What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

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What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby Antimob » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:26 pm

The men's basketball schedule was roundly criticized when it came out for not featuring enough so-called "power" teams, instead including teams largely in our same boat with similar resources and recruiting profiles. All it did was position the basketball team for their best success in almost 20 years. Instead of setting the team up to fail by pitting them against programs with 5 times the budget/resources and destroying their confidence, they played teams with comparable resources that allowed them the space and time to develop their style and build confidence.

You still had St. John's and VCU, with more resources and larger recruiting budgets posing a challenge, but they were a small part of the schedule rather than the dominant element.

Toledo starts 2018 playing at home winning 66-3 against a winless FCS team while we had to play at Oregon only to be followed by two other Big Ten teams. In 2016 Toledo did not play one Power 5 team and has played just one each the past two years. For the next 3 years we've got 2 road games against Power 5 teams each year.

Teams that win need to have administrations that give them a fair chance to win.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby factman » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:56 pm

Basketball is a bit different than football. I believe basketball (coaches etc) pretty much make their own schedule, with minimal input from AD etc.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby hammb » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:45 am

So many apples to oranges here. For starters basketball doesn't have to play "money games" solely to TRY and make ends meet.

Secondly the basketball schedule was not criticized for featuring enough power teams. IT was not loaded up on teams with similar resources and recruiting profiles. It was loaded up with teams that are tiers below us. Again, apples to oranges as in football the MAC is already the dregs of D1A so the only way to schedule "down" is to go to 1AA. Still, in hoops we played multiple D2 teams. The MAC is currently in the top 10 RPI conferences and should typically expect to be in the top 15 conferences. I don't mind playing the occasional Horizon League, given the geographic proximity, but it is a decidedly lesser conference than the MAC. And we played 3 teams from that league this year. And we added teams from the MEAC, Southern, and Big South conferences as well. That's a lot of games against bottom tier D1 to go along with multiple D2 games. And we didn't even play the GOOD teams from most of those conferences...St. Johns & VCU are the only D1 teams we played OOC that currently have winning records.

It would be nearly impossible for our football team to schedule as weak a schedule as the basketball team did, but that OOC schedule would be something along the lines of playing 2 FCS teams at home with maybe a game against a team picked to finish last in the Sun Belt and maybe one against a middle of the pack WAC team. That schedule should absolutely NOT be the goal of our football program (nor the basketball program!)

Moreover, if we're using basketball as an example of how to advance the program, we have a decade or more of evidence that this does little to help. Basketball has been putting together weakass OOC schedules like this for years. We haven't played a quality OOC schedule in forever. Throughout the Orr & Huger years (and later Dakich years) we've loaded up on these crap OOC schedules in an effort to make our overall record look better, but then are mediocre or worse when MAC season rolls around. If anything, I'd argue that we've seen these weak OOC schedules in basketball do us more harm than good by NOT testing the team and not adequately preparing them for the rigors of MAC play. Yeah, this year it's worked out. They worked out the kinks against a bunch of lower tier competition (lost to quite a few of those bad teams before they figured it out), and now they're playing some good basketball.

Nothing about the basketball scheduling habits really apply to football, and I couldn't disagree more that this year's basketball schedule was a smart move for them either. The quality of OOC schedule has little to nothing to do with the team finally figuring it out.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby Antimob » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:29 pm

Argument one: basketball doesn't have to play money games.

Neither does BG. They play a money game, singular. Always have and always will. That's not the dispute. It's the other ones, the gratuitous ones we don't need, the extra game at Kansas State when you're already playing at Notre Dame, the extra game at Georgia Tech when you already play Oregon and Maryland. They play those due to lazy scheduling, self-flagellation or a combination of both.

Argument two: you can't schedule "low" like basketball can.

While not conceding we have necessarily scheduled low, we clearly can follow a similar model in football. Toledo does it every single year. The MAC is ahead of the Sun Belt and at least on par reputation-wise with Conference USA. You've got them and the FCS to draw from, and the upper-level FCS teams have repeatedly shown they can compete successfully with those in the Power 5. That's a enormously wide net to pick 3 games from (conceding the 4th will be a money game).

Argument three: basketball has always had similarly weak non-conference schedules.

