for you?  What a night.  Incredible crowd.  Just an electric environment.  Enough Rocket fans to make it spicy.  And our boys delivered in a big way.  My heart was pumping for hours afterward.  It is just crazy how good it makes me feel.  So proud of our boys.

As we all know, we came in playing poorly.  You get on home court, you bring in our rivals...and the formulas changed.

It was no fluke.  On this day, we were better.  BG led for 28 minutes, UT for about 9. UT's biggest scoring run was 6.  BG led for the last 21 minutes of the game.

The first half was tightly contested.  There were 4 lead changes and 6 ties. Each team led for about 8 minutes.  BG's biggest lead was 7, UT's was 4.  BG led by 1 at the half.

BG came out of the locker room hot and scored the first 8 points of the half, setting the tone for the half.  It was never a one-score game again. 

UT chipped it to 4 with 14 left to play, but a Thomas FT, a stop and a Hill second chance basket had it to 7.  With 11 left, BG running off a Cochran turnover hit Spurgin for a dunk that brought the house down to make the lead 11.

UT got it to 5 with 4 minutes left when Da'Shawn Philip hit an absolute dagger 3FG from the corner late in the shot clock.  He's not our leading scorer, but he seems to be around when plays are made to win. That made it 8...UT got it to 6 and BG got a fast break off a missed FT and Hill made it 8 with 2:31 left. 

UT missed 3FGs on consecutive possessions and Hill was fouled, converted 2 FTs and BG was up 10 with a minute to play.  That was the game, but, you know, it's like a vampire, they are never dead until the stake goes into the heart.

It was pandemonium.  Suddenly, everyone in the arena is a long-lost friend.  Noise...civilized court storm.  A red-faced Tod Kowalczyk forced into a handshake line.  Damn straight.  It was the best.

As you can see here, BG won three of the four facets and neutralized the fourth. In the previous game, UT kept BG off the offensive boards and off the line, but not this time.

BG ended up with 1.14 points per possession, and UT had 1.02.

I thought BG's shot selection was ideal.  The average team takes 37% of their shots from 3FG.  BG is 11-2 when they try less than that. They are 6-1 when it is under 30%.  This game was 22%, BG's lowest of the season.  BG made 55% and 33%.  Maybe the biggest key was at the line. BG made 18 of 21 and were +5 at the line, something that doesn't often happen to the Rockets.

But make no mistake, the game was won on defense.  UT is an OK defensive team that scores very efficiently.  This was their 3rd worst game in MAC play in terms of offensive efficiency.  It was their 2nd worst in terms of turnovers. They made 40% on 2FGs, their worst in MAC play.  They took only 3 shots inside the cylinder and were 7 of 19 in the paint/outside the cylinder.

BG just played really hard on defense.  UT is hard to guard.  They move the ball and when the scramble is on, they keep the ball moving.  BG had the match this time.


Marcus Hill had 31 points.  It wasn't his greatest night...he was 11 of 22 and 0-2 from the field. He was also 9 of 11 at the line.  Add 6 rebounds, 1 assist, no turnovers, 1 blocked shot and 2 steals.

If something like that might interest you.

Phillip had 11. That's 3-3 and 1-4, but that one was a clutch, gotta have it dagger. Add 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals with 2 turnovers.  Love this guy.

Agee had 10 on 4 of 8 shooting and 2-2 at the line.  11 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.  And, yes, 6 turnovers.  But don't lose the headline here. UT had no answer for him.  He was a wrecking ball on the glass.  Tod will be seeing Agee in his dreams. Finished the game +14.

Thomas had 10.  He was 2 of 4 and 1 of 2.  Also 2 steals in 35 minutes.  He was a calming presence with the ball.  Also +14.

Coach said after the game that Spurgin was sick this week.  With Towns back (6 points and 3 rebounds in 23 minutes) he was able to go only 22 minutes.  I think the depth will help him stay fresher. Humphrey was back and had solid minutes. Greer played only a little and Edwards not at all.

One last thing.  With 6:30 left, UT switched to a full-court press, a solid move against us.  BG turned the ball over and then needed a timeout when they couldn't get the ball in. BG moved the ball effectively through the press the rest of the way.  I don't think we had any more backcourt turnovers.  In our recent history, it hasn't always been that way.

