Recon: @Dayton, Saturday, Noon
Date & Time: 2/20/16 12:00 PM
Records: Dayton (21-4, 11-2), St. Bonaventure 17-7 (9-4)
Venue: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, OH
Watch: NBC Sports
The Opponent: The 12th/15th ranked Dayton Flyers welcome the Bonnies into their home what is a massive game for both clubs. SBU is looking for a signature road win (to go with their win at SJU) and this is that chance and more. Dayton has been the class of the league since the start of the season and beating them at UD Arena would give the Bonnies all sorts of boosts in their hunt for an NCAA bid. Dayton has absolutely owned the Bonnies over the last decade and if this year’s version is going to pull off an upset, it will take a full team effort, on both ends of the floor, for a full 40. Coming off a devastating loss to La Salle SBU should be a wounded animal, fighting to stay alive in the hunt for a bid…but Dayton also lost Wednesday in Philly, and will be ready to pound the Bonnies again and get back on track in their hunt to win the league.
Last Time: Dayton used a massive 45-18 lead at halftime to provide themselves enough of a margin to outlast the Bonnies back on January 19th in the Reilly Center. SBU mounted a frantic comeback in the games’ final 20 minutes (scoring 61 second half points) but ultimately the deficit was too much to overcome and the Flyers downed the Bonnies 85-79. It was the 15th time in 16 tries (I think) that UD had beaten SBU. In the game, Dayton was 9-15 from deep and were +5 on the glass to go along with shooting 55% inside the arc. The Bonnies were led back in the game by Marcus Posley’s 31 points and Jay Adams’ 27 points. Taqqee, Tyson and Gregg combined to score 3 points. Nelson Kaputo scored eight for the Bonnies who were 11-28 from deep and shot just 42% inside the arc.
The Skinny on Dayton: Dayton is the real deal. They’ve become year in and year out one of the best basketball teams in the country under Archie Miller. Not one of the best mid-majors, one of the best teams period. The Flyers play incredible defense in the half-court, sport a team of interchangeable players who can put the ball on the floor and play (and guard multiple positions) all while playing True Team basketball…their motto. Dayton is a potential Sweet 16 type of team whose loaded with experienced players like juniors Kendall Pollard (whose been hurt), Charles Cooke, Schoochie Smith, and Kyle Davis…Plus, they have senior DyShawn Pierre back in the fold and freshman center Steve McElvene to boot. Simply put they’re loaded. UD’s balanced offensive attack puts defenses on their heels and versatile wing Pierre is a match-up nightmare. He, and Kendall Pollard have given SBU fits in the past and are the key to beating UD. Throw into the mix JMU transfer Charles Cooke (A 1st team all-league type player) and you have guys to worry about all over the floor. Without a doubt, this is the biggest test SBU has faced this season and it’s not even really close. Add in the fact that Schmidt’s bunch basically must win this game and you’ve got quite the test.
-screen grab from Kenpom.com
The Keys to Victory: In UD’s victory early in the season the Bonaventure defense in the opening half was absolutely awful. From stopping penetration to following back-cuts and slip-screens, SBU’s attention to detail in the half court was truly hard to watch. It was everything they were not in their victory over George Washington last weekend. If the Bonnies are going to have a shot to knock off Dayton it begins and ends on the defensive end of the floor. SBU must play a tight and organized game on that end. That means a physical Jordan Tyson, a focused Denzel Gregg, a foul-less Dion Wright and if needed, a version of Derrick Woods that is ready for the moment. Further, SBU will need to rely far less on the outside shot (28 attempts in game one) and use their guards to get into the paint and convert two point shots. The transition game on both sides of the ball is also a huge factor. In game one UD beat the Bonnies down the floor for bucket after bucket. If SBU is to win, they’ll have to cutdown fast-break chances for UD and get more of their own. Against the top ranked defense in the league easy buckets are golden. SBU’s ability to hit the defensive glass, quickly outlet to guards and score on the run will be huge. Bonas looked so out of rhythm and tired vs. La Salle that I’m starting to think this team may have hit a wall. If they look anything like they did offensively on Wednesday vs. the Flyers the game will be ugly to watch because Dayton will put them down.
The Gut Feeling: I said in our podcast earlier in the week that the Bonnies would go 2-0 this week. Well I’m off to a good start. I made the call riding on SBU’s momentum and not so much on basketball I.Q. Sure, I would have picked them to beat La Salle anyway (I mean, holy crap how did that happen?), but I predicted a Dayton win rolling with the good vibes…thinking SBU would be rolling into a truly special season. Certainly not all is lost, yet. But, if SBU wants to be considered for an at-large this is a game they now have to win, in a place they never win, against a team they never beat. Dayton also never drops two in row. When you add in the fact that the Bonnies have looked gassed and out of it offensively, it’s really hard seeing them winning this game. Ever since the St. Joe’s win SBU has looked fatigued, worn out. There’s a small part of me that thinks this is exactly the time Schmidt’s team steals a win (when you least expect it) but the odds swing so heavily in Dayton’s favor it’s scary. Add in the fact that UD is coming off a loss to St. Joe’s……not a good time to be playing Archie’s bunch.
Prediction: Dayton 76, Bonnies 68