Mark Schmidt’s Bonnies downed Fordham yesterday at home while 2/3 of the Bona Blog staff were enjoying themselves out in Philly at the 76ers game. The Bonnies used a big second half to earn the 66-52 win, a victory that marked their third win in a row and forth in their last five games. SBU will now enter the A10 tournament as the 7 seed thanks to a Dayton loss and a Davidson win. The Bonnies will play St. Joe’s at 6:30 on Thursday night with the winner advancing to face number 2 seed Dayton on Friday. SBU has already beaten the Hawks twice this season. The 17 wins prior to the conference tournament are the most under Schmidt since the 2012 season where the Bonnies won the league. With the game being at night I’d expect a good number of Bonnies fans in the building.
I have to say this is a fantastic job by Schmidt and his team. Entering this season I predicted SBU would win 16 games and felt I was being a tad bullish on them. Shane predicted 17 wins and Vinny went with 18. For this team, as thin as they are, to have gone 10-8 in the A10 and finish 7th after being picked 11(not that I care about those things much) is incredibly impressive. Sure, the league is down this year and thus finishing 7th is not as impressive today as it would have been last year but it’s still something to feel good about. If it weren’t for a pair or bad losses in the non-conference the Bonnies would likely be an NIT team right now.
It’s the same story year after year with Schmidt and his boys: the media as a whole thinks they’ll basically stink and every year all they do is overachieve. I love the fact that these type of seasons don’t stun fans anymore and are more or less expected. In a season where others told me SBU couldn’t finish .500 I pegged them for 16 wins…they got 17 and can still go get more. We saw great play from a freshman point guard, consistent play from Dion Wright, Andell got better and better as the year went along, Ndoye had moments of brilliance and newcomer Marcus Posley proved to be a capable scorer and big time closer.
When you consider that Jordan Gathers never came back for this team and they lost their point guard for the final seven games of the season I think you’d have to say this is Schmidt’s best coaching job. The 2012 team won 17 games heading into Atlantic City, but they also had a near NBA lottery pick too. This team doesn’t have one player with half of Nicholson’s talent, had far less depth yet still found a way to end the regular season five games over .500. It will be interesting to see if they can down St. Joe’s three times in one year (SBU is clearly the better team but three wins in a row is not easy) and then throw their best punches at Dayton…hopefully with Jay Adams.
A final thought: If SBU wins two games, gets to 19-12 and is playing Saturday do AD’s start calling Schmidt’s agent again? It wouldn’t shock me. Schmidt should have been offered the BC job but they were fools and went in another direction, a huge win for SBU. But if Schmidt pulls a few more rabbits out of his hat in Brooklyn there’s a chance he could coach himself into a more lucrative deal elsewhere.