We finally made it. Although there weren’t as many cancellations as we probably would have liked, the season is quickly drawing to a close. There were certainly plenty of low points this year, catastrophic losses that tested the entire fanbase’s resolve, the mysterious mid-year departure of Dirt Road Johnson (again!), a seemingly never ending barrage of sketchy illnesses and injuries, and enough questionable coaching decisions to last a lifetime. But we survived.
Mostly you’ll remember the defeats. Fordham (FORDHAM!), La Salle and even St. Joe’s had its way with the Flyers this season. Each loss was an increasingly brutal kick to the ribcage. For the first time since the Flyers joined the A10 in 1995, UD found a way to lose to each of the bottom three teams in the league. After a season we will never forget, we endured a season we hope to bury in the recesses of our minds forever. For many, it was a reminder that not all the glitters is gold — the 2019-20 season managed to unfortunately skew perceptions and expectations for this program, this year served as a bitter wakeup call. For the rest of us, our worst fears were realized. All the momentum from the Toppin Show dissipated quickly, Dayton was so far off the national radar it crashed and burned. All that was left were some smoldering sweater vests and half-eaten boxes of Lee’s Chicken.
But that’s behind us now. The sweet release of death is near, we can say goodbye to UD basketball for the time being and come back to a fresh new season and roster in October.
BUT FIRST, OLEAN!!!!
Saint Bonaventure may be a lot of things: the worst academic institution in the conference, a place where Italians too dumb too get into a SUNY school congregate in sweatpants and work boots, a place where dreams don’t die because they never existed. However, now we can, reluctantly, add “A10 Kung Flu Regular Season Champions” to the SBU nomenclature. Good luck the rest of the way, Bona.
Guys, let’s not get bogged down with a substantive roster background. The first thing you’ll note is that the Bonnies don’t have a single gotdamn senior on the squad — which indicates that SBU has the recipe for a very for an extremely pleasing season next year. Part of Bona’s success this year can be attributed to their multi-prong attack (we are talking five prongs!). Mark Schmidt’s team has five guys averaging double-digit scoring, with Kyle Lofton (14.8 ppg) and Jaren Holmes (14.6 ppg) leading the way.
Osun Osuniniyi (10.0 ppg/8.9 rpg) is back patrolling the paint for the Bonnies. He’s still 6’10” and he’s swatting shots with impunity. While Osun is not really capable of stretching the floor, his energy around the rim will doubtlessly cause the Dayton defense some headaches. (I think more people should be given first names that are simply the first four letters of their last name : President Bide Biden, Dayton head coach Gran Grant, mid-major blogger Blac Blackburn. I assume Osun’s family is originally from Nigeria, where most of the time is spent mutilating female genitalia, not parsing through baby name books, so the lack of a creative forename is understandable).
Additionally, I’m completely flummoxed by this entry is Osun’s bio:
He is the “son to his mother Bobbi, father Fogbenro and his wife Cassandra?” Is Osun the son of his own wife? Is he the son of Fogbenro’s second wife? Who is Bobbie Walker, the surrogate? Is this simply a poorly written excerpt, or the cast of characters in a Chaz Bono fronted mini-series?
While it is true that St. Bonaventure is a not a three-point crazed constantly rushing to the arc to get a shot off, the Bonnies shoot a more than commendable 37% from deep. This is an indication of a well-coached team, not like those maniacs at St. Joe’s who apparently believe that the “Seven Seconds” offense dictates that whomever has the ball needs to get a shot up as soon as they cross midcourt (it did work wonders against your Flyers though, tbf). Is Mark Schmidt the best coach in the Atlantic Ten? Probably. Will UD give up at least ten offensive rebounds tonight? Likely. Is St. Bonaventure an absolutely terrible investment for your future? YES!! Check out this mind blowing statistical comparison:
Good gracious, look at the piddling ROI!!!!, you’d be better off getting your welding license than going to St. Bonaventure. While Dayton costs more than Bonaventure, the return for your buck is almost THREE TIMES as much!! I’m putting a MAJOR BUY rating on Dayton University! (The fact that Bona costs around 40K less than Dayton and yet their students take out a bigger loan nut might tell you a little something about your average SBU student’s socio-economic background. They’re…um….blue-collar….salt of the earth….a bunch of real clean potatoes…)
Although look at poor Voorhees College:
Jason moves away from Camp Crystal Lake, tries to get a fresh start by opening a college with his mother and it’s a fucking disaster. That guy can’t do anything right.