BG moves to 8-6.  The win pretty much ensures they will go to Cleveland, though it isn't clinched yet.  Even more importantly, depending on today's games, they have a shot to get some distance on #6.  Playing in the 4/5 game is better than the 3/6 game.

Miami comes to town on Tuesday.  Let's hope to build some momentum heading into Cleveland.  Coach said at CMU he thought we had turned the corner on defense.  If so, we can still be the team no one wants to see at RM.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Rockets Part II

Quick preview, we all know what we are getting here. The Rockets are tied for first place and are having another good year.  They just keep chugging along.  Rocket fans I have talked to figure that this year--with a team with less marquee talent--is the year they break through to the Big Dance.

BG battled the Rockets at Savage, leading by 5 points with 12 minutes left.  For about 4:30, the Rockets executed at a high level and BG did not and when the dust settled the Rockets were up 9 and ended up winning by 16.  At the highest level, you have to perform at a high level consistently...even a four minute lapse is deadly.

UT has 1.26 points per possession, a total befitting their traditional strong offense.  They shot the ball well and took care of it.  Meanwhile, BG shot the ball decently, but UT kept us off the offensive boards and the free throw line--two things we really rely on--and that was what they needed.


UT defends without fouling.  They are #1 in the MAC and #25 in the nation in opponent FT Rate. They are #64 in fouls per game, but they play at a higher pace, so tempo-free the rate is lower.  They average 7 more FTs a game than their MAC opponents.

Dante Maddox is #3 in the MAC in 3FG.  Raheem Moss is #8 in scoring.  Tyler Cochran is #7 in rebounding. 

BG comes in playing really poorly.  They are going to need to make some shots to compete.  But what better time than a rivalry game to get a fresh start.  We have been better at home. Hopefully, the Stroh will be rocking.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

BG MBB Loses to CMU in OT Again

 As they say in the UP, "uff da."

That was a tough one.

Only in the MAC.

For the first half, BG played their 5th straight half of unwatchable basketball. And this was probably the worst of the lot.  BG shot 5 of 20 from 2FG and 0 of 10 from 3FG.  CMU shot awful, too....10 of 24 and 2 of 10.  Add in 7 BG turnovers and the Falcons hit the locker room down 11 and even that was a miracle.

I will give the Falcons credit.  They battled in the 2nd half.  Overall, things only got a little better on the margins, but they got the game to OT.

BG shot 11 of 21 from 2FG and 1 of 6 from 3FG for the second half.  CMU also shot poorly...7 of 17 and 4 of 11.

The difference was free throws.  BG was 14 of 19 at the line for the half and CMU was 2 of 6.

It was well into the second half before it looked like a competitive game.  BG was still down 8 with 12 to go...38-30!!

BG went on a 7-0 run....a huge run in a game like this to cut it to 1 with 9 left and then CMU nailed a 3FG to put it to 4.  BG got it to 1 a couple more times and then took the lead with 4:50 left on a Thomas 3FG...BG's only 3FG of the game.

CMU took the lead right back, though.  Just inside 2 minutes, BG got a turnover, Jason Spurgin ran the floor and dunked the ball and BG had a 1 point lead back.  BG got a stop and board and ran clock, with Agee hitting a 2FG to put BG up 3. 

Pritchard hit 2 FTs (:46) to cut it to 1.  BG ran clock, Hill missed a driving layup but Agee had the board and hit the 2nd chance hoop with an and-one and BG was up 4 with :19 to go.

I know, right?  After all that, in a position where you should win the game.  94% chance, according to kenpom.

Derrick Butler BANKS a 3FG with :11 left.  They fouled Spurgin, who split the pair. BG up 2 with :10 left.  As the clock ran down, Vasko drove into the key, threw a shot up, lost control of the ball and it flew in the direction of the backboard and bounced into the basket.

Cruel fate.

OT was rough to watch.  CMU had three bigs fouled out, and yet BG made 1 basket.  CMU made 2.  Game was tied and BG had the ball with 1 minute left. BG got a shot clock violation, which was pretty emblematic.

CMU ran the clock to :08, Taylor drove into the lane and scored to put CMU up 2.

BG ran the ball up floor to look for a transition advantage, and called timeout with 3.5 left to set a play when it didn't materialize.  They lobbed the ball in to Agee who kicked it back to Hill who missed the shot in heavy traffic and that was it.