No they have not. Since 2012 we've played Michigan State, Xavier, Wisconsin, USF (when they were in the Big East), Dayton, a ranked Cincinnati and perennial NCAA teams Murray St. and Florida Gulf Coast. No-one on this year's schedule fits that bill, with St. John's being the closest.

Argument four: playing a weak OOC schedule does not prepare you for conference play.

Again, a totally false assumption disproven time and time again, most recently last Friday night at the Stroh Center. I'm glad you admit that the schedule has indeed been a benefit rather than a detriment to this years team. I contend that the same logic applies regardless of the year or sport. Smashing your head against the wall is less productive and less confidence building than playing games you've got a realistic chance to win. They build a team's momentum as players learn the best way to play together and become more receptive to coaching once positive results are achieved. Everyone from Michael Huger to the players have acknowledged this dynamic on this year's team and it's been widely acknowledged as the indispensable factor to the team's success.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby hammb » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:30 am

Argument one: basketball doesn't have to play money games.

Neither does BG. They play a money game, singular. Always have and always will. That's not the dispute. It's the other ones, the gratuitous ones we don't need, the extra game at Kansas State when you're already playing at Notre Dame, the extra game at Georgia Tech when you already play Oregon and Maryland. They play those due to lazy scheduling, self-flagellation or a combination of both.


If this program has sunken to the point that we should not schedule the likes of Kansas State and Georgia Tech than why even bother. They're mediocre at best Power5 teams. We should absolutely be playing at least one of them every year. Play your one "money" game that you know you'll get drilled. Play a mediocre P5 team that you should be able to compete with. Play 2 games against similar opponents (SunBelt, Mountain West, ConfUSA). If you must swap out one of those games for an FCS team at home.


Argument two: you can't schedule "low" like basketball can.

While not conceding we have necessarily scheduled low, we clearly can follow a similar model in football. Toledo does it every single year. The MAC is ahead of the Sun Belt and at least on par reputation-wise with Conference USA. You've got them and the FCS to draw from, and the upper-level FCS teams have repeatedly shown they can compete successfully with those in the Power 5. That's a enormously wide net to pick 3 games from (conceding the 4th will be a money game).


Again, you show your inability to grasp how very poor our basketball schedule was in relation to the MAC in basketball. Our basketball schedule this year (and previous years) would be the football equivalent to playing a game against Memphis and then 3 FCS teams for OOC football, including one or two of them on the road. Swap out the Memphis game for the "money" game, and are you seriously advocating for playing a bunch of FCS teams? Because that's what basketball did. Don't let the fact that hey played so horribly early on and lost a lot of those games delude you...a team with the talent to be 7-1 in the MAC absolutely should have gone 11-2 with that OOC slate.

Argument three: basketball has always had similarly weak non-conference schedules.

No they have not. Since 2012 we've played Michigan State, Xavier, Wisconsin, USF (when they were in the Big East), Dayton, a ranked Cincinnati and perennial NCAA teams Murray St. and Florida Gulf Coast. No-one on this year's schedule fits that bill, with St. John's being the closest.

Argument four: playing a weak OOC schedule does not prepare you for conference play.


You cherry pick a handful of good opponents, big deal. That amounts to like one a year. And in reality Dayton, Murray, and FGCU should not be considered "above our league" and they're certainly no more vaunted than St. John's or VCU we played this year. The goal should be to fill up your OOC schedule with at least 4-5 of these games, PLUS at least one game against a big time school like MSU, Xavier, etc.

We have absolutely been loading up with a creampuff OOC schedule for years, it's why our OOC records have been: 8-5, 9-5, 6-8, 11-5, 10-5, 6-8 over the last 5 years. In those years we've only managed one winning record in MAC play (this year should be the 2nd).

Again, a totally false assumption disproven time and time again, most recently last Friday night at the Stroh Center. I'm glad you admit that the schedule has indeed been a benefit rather than a detriment to this years team. I contend that the same logic applies regardless of the year or sport. Smashing your head against the wall is less productive and less confidence building than playing games you've got a realistic chance to win. They build a team's momentum as players learn the best way to play together and become more receptive to coaching once positive results are achieved. Everyone from Michael Huger to the players have acknowledged this dynamic on this year's team and it's been widely acknowledged as the indispensable factor to the team's success.

