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Behind Enemy Lines: Dartmouth

The Opponent: Dartmouth (12-16) last season in the Ivy League.

The Brief Rundown: Dartmouth returns four starters from a club that win 12 games last year which is a pretty crappy season by almost all measures in college hoops except for Dartmouth, it was the most games they’ve won in the last 15 years. Needless to say, they are feeling good about themselves heading into 2014-2015 however misguided their feelings may or may not be. They are a patient offensive club by all indications and spent their summer in Italy which helps any team get better quicker…Boy it would be nice if the Bonnies could ever take a foreign trip…In the last five years the Big Green have won 5, 5, 5, 9 and 12 games respectively so to say this a program with a losing culture would be a gross understatement. Dartmouth didn’t learn to win last season at 12 wins, they merely began to compete against teams in the Ivy League. I’ve seen other Bonnies fans “worried” about this game due to the fact that they bring back four starters…Those people need some context. They’re brining back four starters on a team that won double digit games for the first time in six years. This is not a good team period. Are they awful? Probably not. Could they finish .500 in the Ivy? Maybe. But if our team of borderline high major talent and athletes cannot win this game at home…well, let’s just say it would be a bad, bad loss. This is a must win and expect to win game. If the game is hanging in the balance with under 8 minutes to play I will be surprised.

Starters Returning from Last Year: 4

Their Best Player, AKA “The Known”: Gabas Maldunas (11.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks) a 6-9 senior center. Maldunas tore his ACL last year and when he did his team was 7-8, so they essentially tanked when he went down. He has a good spin move in the post and is more of a finesse player than a power one. He dropped 23 and six on Harvard last season so he’s proven he can play and score against a quality team. We’re assuming he’s 100% healthy for the game.

Their Glaring Weakness: Lack of experience winning games and athleticism. Dartmouth isn’t a small team considering they’re coming from the Ivy, they’ll roll out guys who are 6-9, 6-7,6-6,6-10, 6-7, 6-8 and so on. Generally the Bonnies would have a decided advantage in height but that won’t be the case Saturday. Where the Big Green could be hurt is their ability to win in a close game on the road against a superior team of athletes. Dartmouth won four road games last season against Maine, New Hampshire, Brown and Yale; winning at the RC Saturday is something totally different. And while they may have the size to body up guys on the glass, they will not have the athletes to fully contain guys like Ndoye, Jalen Adams, Gregg and our point guard duo.

Their Good Stat (s): Offensive Rebounding. Last year they ranked 11th in the nation grabbing an offensive board on a ridiculous 27% of possessions. Part of that is great rebounding, part is missing a lot of shots and part is luck. Either way, that’s a hell of a number.

Their Bad Stat (s):Dartmouth allowed foes in the Ivy to shoot 44% against them from the field last year, second worst in the league. Their effective field goal percentage was 274th (51.9%) worst in the country as they allowed teams to shoot 37.5% from three and 49.6% from two.

How They Can Win: If they force us to turn it over more than say 15 times, they kill us on the offensive glass and the Bonnies settle for long jumpers and three pointers early and often. They would also benefit in a major way from Dion or Youssou getting two quick fouls in the first half.

How the Bonnies Can Win: Well, the opposite of what’s above. We need to value the basketball better than we did against Mansfield which means trying to keep the give aways under say 12? If we limit them to one-and-done possessions and go inside as our first option in the half court there’s only a very slim chance we lose this game. Getting Dion and Youssou touches around the rim will give them major issues and if they help (which they’ll have to) our guards, Posley and the Adams Brothers, needs to knock down their jumpers against a sagging defense. When we get rebounds, push the ball hard in transition and use our athleticism to put up easy points.

The Almighty KenPom Predicts: A 75-65 win and gives the Bonnies an 84% chance of winning.

Bonus: Rumor on the internet is many Dartmouth athletes were busted in a cheating scandal recently. Should not impact our game however.

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A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.