Look, CMU is a good defensive team.  BG's 29% EFG was its worst since a 1999 game against WVU, which a good BG team lost by 46. The 6% 3FG shooting was the worst in 14 years.

So CMU is a good defensive team, but probably not the best we have seen in 14 or 25 years.

62-60. IN OT.

Hard to see getting outshot and out-turnovered like this and making it to OT. BG was +17 at the line.


Agee had 18 points.  That's 3-8 and 0-1 shooting, but 12 of 14 at the line, 11 boards, 2 steals, 3 blocks and 3 turnovers.

Hill? 15 points, on 6 of 22 and 0 of 1 shooting.  That's a huge win for the defense. He added 8 rebounds.

Thomas had 11 on 2 of 2 and 1 of 8 shooting.

Spurgin is struggling.  Luckily, with Towns back really for the first time, they were able to hold Spurgin to 26 minutes.  He's played a lot for a big.

Towns played 24 minutes and had 11 rebounds.  Great to see him back.  He had only played 21 minutes total in two games since his early December injury.

DaJion Humphrey did not see action.

Coach said that BG's defense was improved and that "when the offense comes around" we can be a force in Cleveland.  At one point we were #4 in offensive efficiency in the MAC...now #6.  Reversing that trend is critical, especially as an undermanned team that has, of late, been easy to game plan for, battles fatigue.

BG has been under 30% from 3FG (27% actually) in its last 5 games.

BG is now 7-6 with the Rockets coming in Friday night. They are in 5th place.  You'd like to fall no further than 6, so you have a probable match up with CMU, a team you took to OT twice, or OU, a team you beat.  BG is only 1 game out of 8th and two games ahead of Ball State, the #9 team.

This has been a better season than expected.  And they are in the dark forest right now.  It will be interesting to see if it comes around.

Monday, February 19, 2024

CMU MBB Redux

Central Michigan is the clear surprise team in the MAC.  CMU was picked last in the MAC before the season and they are #3 and holding.  They have a bad loss to UB, but their other losses are @UA and @OU. They have beaten UT. They destroyed WMU in their last game and they won their Sun Belt game.  Three of their best players have missed at least one game in the last couple weeks and yet the beat goes on.

They were terrible last year...Kevin Miller transferred to Wake Forest.  Jesse Zarzuela went to Oregon.  MAC FOY Reggie Bass went to Kent.

And here we are.

We played a couple weeks ago and it was a double OT thriller that CMU gutted out without Harding and Pritchard.  BG had the ball with 1 minute left in OT and up 4, and yet the game went to a second OT.  And BG had the ball down 1 at the end of the 2nd OT and failed to get a decent shot.

Look at this.  BG was ridiculously outshot for a game that went into 2 OT.  But, they took excellent care of the ball and got to the line more, ending up +11.  CMU held BG to 43% 2FG and 21% 3FG shooting and that's not a winning position to be in.


CMU is the 2nd best defensive team in the MAC.  They allow .95 points per possession for the entire year and BG has never reached that level on defense for any MAC game.  They are the hardest team to shoot against in the MAC overall, hardest on 2FG and #2 on the 3FG.  BG meanwhile is the #7 shooting team in the MAC.  They also lead the MAC in not giving up FTs, which is something BG relies on.

They are 8th in offense, which makes that result in BG all the more disappointing.  Anthony Pritchard leads them with 14 PPG and 4.3 APG.  Taylor, Harding and Butler score 11 PPG each.  Harding is really good on 2FG (2nd in MAC) and Butler on 3FG (5th in MAC).  Aidan Rubio is #2 in MAC from 3FG.  Taylor is 6'6" and leads the team in rebounds and is #9 in block%.

This is a rough patch in the BG schedule.  They are clearly skidding and have played two clunkers in a row.  They are going to need to rally or this week could get pretty ugly.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

MAC Reset



So with 6 games left, here's a look at how things stand.

Basically, four teams are battling for the 4-7 seeds right now. 

BG plays 2 of the top 3 and none of the bottom 3.
OU plays 1 of the top 3 and 2 of the bottom 3.
KS plays 2 of the top 3 and 1 of the bottom 3--has only 2 home games left.
Miami play 2 of the top 3 and 1 of the bottom 3.

