This St. Bonaventure team had a recurring theme in non-conference play: playing games down to the wire. 10 of the Bonnies’ 12 games were decided by 10 points or fewer, and unfortunately for them, they ended up on the wrong side a couple times. This team was, for the most part, able to take down the teams it should have, but a couple of losses leave fans shaking their heads in disbelief. Like we saw last year, this team didn’t schedule the hardest out of conference slate. That said, this team had its fair share of challenges in Florida and UNC Wilmington. St. Bonaventure entered conference play 8-4 and scored a win over UMass last Friday.
It’s kind of hard to believe, but when we look at it, St. Bonaventure really didn’t have any good wins. From a Kenpom perspective, its best win was over Buffalo (138th), but the Bulls are 6-7 this season and really aren’t that good of a team. Other wins in the Kenpom Top 200 are Central Michigan, Siena, and Hofstra. But again, none of these wins really stand out as good. Wins over Kenpom Top 200 teams are generally over middle-of-the-pack mid-majors that don’t have any substance come March. The two noted games above (UNC Wilmington and Florida) were the only chances the Bonnies had at good wins, and they lost both contests by very narrow margins.
Close losses to Canisius and Little Rock stand out as pretty bad losses for this St. Bonaventure squad. Had the Bonnies won these two games, I would’ve said they’d played an above average out of conference slate, but these two losses definitely hurt. St. Bonaventure had a case for the NCAA Tournament (no, they should’ve made the NCAA Tournament), but it seemed like its weak non-conference schedule last season may have hurt it. Again, we see that St. Bonaventure didn’t do itself a lot of favors by failing to beat anyone noteworthy and losing two bad games to sub-par mid-majors. St. Bonaventure may be kicking itself at the end of the season because of this.
Non-Conference Grade: C
St. Bonaventure gets a C for what it did with the schedule it was given. Had it avoided those two bad losses, it would’ve been in much better shape heading into conference play. And if St. Bonaventure was able to beat a very good UNC Wilmington team at home, it’s probably looking at an A heading into the conference season. I give the Bonnies a C, but this team should try to challenge itself even more out of conference. Florida and UNC Wilmington were definitely great tests, but no other opponent had much merit. St. Bonaventure should look to schedule a slightly more difficult non-conference slate across the board to help boost its resume next year.