Four Mile Brewing Pre Game: Vs. Saint Louis (8-15, 3-7)
Quickly: Coming off what will surely go down as one of the most controversial games in Bonaventure hoops history, the team must gather themselves before Wednesday night when 3-7 Saint Louis comes to town. The Billikens are actually playing some decent basketball of late (relatively speaking), winning three of their last four, including a contest NC A&T which was played in the middle of league play for some ungodly reason. Prior to that, SLU beat UMass and George Mason at home and lost to GW on the road. On the season Travis Fords’ team has won just a single road game, against George Mason back on January 14th. Despite their seemingly moderate improvements on the floor, this is still a game in which the Bonnies will be heavy favorites. KenPom gives SLU an 8% chance to win, making this game far and away the most secure win left on the schedule according to the computers.
For the Bonnies, this game represents an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and finally move past the VCU finish. This game has generated as much Buzz as the Snub last year on our Twitter feed and quite frankly I’m done with it. It’s been beaten to death and it’s time to move forward.
If the Bonnies can come out and channel their energy and absolutely spank the Billikens it will help both the team and the fan base get past this weekend. But, should the Bonnies get upset at home by this poor SLU team, everyone will be thinking that the VCU finish is still in their minds and wonder if it has caused the time to go into a tailspin. It can go either way.
The Bonnies were fortunate enough to have already played Saint Louis this year and used an incredible first half to win easily, 71-52 on January 17th. The Bonnies were up 30 points or more for a majority of the game and basically coasted in the second half. It was a thrashing that you generally do not see in league play…especially on the road.
Since that meeting, not much as changed from a stats or scouting report standpoint with the Billikens. They still cannot score it or shoot it, they don’t hit the offensive glass and they don’t block any shots. SLU ranks 189th in defense and 327nd in offense. Big man Reggie Agbeko is a large body inside who does his best work on the glass, Davell Roby (54.9 eff. FG%) is SLU best offensive players and there’s a cast of a few players who chip in but to be totally frank,SLU is the least talented team in the conference and it may not even be close.
Stats & Roster:
3 Things To Watch:
- The Response: Like I noted above, the real story in this game is the Bonnies coming out, pounding Saint Louis and officially moving past Saturday’s loss. The best thing for this team and the fans is for the Bonnies to put forth a dominant effort in the Reilly Center and get back on the Wagon. After two poor shooting games, I expect Jay Adams to have a much better night shooting the basketball. Mobley carried the Bonnies to the win this weekend (Yes, you read that correctly), and really masked the 3-16 shooting effort that Jay had in the Bonnies’ biggest game of the season…he was a virtual no show and his line looked decent only because of his ability to draw ticky-tack fouls outside the arc. In SBU’s last two, Adams is now 2-17 from the three and just 7-33 from the field. I would not expect for Adams to be held down for a third straight game against a team like Saint Louis who mediocre in defense. He’s too good a player for that.
- Ikpeze vs. Agbeko? The Bonnies freshman center has played 18 minutes in each of their last two games after playing just one minute in the previous five games. Yes, Ikpeze has fouled out of both games, and still shows plenty of freshman tendencies (getting beat for rebounds off free throws, moving screens, other defensive stuff) but in general, he’s been a really big plus off the bench for Schmidt. I really loved when he took Mo Alie-Cox off the bounce in OT from the three point line for a finish; a stunning take and make. He’s 5-6 from the field in those 36 minutes, adding six boards and 2 blocks as well. Now, he will likely be used off the pine to guard SLU big man Reggie Agbeko, a Buffalo native. This could be a potentially fun match-up to watch in the pivot an will provide another test for Ikpeze. I believe David Andoh’s days of seeing sustained and important minutes are over, but we will know more after this week. The more Ikpeze plays now the more he develops for next year and beyond so count me in the group that wants to see him continuing getting clock.
- Can Mobley Stay Hot? The reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week is coming off a school record nine three point effort and was lights out from start to finish. Mobley dropped 22 on Duquense and 23 on SLU in the last meeting, including six trifectas. The junior is shooting 41% from deep on the season and has scored 20 or more in four of Bonas last six games. As Adams continues to slump shooting the basketball, Mobley has emerged as the team’s best pure scorer, at least in my estimation. Adams, who shot a ridiculous 43% from deep a season ago, is down to 36% in his third year. An 87% FT shooter a year ago, he’s also shooting just 80% this season.
One Thing to Worry About: Simply a hangover from the VCU loss. Listen, Saint Louis is a really bad team playing on the road in a tough place to win. If Bonas drops this game it will be because their collective heads were not in it from the start and they allowed Saturday’s game to hand them another loss. I’m not saying SBU has to come out and put SLU down 15-3 early to win this game, but the sooner they get off and running the better. This is a game they should win easily.
Twitter Length Closing Take: SBU may still be a bit dazed and confused from Saturday’s finish, but they’ll put it together and take care of a poor Saint Louis team at home in the RC to rebound with a W.
Prediction: SBU 77, SLU 63