Thinking About NCAA At-Large & Brooklyn

As many Bonnies fans wake up this Monday morning there’s a different feeling in the air. When was the last time the Brown and White woke up on the week heading into the Atlantic 10 Tournament on the NCAA bubble? Likely it was during the 1999-2000 season. Whenever it was, it was a long time ago.

Never before under Mark Schmidt have these Bonnies and their fans had to endure the tension and emotional rollercoaster that is living on the bubble for weeks on end. It’s awesome and terrifying all at once. While the Bonnies picked up a share of the Atlantic 10 Title this weekend (their first ever) and notched yet another road win (their eight of the year), and continued to pad their NCAA Resume it appears that SBU is still, by no means a lock for the dance. Some writers like Matt Norlander of CBS are clearly on the Bonnies’ bandwagon and feel they’ve done enough…

But others, including The Bona Bandwagon’s favorite Bracketologist Joe Lunardi isn’t as convinced. Just this morning Lunardi posted his latest bracket and still has the Bonnies in a play-in game in Dayton as a 12 seed and lists SBU as the last team in the field. Meanwhile, his St. Joseph’s Hawks are seeded eight in the east region. Lots of Bonnies fans think there’s some home cooking going on, and as JH from the ‘Wagon shows via stats- the numbers don’t lie in terms of the similarities. 

Here’s some more from…

Like most Bonnies fans I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this logic as well. SBU has a better winning percentage in A10 play. A better RPI. A near identical SOS. A better win percentage vs. the top 50. A better win percentage vs. the top 100…And they beat the Hawks, not once, but twice, and neither game was in Olean! They finished ahead of SJU after an 18 game schedule in the league. Additionally, SJU lost their last two games to choke away the A10 title including a home loss to Duquesne on senior day.

Yes, the Hawks played a much better non-conference schedule (SOS 87 to our 155), but only beat Temple and VT; not Kansas and Michigan State. Martell’s team lost to Florida and Villanova who boosted their RPI. Who are their best non-conference wins? Princeton (60 Kenpom), Temple (86), and Virginia Tech (67). So yes, they have better non-conference wins than Bonas (Buffalo, Ohio) but I’d call SJU’s wins good wins, not great ones.  

If you want to tell me that the Hawks and Bonnies are both in as similar seeds I’d be fully on board. But to say SJU is an eight seed (Lunardi, and many others believe this) and we are “last in” just doesn’t add up. It’s almost as if having beating the Hawks twice, and convincingly in both games, means nothing to those projecting brackets. We’ll see where the chips fall after Brooklyn but for now it certainly seems like the Bonnies are not getting the respect they’ve earned from some bracket experts. 

To play Devil’s advocate though, BracketMatrix, which compiles the average of dozens and dozens of brackets has the Hawks as an eight seed. They have the Bonnies down right now as an 11.  So maybe we’re all missing something in the difference between the two. Matrix also lists VCU as an 11 seed with us, which seems fair given our resumes. Everyone’s favorite DanceCard believes the Bonnies and Hawks are nearly the same team and lists us as the 33rd and 32nd ranked teams. 


In thinking about Brooklyn the Bonnies will face either La Salle, Duquesne or Davidson. While many fans will pull for an upset of the Wildcats on Thursday night I think it’s wise to pull for the Wildcats and Jack Gibbs. Sure, they’re a better team, and a dangerous one. But, they also have a very solid RPI (62) and if the Bonnies lost, it could only be categorized as an “indifferent loss” on a neutral floor…nothing damming. But, if the sky fell and SBU lost to La Salle (237) and Duquesne (144) it would be a resume crippling loss 48 hours from selection Sunday. I’d rather take my chances with Davidson and keep our metrics in order right before turning our paperwork into the committee. Plus, I’m confident our guys will get a win. 

As good as I feel right now about the Bonnies’ NCAA chances, I’d feel a hell of a lot better if they won just one game in Brooklyn. I think it would be nearly impossible for Schmidt’s bunch to be kept out should they reach the league semifinals after earning a share of the league title and posting an RPI in the 20s…but you never know…that’s why the safe bet is to just win the whole damn thing in Brooklyn. And judging by this poll, it looks like the rest of the league thinks we’re the favorite…Man, it’s unreal that our Bonnies have become the hunted instead of the hunter…What a season…

Categories: Editorial


  1. It really is hard not to think Lunardi has some SJU bias going on. The blind, line by line comparison says it all. Team B is superior to Team A in virtually every category from RPI, to league standing, to win percentage to top 50 win, top 100 wins. The only category Team A can stake a claim is SOS, which is essentially a tie. It should be no question Team Bonnies (see what I did there?) has the better resume. At the very worst, they should receive similar seeds, with Bonnies given a favorable a local Region.

    Bonnies/SJU would actually be an interesting comparison IF you took the same stats, but SJU beat Bonnies twice (presume Bonnies went 2-0 against Dayton, and beat VCU to keep record/stat lines same, and SJU lost two other conference games to top 4 A10 teams) Bonnies would have the better overall resume, but you could argue that SJU, by beating the Bonnies not once but twice, would have deserved the ticket.

    But, in reality, there is absolutely NO justification for ranking SJU ahead of the Bonnies as of now (things could change in Brooklyn)

  2. I think looking at all the bracket projections Jerry Palm at CBS Sports does a great job, he has the bonnies at a #8 seed, what worries me is that committee members do look at Lunardi and take into account what he says. That blind resume thing between St. Joes and St. Bona needs to be tweeted at Lunardi, ESPN, and everybody out there. With all this said, Bonnies need to hope Davidson wins and we can play them, it gives our strength of schedule another boost, as well as giving us another top 100 RPI opponent. Will they be a tough out, better believe it, but a win there might lock it up for them. VCU seems like they will be very, very difficult for us to handle in Brooklyn. So saying that I would rather go 1-1 with a win over Davidson, than 1-1 with a win over Duquesne or LaSalle. Just hope Lunardi doesn’t sway the committee about St. Joes being better than the Bonnies, the sweep says it all.

  3. Oh by the way, forgot to mention St. Joes also lost to Duquesne as did the Bonnies, but the difference was that St. Joes lost to them on their homecourt, while the bonnies lost to them on the road. Lunardi isn’t making much sense??

  4. One last thing about the whole St. Josephs vs St. Bonnies thing, The bonnies beat Dayton at Dayton, while St. Josephs beat them in Philly.

  5. The Bonnies twitter account should be tweeting out the facts to help the cause.

    Seth Davis tweeted that usually 3 top 50 wins is a guarantee. We have 3, and two of them on the road. Get that out there. Tweet that to Seth.

    Lunardi: how on God’s Green Earth can Wichita St. be ahead of Bona? They have 1 top 50 win, a worse SOS, and just about the same darn record.

    Bona Blog and BonniesMBB need to get the facts out to anyone who will listen. It’s campaigning season. Let’s go.

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