RECON: vs. Davidson (8-3) Saturday 1/2, 8 p.m.
Date & Time: 1/2/16 8:00 p.m.
Records: Davidson 8-3, St. Bonaventure 8-3
Venue: Reilly Center, St. Bonaventure, NY
Watch: American Sports Network/SNY/A10 App
The Opponent: The Davidson Wildcats visit the Reilly Center this Saturday as both teams will square off in their respective Atlantic 10 openers. Davidson is 8-3 this season and are guided by Head Coach Bob McKillop. McKillop has compiled a 490-301 record in his time at Davidson. McKillop has gotten his Davidson program up to speed in the A10 by finishing 1st in the regular season and earning the programs’ first ever at large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Davidson for quick measure is 39th in the nation in PPG at 81.7 and also are tied for 65th in the nation in made three point field goals this season.
Last Time: February 2015, one of the finer moments in recent Bonaventure Basketball history. St. Bonaventure went on the road and played some gritty road college basketball to come away with a 62-61 win. Marcus Posley finished with 19 points and none were finer than his final two. Check out the video below for a refresher.
The Skinny on Davidson: Davidson was picked to finish 3rd this season in the A10 according to the pre-season poll. They also garnered six 1st place votes but edged out by Dayton and Rhode Island. Davidson returns 4 starters from last years squad and feature two selections to the all conference teams in Jack Gibbs and Brian Sullivan. Davidson has played a trio of tough non-conference games (UNC, Pitt, Cal) this year that have resulted in their three losses on the season. All three games were blow out losses but playing those types of teams tells you what Davidson thinks of their program. Davidson is willing to take their lumps against “Power 5” conferences to prepare for the difficult A10 conference schedule. Davidson has a program that is trending upward and could be a team that is consistently at the top of the A10 standings come March of each year.
Screen grabs courtesy of Bbstate.com
The Path to Victory: It’s simple, the Bonnies have to be a better rebounding team than their opponents going forward. Davidson and the Bonnies are tied for 260th nationally in RPG. The Bonnies are second in the A1o in offensive rebounding and that trend has to continue in order to stop a high tempo offense like Davidson’s. Davidson features two very skilled guards in Jack Gibbs and Brian Sullivan, more on Gibbs later, but the Davidson Wildcats very rarely turn the ball over. So winning the offensive glass is essentially like taking possessions away from a team that wants to break out for quick shots. The Bonnies have been adept at generating turnovers with pressure defense as well. Playing a team that rarely turns the ball over will be a nice test to see whether or not the pressure defense and the occasional 1-3-1 is as good as advertised. Whatever team can keep with their trends will win this game. On paper, these two teams stack up in a very similar fashion and the team that can execute their game plan will be victorious.
The Known (their best players):
Jack Gibbs and Brian Sullivan are both guards and both key pieces to why Davidson can score the basketball from all spots on the floor. For times sake, we will focus on Jack Gibbs although Brian Sullivan will be heard from all game long. His statistical profile will be attached below to take a provide a snapshot of where he stands on paper.
Jack Gibbs is first in the A10 this year in scoring at 24.6 PPG. That number is also good for 4th in the nation for scoring. Gibbs will look to score and score often has he has surpassed the 30 point mark four times already this year. Some concern for the Bonnies is that Gibbs is coming off his worst scoring game of the year against California in which he only score 7 points. Davidson was outclassed and Gibbs was clearly taken out of the game plan by the Cal defense. Gibbs will be looking to get back on track against a Bonnies team who in the past has had trouble defending the arc in A10 play. Mark Schmidt would be wise to employ the stretch 1-3-1 press that uses Dion Wright at the top to draw pressure. Thanks to Ian Nolan and his statistical nuggets, The Bonnies rank 37th in nation in generating turnovers and will need to use this type of pressure to their advantage to get Gibbs off his game, keep his scoring down and turn the ball over. Gibbs has a 1.1 A/TO ratio and turned the ball over 10 times against Morehead State this season. Gibbs is a scorer but seems to either be extremely hot or extremely average. Which one will show up in the Reilly Center Saturday?
Jack Gibbs Statistical Profile:
Brian Sullivan Statistical Profile:
The Gut Feeling:
This is tough test right off the bat for both clubs. The Bonnies seem to always be viewed as bottom dwellers to fans around the league but to coaches, the Bonnies are a team that you don’t want to play due to Mark Schmidt always having his team prepared. Not to mention you never want to make a trip to the RC in January but if you do, make it when the students are off which is the case this Saturday. Davidson can score but, the Cats also let their opponents score and almost at will- as they are 258th in the nation with a D-PPP (Defensive Points Per Possession) of 1.059. With that said, Davidson is a rebounding challenged team and also doesn’t defend the three point shot very well. If the Bonnies shut down Gibbs or Sullivan, the Bonnies can win this game. Kaputo will be needed at some point Saturday as well Gregg. It would also be great if Marcus Posley broke out of his slump and canned some deep shots. My feeling- the first team to 80 wins…
The Prediction: Davidson 81, St. Bonaventure 75