KenPom 2014-’15 Predictions: Bonnies

This Man's computer sees a 15 win Bonnies team.

This Man’s computer sees a 15 win Bonnies team.

As far as great college basketball sites go, KenPom.com is about as good as it gets. I use the site each year to incorporate different stats into my articles such as true shooting percentage, turnover rate, block rate, 2PT defense and tons of others. The site is a stat nerds wet dream. It also uses a computer model (no idea how) to predict the final score of every single game of the year for every single D1 team. So, according to KenPom, we give you your….

15-14, 6-10 St. Bonaventure Bonnies.

I was the closest staff member to this record with my 16 win mark, while outsider Chris DiSano pegged the Bonnies at under .500. A closer look at the forecasted schedule sees the following highlights…

- A 6-0 start for the B and Dub.

-Back to back losses to Ohio and Pitt.

-0-3 start to league play before a six point win over Mason and SJU to get to 2-3.

-Then just four wins the rest of the way….La Salle, UMass, Duquesne and Fordham…All at home. Not a single road league win all year.

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As much as I enjoy looking into stats, clearly they need to be taken with a grain of salt. KenPom’s site places some weight on previous years’ records and teams which I think, is not a great way to determine future success. Take Saint Joseph’s and Saint Louis for example. Both of those teams lost a ton of talent and will take major steps backwards this year. KenPom gives this year’s versions of those teams a boast because they won last year…with different players. I do think a 15 win season is pretty close to accurate. However, the idea that the Bonnies won’t win a single road game in the league seems insane to me. That’s some 2008 Bonnies stuff right there. All in all it’s fun to see where folks see the Bonnies finishing now. We all know none of this matters come the 15th when we tip off.

Preview: Andrew Nicholson’s 3rd NBA Season

Drew's 3rd season in the NBA could make or break his career.

Drew’s 3rd season in the NBA could make or break his career.

The NBA season kicks off tonight with three games slated around the Association. Personally, I could give a crap about the NBA. As much as I love watching college hoops, I can’t get into the NBA until The Finals and even then it’s just an “eh” thing for me to turn on. That said, I do find myself checking the Magic’s boxscore each morning to see how Andrew did, or more recently, to find out if he even got any time. His rookie year was fun, last year, not so much.

The Magic did pick up Andrew’s contract option for this season but now comes the big challenge. Andrew took a big step back last season, and that information comes from just about any source you want to read it from. After a promising Rookie campaign Drew got buried on the Magic bench last season behind guys like Kyle O’Quinn, Big Baby Davis,Tobias Harris and even complete scrub Mo Harkless who is just an abomination of a player. We can gripe about Drew’s playing time, the bottom line is he looks like a borderline NBA player right now.

This is a massive season for Drew and given the addition of Channing Frye, it looks like Andrew won’t be getting much clock at it all. I’ve read a ton of NBA team previews and there resounding theme is this: If Nicholson doesn’t play when when given chances, he will wind up cut at year’s end or in the D-League during the year. This is a shame because the Canadian has certainly shown flashes of being an impact off the bench scorer in the NBA. His versatile offensive arsenal hasn’t changed (though his 3 PT jumper didn’t develop further last year) but his defense, passing and other intangibles seem to be lacking. I even read a report that said Drew just looks happy to be collecting a paycheck…that stings. Grantland’s preview literally put an icon of a pile of shit next to Drew’ name which indicated he’s a “poor player”…..It also doesn’t help that the Magic are coached by Jacque Vaughn who by all accounts, is a horrible NBA coach. Even Bill Simmons said this month that Vaughn is horrid and will be fired this season.

So, where does all that leave Andrew? Likely in a bad spot. With so many forwards ahead of him on the depth chart it’s tough to see him getting meaningful minutes. At this pointI’d hope some other team seems potential in him and offers Orlando a deal. I think a change of scenery is needed for him to make it in the NBA. If that doesn’t happen I could see Drew overseas next year which would be a real shame given his stock/potential in 2011-2012.