Matt, you were a saint for analyzing the worst Atlantic Ten in history. There’s a special place in heaven for you, buddy. Now, take the people out with the Bona breakdown, because we want to close this thing out with our head’s held high. There’s no quitting at the BBR, just lots and lots of procrastinatin’ and half-assin’.
The finish line is near, friends. Dayton surely will be wondering just why they have to make the trip up north to the land of the Yeti while explaining to Moose Amzil why he can’t bring his Tupperware of Poronkäristys on the bus this trip, as it will only attract the smelly beast the resides around but not actually in Olean. The Bonnies have locked down the Atlantic 10 title, while there is a 77.4% chance the Flyers will slot into the 8th spot in the league, with a date with the Duquesne Dukes in Richmond on the horizon. The Flyers could theoretically slide to as high as 6th in the table if the chips fall their way, but those chances are slim and the Flyers hopes of a miracle run through the A10 tournament seem slim.
The numbers certainly support the Bonnies ascension to the top of the conference this season. With most prognosticators putting the Bonnies solidly into the field of 64, there is little to gain for Mark Schmidt’s squad from giving his regular starters much burn against the Flyers Monday. While Schmidt’s starting 5 has talent to match up with most teams in the country, the drop off once you get into the Bonaventure bench is steep. The Bonnies bench has played in 13.9% of available minutes this season, 347th highest among all Division 1 sides. With seeding locked up and a March Madness birth virtually locked up, I suspect that Bonnies bench will see the most time they have this season.
So while we might not see the Bonnies at full strength Monday, given they would likely be waiting to thwart any Cinderella story the Flyers were looking to put together, let’s see what makes them tick. St. Bonaventure have been excellent on both sides of the ball this season, with their 111.9 offensive rating third in the A10 and their 93.3 defensive rating second best in the conference. On offense, the Bonnies work best when they are working methodically in the half court. They are averaging 65.2 possessions per game and typically take 18.6 seconds on each possession, which rank 326th and 308th in the country. The Bonnies use patient movement and passing effectively on offense, with 12.6% of their possessions involving cuts, the highest of any A10 team.
Their effectiveness off the ball has helps to bring out the best in multiple St. Bonaventure players this season. Kyle Lofton has seemed to lead the Bonnies in his three years in the general vicinity of Olean, but the emergence of Jaren Holmes, Dominick Welch and Jalen Adaway as potent scoring threats has put the Bonnies on another level. Holmes and Welch make their mark from the perimeter shooting 44.9% and 43% from three-point range respectively. Adaway is dangerous going to the basket, where he takes 56.2% of his shots and scores 1.32 points per possession. Adaway also feasts on second chance points, as he pulls down an offensive rebound on 8.5% of opportunities. Lofton has become one of the better distributors in the A10 this season, assisting on 27.5% of his possessions. While Lofton is average scoring at the rim and below average from the perimeter, he is frequently earning trips to the free throw line as illustrated by his 41.3% free throw rate.
On the other side of the ball, St. Bonaventure’s fifth starter Osun Osunniyi anchors the stout Bonnies defense. So far this season, Bona’s opponents have scored 1 point per possession on shots at the rim and that largely has to do with Osunniyi. The 6’10” junior has a 9.1% block rate, 30th among all D1 players. Most teams don’t even bother trying to score at the rim against the Bonnies, with 45.9% of field goal attempts against St. Bonaventure coming from behind the three-point line. Teams being forced to shoot from deep have struggled converting their numerous opportunities, only hitting 30.2% of their attempts from the perimeter. Dayton has shot 39.13% from deep in their last five games, so any hopes of an upset will need to see that trend continue.
I actually like Dayton’s chance in this one because the Bonnies wrapped up the regular season title (and its requisite #1 seed) with an absolute trouncing of George Washington last weekend. There is no rational explanation for why this game is being played, none. Traveling to Olean is bad enough, going there with nothing on the line is a punishment befitting no crime I can think of. Is there a motivation angle to this game? Will Bona cut minutes from their starters, will the Bonnies go through the motions with the knowledge this contest holds no meaning?
I don’t think so. While it’s true St. Bonaventure’s NCAA Tournament ticket is all but punched, a loss to Dayton is the unnecessary hurdle you don’t want to encounter. SBU is playing for seeding and trying to put a nice little bow on their regular season campaign. Frankly speaking, if you watched the Dayton/St. Joe’s track meet last week, it seemed that enthusiasm might have been an issue for your Flyers. I’m not entirely sure a trip to Olean with the prospect of dropping to 8-8 in the league is going to raise the Cagers’ sprits. Nevertheless, expect a sluggish game with the Bonnies comfortably slipping away at the ten minute mark. Bona 75, Daytona 68. #LOWD