So, I'd say OU has the easiest route, Miami next, BG next and Kent last.  The 4 seed would play the 5 seed.  At 6 it would be CMU, 7 would be UT and 8 would be Akron.  You'd like to avoid those if possible.

 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

BG MBB Loses to Short-handed Eagles.

Well, that one is going to leave a mark.

Facing a 2-9 EMU team playing without starters Julius Ellerbe and Orlando Lovejoy, BG lost by 9.  It was a little closer at the end, but the score probably does tell the story.  EMU led for 36:38 of the game, BG for less than 2 minutes.  In reality, it was pretty one sided, even if BG did make a run to steal the game late.

It is close whether the 18 point home loss to #312 Bellarmine or this loss is worse....but it's pretty bad either way.  EMU came in ranked #332 and, as mentioned 2-9 in MAC play.  True, BG is without Towns, Smith and Felt....but this was one you needed when you see the next two opponents.

It was pretty bad right from the drop.  Acuff was unconscious...with 11 minutes left in the half, EMU was up 20-9 and Acuff had 15 points.  The lead stayed over 10 most of the way until halftime.  BG had it to 6 with 5:23 left when Acuff answered with a 2FG.  BG had it to 7 inside the last minute and with a stop might have done something, but they did not get the stop and went to halftime down 9.

It was a dreadful half for BG, who shot 26% overall and 14% from 3FG against a 2-3 zone that had me thinking Rob Murphy was still in the building. BG was also 6-10 at the line.

The second half started even worse.  Three minutes in, the lead was 15.  BG rallied a little, went on a 12-2 run to get the lead to 5.  A stop would have played well at this point, but Acuff hit a 3FG instead and a couple minutes later the lead was 10. With 9:17 left BG had it down to 3, but EMU split a pair of FTs, got a stop and Acuff hit a 3 to make it 7.  

BG was down 8 with 3 minutes left.  BG went to full court pressure and was actually effective at it. With 1:53 Philip knocked the lead to 6 and then hit a transition layup off a turnover to make it 4 with 1:41 left.  Unfortunately, those were the last points BG would score.  There's a blocked shot, missing the front end of a 1-1, a highly questionable charge on Agee off a backcourt turnover, etc.  EMU won 69-60.

The lead was never one possession with BG having the ball in the second half.

BG shot 42% overall and 33% from 3FG in the second half, which was better but still really poor. The difference was that EMU shot similar numbers for the second half, which ended up tied.

BG ended up with .88 points per possession, which is just terrible. It's WORSE than the Louisiana game.  EMU finished at 1.01, which is not great but approaching average at least.

Shooting decided the game.  BG had the edge on turnovers, rebounding was pretty close as were FT attempts until the end.  BG made only 10 of 19 FTs.

The thing is, EMU was the easiest team to shoot against in the MAC coming in...and BG made nothing.  



Acuff ended up with 35 of 7 of 10 2FG shooting and 5 of 11 from 3FG, 5 of 11 at the line and 10 rebounds.

Marcus Hill had his streak of 20 points games broken.  He had 19, but it was rough.  He was 5 of 15 from 2FG and 1-5 from 3FG.  That's a victory for the EMU defense. Also 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 turnover.

Thomas had 13, but similar to Hill, had 1 of 4 from 2FG and 3 of 8 from 3FG.

Tough night for Agee (13 rebounds though), Spurgin and Greer.

So, BG is now 7-5 in MAC play, with their next games @CMU and hosting UT.  As I watch this, CMU is up 25 on WMU at McGuirk.

Staring down the barrel at 7-7.  They hold a 3 game lead over the last team out, BSU, with 6 to play.  You'd like to get yourself to #5 so you can have a better shot at making the semis, but that's looking tough.

BG's lost 4 of the last 6 in MAC play. Their kenpom is 247.  BG finished last year at 286.

BG is short-handed and I think might be having some fatigue catch up to them.  In addition, they might have been a little ahead of schedule early, and those chickens are coming home to roost.  I still like our direction, but I think we are seeing it is going to be a little more of a process than we hoped after those first MAC games.

But today's loss is an absolute disaster.  EMU was down 2 starters...just a season-wrecker.

Friday, February 16, 2024

EMU, MBB, Part Deux

Next up, the Eagles.  Part II.

BG now faces the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the first team BG has played twice this season. 

They were picked 11th in the MAC, which is where they are right now.  BG has now beaten them 9 straight and 10 of 11.