Again, one season. Huger's teams have gone 9-5, 6-8, 11-5 in OOC play the last 3 years and never managed more than 7 wins win MAC play. Glad it worked out this year, but scheduling patsies is hardly some panacea towards basketball greatness. Look at the OOC schedule Buffalo played this year. THAT should be the goal. No sense scheduling like that until you've established yourself, but that should be the eventual goal.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby Antimob » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:52 pm

I'm reading a lot of "the goal should be this, the goal should be that, the goal should be to play X amount of these teams, etc..." The goal should be to win. The goal should be to position yourself for optimal success versus your peer institutions in conference play. How does repeatedly and consistently getting destroyed before you play those games accomplish that? It doesn't. Ask the players. Ask the coaches.

It is not a coincidence that the lone year we schedule more reasonably the team finds a way to jell together, discover its strengths, establish positive momentum and gain confidence. Those are the essential elements of team sport success. Do we want our teams not to have confidence? To not listen to the coaches because what they're saying isn't translating to games? That's a recipe for disaster.

The basketball schedule isn't nearly as bad as you make it out to be. If you checked the basketball budgets of most of the schools we played they're a heck of a lot closer to ours than we are to Michigan State or Duke. That's not a bad thing.

Lastly, the Power 5 teams you dismiss as those we should beat and are on equal footing with have athletic budgets of $84.3 million (Georgia Tech) and $82.1 million (Kansas State). Our budget is $23.7 million. Sure, give it a shot once a year, but any BG fan with the expectation that we should be regularly playing and defeating these opponents is delusional and utterly divorced from the financial reality of college athletics.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby hammb » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:20 pm

You set the basketball bar way too low. If the goal is merely to win you can schedule your way to good win totals anytime you want. Again you are completely delusional saying stuff like, "the lone year we schedule more reasonably." Last year's OOC schedule was every bit as bad as this year's. We went 9-5 against that schedule then a whopping 7-11 in the MAC. Clearly scheduling patsies didn't lead to great conference success. In '15-'16 we again scheduled a totally patsy OOC schedule and rolled through to the tune of 9-4. Again it didn't help at all as we went 5-13 in the conference.

The goal for BG hoops should not be to merely win. The goal should be to become the premier program in the MAC. WE have the newest facility and the biggest endowment in the conference. We should set our goal at becoming a perennial conference contender and the goal every single team should be to compete for an NCAA tourney bid. Part of that is playing a schedule conducive to earning the respect of the selection committee and getting to the point of winning those games. In no way am I saying to load up on Duke and Kentucky, etc. But our goal should absolutely be to play more of the VCU and St. Johns games every year, and get to the point where those games are wins more times than not. Kent managed to become that program in the early 2000s. Buffalo is that program now. We have the basketball resources to do the same.

As for comparing our budget to our foes, your statement is just pointless. Of COURSE the budgets of our opponents are closer to ours than we are to Duke. Duke pays coach K something like 8 million dollars. The budgets of our opponents would have to be negative for your statement to NOT be true, because the curve upward is stark. Even still many of our opponents pay far less than the $325k we pay Huger. And that says nothing of the fact that I believe our basketball budget has been screwed over hardcore by the insistence on football. With the facility we have to play in and the Bill Frack donation our basketball budget should be the best in the MAC.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby Antimob » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:20 pm

You still think the schedule that set us up and positioned us for success this season is "bad." By definition is was demonstrably not. It has set us up to be 8-1 in the conference. You fail to address my central points about the role of confidence, momentum and receptiveness to coaching based on winning being key factors in propelling the team forward this year.

You cite 2 teams in the past 18 years as examples where playing a so-called "tougher" schedule was good, two teams filled with seniors that are extreme outliers that don't even fit the absurdly high scheduling bar you've set to begin with. That 2002 Kent team played Mercyhurst, Hofstra, Robert Morris, UC Irvine, Chatanooga, Youngstown State, Illinois State, Cleveland State and St. Bonaventure in addition to games at Xavier and Kentucky. By your standards you should have been criticizing them back then for playing a bunch of cupcakes and not challenging themselves more. You also fail to acknowledge the fact that outside of the Power 5 (and even including it, see UMBC/UVA last year) the talent in college basketball is more dispersed and evenly spread out than ever before. Turning your nose up at teams based on conference affiliation as you've done has never been more foolish and wrong.