Blog Author’s Season Predictions (Record)

With just around three weeks to go until the start of the 2014-2015 season we felt it was time to roll out our staff predictions for every single game of the slate. A lot can change in the course of a season including injuries, eligibility issues, suspensions, etc. not only to our club but to that of our foes as well. With that in mind, these picks have to be taken with a slight grain of salt. These picks are rather our best guess at the Bonnies final record in 2014-’15 broken down game by game. It will certainly be interesting to revisit these picks at the end of the non-conference portion of the schedule and then again at the end of the year. In the coming week we’ll further break down the season ahead and look at best case/worst case scenarios for the team as a whole, and individual players.One thought that I do have at this moment is that the addition of two league games each year is going to make it that much harder for the Brown and White to win their customary 16-18 games. Swapping out two low major conference teams in November and December with Davidson and a second trip to a VCU or UMass isn’t stellar for the final record; it does however help the RPI of the league.

We’ll also make some bold predictions as well. For now, here’s what we’re thinking about 2014-2015.

What are you’re thoughts about the SBU’s final record this season? Post some comments below, we’ll be putting up a poll as well later on.

*Note: We brought in Chris DiSano of Collegechalktalk.com, as well as Cox Sports New England whose as knowledgeable as they come concerning the A10. Chris has been covering the league for some time now and we felt it would be cool to get an outsiders take on the Bonnies chances this season. As you will see, he’s taking a more guarded approach on our boys this winter.

Non-Conf. Games Ian Vinny Shane Chris
11.15 Dartmouth W  W W W
11.19 Siena L  W W  L
11.21 Canisius W  W W W
11.25 Jackson St. W  W W W
11.29 Niagara (Buf) W  W W W
12.3 Buffalo W  W W  L
12.6 @ Ohio L  L L  L
12.13 @Pittsburgh L  L L  L
12.20 @Binghamton W  W W  W
12.22 MD-Eastern Shore W  W W  W
12.30 @ Delaware W  W L  L
Total Non-Conference Record 8-3 9-2 8-3  6-5
A10 Games   Ian Vinny Shane Chris
1.3 @ UMass L  L W  L
1.8 Dayton W  L L  L
1.11 @ Richmond L  L L  L
1.14 George Mason W  W W  W
1.18 Saint Josephs W  W W  W
1.22 @ Duquesne L  L W  L
1.25 @ Rhode Island L  L L  L
1.31 La Salle L  W L  W
2.4 @ Davidson W  W W  L
2.7 VCU L  W L  L
2.11 UMass W  W L  W
2.14 @ Dayton L  L L  L
2.18 Richmond W  W W  W
2.21 @ Saint Joseph’s L  L W  L
2.25 @ George Washington L  L L  L
2.28 Duquesne W  W W  W
3.4 @ Saint Louis L  L L  W
3.7 Fordham W  W W  W
Total Conference Record 8-10  9-9 9-9  8-10
Overall Predicted Record 16-13 18-11 17-12  14-15

Bonnies will finish .500 in the A-10 again, we promise

It is a strange how we can become a prisoner of the moment, especially when it comes to sports. We’re all guilty of it.

Sullivan JerryYour favorite college basketball teams wins a big game, you plan an itinerary for an NCAA tournament trip. Your favorite team flops to a miserable opponent and the season is a disaster.

Two seasons ago, Buffalo News pundit Jerry Sullivan left the St. Bonaventure program for dead. It was a knee jerk reaction to a couple bad weeks of basketball for the Bonnies.

This is what Sullivan wrote after SBU’s 72-65 home loss to VCU that extended the Bonnies’ losing streak to five games:  “It will be an upset if the Bonnies finish .500 in the league again.”

The opinion was limited in vision. It lacked foresight. It was missing perspective.

I disagreed with it then. I certainly disagree with it now.

Though the Bonnies struggled in the Atlantic 10 last season, they won two games in the conference tournament and advanced to semifinals. Bolstered by a slew of newcomers and group of seasoned returners, SBU will be in position to make a run at 17-20 wins this season and possibly the next.

I have the Bonnies with nine A-10 wins this year. That should give them a seventh- or eighth-place conference finish. They could reasonably win 10 games.

Unlike Sullivan, I won’t be surprised. Much like Jim Baron 20 years earlier, Mark Schmidt and his staff have the great ability to build and rebuild by finding hidden gems in recruiting and developing players.

The goal is to make a run at a postseason tournament every three or four years. In other words, the Bonnies are due for a big season that will have Mr. Sullivan eating crow come March.

SBU’s Fab 5: Who will have the greatest impact?

Paul Gotham, over at Pinkin Splinters, put together a detailed roundup of St. Bonaventure’s five newcomers. It is a must read.

We’re interested in your thoughts on which of the newest Bonnies will have the greatest impact this season. Vote below.