They came to BG at 7-5 and 5-5 in D1 games, ranked #305 in the nation.  BG won that one in OT, and EMU is 2-10 since that date, 2-9 in MAC play. They beat Kent in YPSI, also in OT, and then beat UB in YPSI.  They have fallen to 336 entering this game.

As mentioned, the first game went to OT at the Stroh.  BG trailed by 8 at the half and needed a stop in regulation to force OT, which they got and they needed another one to clinch the win, with Hill blocking an Acuff shot to close it out.

While exciting at the time, subsequent events suggest it was closer than it needed to be.  BG fell 12 spots in kenpom with the win.

The stats were as close as you would expect.  The difference was fouls.  EMU committed 29 fouls, which is amazing--there are no tactical catch-up fouls in there.  BG made 24 of 38 at the line, (63%) and EMU made 9 of 14.

It is the most FTs BG has made (tied) and taken in a D1 game this year.  BG is #44 in the nation in FTs attempted per game.  BG got to the line 42 times last year against Morgan State, the highest for the year in the MAC.

The game had the top two scorers in the MAC facing off.  Tyson Acuff had 31 and Hill had 35, as the battle lived up to the billing.  Agee had 19 and 11.


Since then...

Hill now leads the MAC in scoring, in MAC games and all games. In MAC games, Acuff is now #5.

They have played without Julius Ellerbe, who started the BG game, for the last 5 contests.

The Eagles are 11th in offensive and defensive efficiency.  They are last in shooting and defending the shot.  They are the worst 3FG shooting and the worst 2FG defense. They are decent on most other things, though they are last in getting to the line and 11th in FT shooting.  They get only 14% of their points at the line...nationally it is 18%.

As mentioned, Acuff is having more issues in MAC games.  His shooting is down to 48% on 2FG and 20% on 3FGs, of which he has tried 64.  He also leads the team with 3 assists per game. Orlando Lovejoy scores 10.4 PPG on 48% 2FG shooting, also not great. Jalin Billingsley leads the team with 4.9 RPG.

Kenpom has BG winning at 66% and ESPN at 76%.  This is one BG needs to win.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Long Day in the Cajundome

 Woof.  Probably one of those days you'd rather forget.

It started OK.  BG was making some shots and had a four-point lead at parts of the early first half.  BG led by 2 with 10 minutes left. 22-20  86-60  For the next 30 minutes, BG was outscored 66-38. The Cajuns had a 10-point lead in the last minute of the first half and the game was a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.  BG trailed by as much as 28 on their way to a 26-point defeat.

Remember, this is the second-best team BG has played, after Akron, according to Kenpom.

It was a long day in Acadiana.  But if I need a trial lawyer down there, I got a firm.

The game went off at 65 possessions, which is slow for us.  In fact, BG seemed to be trying to slow it down, with Hill dribbling out shot clocks in the first half in the high 1-4.  BG had .92 points per possession, their 4th worst of the season and only time under 1 point per possession since MAC play started.

Remember, ULL is 2nd in the country in 3FG% and they do force turnovers.  In this game, BG shot 19% from 3FG (worst of the year) and had 21% turnovers, which was the worst since the WKU game. So, they did what they do.  BG made 56% from 2FG, which is pretty good, but took 38% of their shots from 3FG.  I was hoping for something more in the range of the 24% they took against UB. Our offensive rebounding was decent, but BG got to the line only 14 times and made only 8.

Louisiana meanwhile torched the BG defense.  Their 1.32 points per possession was BG's worst game of the year. They made 60% from 2FG (second worst) and 50% from 3FG (third worst).  They maximized their shots by taking care of the ball.  They didn't get much on the offensive boards and only got to the line 15 times but made 11.

 


Marcus Hill continues to be a stud for the Falcons. He had 22 on 10 of 15 2FG and 0 of 2 on 3FG.  He has six rebounds, but 21 assists over 4 turnovers. Agee had 14 on 5 of 7 shooting, 7 rebounds and five turnovers. The rest, including Thomas, Spurgin and Greer, it wasn't their night.

The good news is that this one doesn't count.  Next up is @EMU and then a tougher one @CMU.  BG is playing a short rotation (Sam Towns was DNP) and has lost 4 of 6.  They will need to find a way to rally to stay where they are in the standings.  It has been a fun year...no complaints.