Elite 8's are awesome, but let's crawl first before we challenge Usain Bolt in the 100 meter dash and not allow one example over the course of decades to completely blind us from reality. Most BG fans (including myself) would be ecstatic with a NCAA tournament bid, period. We're not wringing our hands wondering if our OOC schedule is good enough to warrant an at-large birth, something no MAC team has had since 1999. If you want to get absurdly ambitious do it after the program has established itself. You're setting an impossible standard and setting yourself up for massive disappointment otherwise.

In summary, winning is good, losing is bad, and we should play teams that don't have 5 times the resources we do.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby hammb » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:21 am

Antimob wrote:You still think the schedule that set us up and positioned us for success this season is "bad." By definition is was demonstrably not. It has set us up to be 8-1 in the conference. You fail to address my central points about the role of confidence, momentum and receptiveness to coaching based on winning being key factors in propelling the team forward this year.


I have addressed the point many times, and I'm done with this discussion because you are clearly cemented in this belief. You seem to think that the mediocre OOC schedule we played this year is a big, if not THE, reason why we are suddenly playing our best basketball of the past decade. I contend that the mediocre OOC schedule is, at the very best, a very small contributing factor to how we're currently playing. Changing 40% of the starting lineup, players finding roles, seniors taking over leadership but acquiescing to Turner, etc are all much larger factors.

In support of my point I've pointed out that:

A) we didn't even "build confidence" against our weak OOC schedule this year, we started off 5-5 before our hot streak happened.
B) we've got YEARS of evidence that playing weak OOC schedules, even in years that you DO rack up the wins, does very little to help you in MAC season
C) the evidence from B extends well beyond just BG, a good portion of the MAC has a history of scheduling very weak OOC teams to artificially build up win totals. Look just at this year's basement dwellers in the MAC, it's full of teams that racked up wins against weak OOC schedules, hasn't helped them.

You don't care. You have an axe to grind that BG should only schedule OOC games that they know they can/should win. I get it, we all want wins, but there is far more to building a basketball schedule than just scheduling games you should win.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby footballguy51 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:23 am

hammb wrote:
Antimob wrote:You still think the schedule that set us up and positioned us for success this season is "bad." By definition is was demonstrably not. It has set us up to be 8-1 in the conference. You fail to address my central points about the role of confidence, momentum and receptiveness to coaching based on winning being key factors in propelling the team forward this year.


I have addressed the point many times, and I'm done with this discussion because you are clearly cemented in this belief. You seem to think that the mediocre OOC schedule we played this year is a big, if not THE, reason why we are suddenly playing our best basketball of the past decade. I contend that the mediocre OOC schedule is, at the very best, a very small contributing factor to how we're currently playing. Changing 40% of the starting lineup, players finding roles, seniors taking over leadership but acquiescing to Turner, etc are all much larger factors.

In support of my point I've pointed out that:

A) we didn't even "build confidence" against our weak OOC schedule this year, we started off 5-5 before our hot streak happened.
B) we've got YEARS of evidence that playing weak OOC schedules, even in years that you DO rack up the wins, does very little to help you in MAC season
C) the evidence from B extends well beyond just BG, a good portion of the MAC has a history of scheduling very weak OOC teams to artificially build up win totals. Look just at this year's basement dwellers in the MAC, it's full of teams that racked up wins against weak OOC schedules, hasn't helped them.

You don't care. You have an axe to grind that BG should only schedule OOC games that they know they can/should win. I get it, we all want wins, but there is far more to building a basketball schedule than just scheduling games you should win.


To build on this, scheduling for basketball and football are two totally different approaches. First, football is expensive, so we are almost forced to play some money games to balance the budget. Basketball, by comparison, is inexpensive. Second, basketball has a ton of schools in a small geographic footprint that are the same division as them, thus contributing to the lower expense. Notice we don't play UC Santa Barbara in basketball; we don't have to. In football, our geographic footprint consists of the MAC, a handful of Power 5 teams (you know, the ones that pay you $$), and FCS or lower schools. So, we are forced to travel farther for football, and that costs money. Since it costs money, we need to make some money on those road trips, especially when you realize that we aren't exactly breaking even financially on home games.