 

Follow Paul Gotham on Twitter at @PickinSplinters

Seven years ago yesterday …

cropped-drewyell1.jpgSeven years ago yesterday, everything changed for the St. Bonaventure basketball program.

Oct. 16, 2007 was the day Andrew Nicholson verbally committed to the Bonnies.

Before Nicholson joined the team the following season, SBU had won 33 games and lost 136 over the previous six years. The Bonnies never won more than eight games in a season during that stretch. They sunk to new lows.

With Nicholson, St. Bonaventure reached new highs.

Nicholson was rated the top post player in Canada when he committed to the Bonnies, but he was mostly an unknown among college coaches in the U.S.

When Nicholson chose St. Bonaventure, he picked the Bonnies over Duquesne, Niagara, St. John’s and Buffalo. During Nicholson’s junior year at Father Goetz in Mississauga, Ontario, his most notable suitors were St. Peter’s and Cornell.

At that point, Nicholson had no desire to play college basketball in the U.S.

But, in an interview with Nicholson the day he committed to SBU, he told me: “I just came to realize that the States had better basketball. I really didn’t want to leave home, but St. Bonaventure is right down the street.”

Ro Russell, a power player in Canadian AAU hoops, called Nicholson a “hidden gem.”

When Nicholson signed with the Bonnies a month later, coach Mark Schmidt compared him to fellow Canadian Caswell Cyrus. It turned out that Nicholson was Cyrus with an offensive repertoire to match his defensive and rebounding prowess.

Nicholson “has all the God-given abilities,” Schmidt said the day the big man signed. “He can do stuff that you can’t teach. When I first went up and saw him I got goose bumps thinking about how good a player he could become.”

Of course, Schmidt’s vision was verified as Nicholson became the Atlantic 10 player of the year, a first round NBA draft pick and one of the greatest Bonnies of all time.

A10 Order of Finish: Quick Thoughts

Bonnies tabbed 10th. Nothing shocking here.

Bonnies tabbed 10th. Nothing shocking here.

As we posted early today the Bonnies were predicted to finish 10th by the league’s coaches and media this morning at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. VCU was the unanimous choice to win the league receiving every first place vote; VCU should be ranked in the top 10 early in the season. Here’s my quick thoughts followed by the order of finish with votes.

Quick Take:

Everyone expected VCU to be selected first, they’re the clear best team in the league and could be a true Final Four type of team armed with Weber, Graham and Shaka…GW should also be really good this year as they bring back a strong team minus Creek and Armwood, they’re also a very good bet to make the NCAAs for the second straight year…After that the league gets messy, Dayton should still be good off their Elite 8 run with Sibert and Pierre, two all league type players…UMass now moves on without Chaz Williams and Putney, expect some growing pains there early but they’ll be ok…URI is huge boom or bust team to me; they’ve got insane talent and maybe the best player in the league in E.C. Matthews but will need to gel quickly and learn how to win fast; I could see them finishing as high as third or as low as eighth or ninth…Saint Louis lost everyone, literally almost everyone off their fantastic team from the last two years, expect them to take a major step back despite Jim Crews’ very solid coaching…A similar but less drastic feel for Saint Joe’s who lost Galloway, Roberts Jr. and Kanacevic, I doubt SJU finishes in the top half of the league given their losses…Duquesne could be sneaky good if they learn to defend at all since they already know how to score with the best of them (Micah Mason is beyond fun to watch); size is always an issue down in Pittsburgh for the Dukes…Davidson will be good in this league, likely it won’t be this year as they battle A10 talent with SoCon talent…Mason lost their top two scorers off a really bad, yet oddly competitive team from last year; they could be a bit better this season but not a ton, Paul Hewitt has to be on the hot seat in Fairfax…Fordham is the worst team in the league until they prove otherwise.

Preseason Poll
1. VCU (28) ……………………………………………………….. 392
2. George Washington …………………………………… 343
3. Dayton …………………………………………………………. 339
4. Massachusetts …………………………………………….. 294
5. Richmond ……………………………………………………. 261
6. Rhode Island ……………………………………………….. 253
7. La Salle …………………………………………………………. 221
8. Saint Joseph’s ………………………………………………201
9. Saint Louis …………………………………………………….181
10. St. Bonaventure ……………………………………………130
11. Duquesne ……………………………………………………..94
12. Davidson ……………………………………………………….84
13. George Mason ……………………………………………..82
14. Fordham ……………………………………………………….65