Everything you propose would make perfect since in a different financial state. However, given where we exist financially, we need to play a minimum of one money game each year just to hope to break even; generally, it will take two of those games. Maybe, just maybe, you'll win one of those big games and the nation will take notice. We've beaten Purdue, Maryland, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Northwestern and Minnesota in recent years, and I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. Appalachian State beat Michigan, and EVERYBODY still remembers Appalachian State for that game. You get the money to play the game, and if you win you hit the big screen. If you don't, you don't lose respect because everybody assumed you would lose. It's just the nature of the game.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby Antimob » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:23 pm

It's tough to argue because I don't accept many of the premises you're trying to establish.

Our schedule was not "weak," "bargain basement," "soft" or any other pejorative you wish to apply. Soft compared to what? The Persian Army? It was more heavily populated than normal with institutions with resources and budgets commensurate to ours, either slightly below or slightly above, exactly as it should be.

I'm not arguing for playing weak teams we're guaranteed to beat and building up a false sense of confidence. I am arguing for giving us a fair, fighting chance to win and not stuck in the role of the underdog in every (or just about) every game we play. You cannot name a single college or professional team that has won a championship when they were the underdog in every single game they played. If that's what you want for BG you are a masochist, and an unrealistic one at that.

In terms of the football team, they are not a Russian call-girl to be sold out to the highest bidder. One money game a year is challenging yourself and helping the budget. Two and three amounts to prostitution, and some very frank conversations need to happen with the President and Board of Trustees if that is the only plan they can devise for the athletic department to sustain itself. It's simply not worth the cost even putting aside the fundamental unfairness of it. A successful winning team that gets off to a fast start, maybe finds itself ranked and starts accruing the notoriety that comes with the ranking is worth 5 times more than the 600K Georgia Tech or somebody else is willing to pay in both the short and long term.

Administrations that win are administrations that make decisions that are in the best interests of the program, not the best interests of whatever other masters they're looking to serve.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby mbenecke » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:50 pm

Just some late night thinking, but I think the ideal BG non-conference men's basketball schedule would be something like:

@ Ohio State (play it at St. John Arena!)
@ Oakland
@ Indiana/Purdue/Notre Dame
@ Green Bay
@ UCF
@ Detroit-Mercy
@ Penn/Drexel
vs. FGCU
vs. Marshall
vs. Cleveland State
vs. Wright State
vs. Dayton
vs. Xavier/Cincinnati

It has some road challenges, it has a couple of marquee home match-ups against equal or greater competition, and it would be a manageable challenge for this team to get 8 or 9 wins. I think scheduling some Horizon League teams like Cleveland State, Wright State, Oakland, Green Bay, and Detroit Mercy would be good for us. Most of those are relatively close games, so it would be good for both home game crowds and for fans who may want to travel to see the team on the road. Maybe this schedule has a little bit too much of that league on it, but I think that those types of games are what we should be striving for as opposed to more D2-level games. I like the idea of a marquee in-state school like Xavier or Cincinnati coming here every year, because that would be a great crowd and it would be a big win for our program in terms of recruiting. Overall, I just feel like this schedule would prepare us for MAC competition and beyond better than what we currently play.

Conference breakdown, with a rough estimate because of "varying" opponents:
B1G/ACC - 2
Horizon - 5
C-USA - 1
A-SUN - 1
A-10 - 1
Ivy/CAA - 1
Big East/American - 2
BGSU '20. Roll Along!
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby Flipper » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:39 am

Administrations that win are administrations that make decisions that are in the best interests of the program, not the best interests of whatever other masters they're looking to serve.

I'm sorry...are you suggesting that the University should exist to serve the football team? If that's where your head is...move to Columbus.
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Re: What Moose Can (But Won't) Learn From Basketball Success

Postby Antimob » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:26 pm

Flipper wrote:Administrations that win are administrations that make decisions that are in the best interests of the program, not the best interests of whatever other masters they're looking to serve.

I'm sorry...are you suggesting that the University should exist to serve the football team? If that's where your head is...move to Columbus.


Don't be sorry. I was referring to the athletic administration specifically but a President that recognizes and values the role of athletics is even more essential (FWIW, I believe President Rogers does understand this). John Calipari once famously said that coaches win games while administrations win championships. If decisions are made that reflect a disinterest or ambivalence toward competitive success then Division I is not our place.
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