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Bonnies’ defense, UMass outlook, Davidson’s three point shooting, and more

St. Bonaventure’s lackluster defense has been killer…

It’s no secret the Bonnies haven’t defended well at all these past 2 games. In fact, it may have started against Massachusetts to open A-10 play; St. Bonaventure let the Minutemen score 78 points. It was just the 2nd time that the Bonnies have allowed at least 70 points and still managed a win.

As much as we like St. Bonaventure’s offense with star shooters Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams filling it up from deep, we’d be remiss to recognize that St. Bonaventure wins basketball games on defense. The Bonnies her Buffalo, Maryland, and Syracuse under 65 points, and all 3 of those games came away from home. Particularly, opponents are just scoring too often inside the arc, and the Bonnies are getting outmuscled in the paint. Defensively, opponents are shooting 49.9% from 2 against the Bonnies, and that number has only gone up significantly since the start of conference play. St. Bonaventure needs defense — and fast.

Massachusetts’ next 2 games will be very telling (maybe?)

It’s hard to classify anything as “telling” in this year’s Atlantic 10, believe me. In particular, UMass is a slippery fish that no one can really get a grasp of, and a 6 man roster taking down Dayton in UD Arena was surprising, even with the Flyers’ continual struggles in late game situations. So, home games against Saint Joseph’s and La Salle (two likely top-7 finishers in the league) will tell us something about UMass, right?

It’s possible. Massachusetts has tended to play better against strong opponents and worse against weaker opponents. Kenpom gives the Minutemen a 56% chance of beating La Salle and a 55% chance of beating Saint Joseph’s. Who knows what will happen, but at the end of the day, we might be left just as confused.

Davidson could get a double-bye, but can the Wildcats capitalize?

I was kind of surprised to see that Kenpom still predicts Davidson to finish with an 11-7 record in league play despite an embarrassing loss to Richmond and a sneaky win over Saint Louis. A rout over George Mason had to be the Wildcats’ best win of the season, but we know this team has been streaky and hard to predict. Whether or not the Wildcats pull out a victory often comes down to how friendly three point shooting has been.

Here’s the most shocking statistic since the start of conference play: Davidson is shooting just 30.3% from deep while its opponents have been rattling them home at a 38.3% clip. Now, to be fair, it’s been just 3 games, and that George Mason win certainly was a step in the right direction. However, my concern for Davidson becomes this: the Wildcats have now faced UR, SLU, and Mason but still have double dates with St. Bonaventure and URI as well as roadies against Duquesne and VCU. While Davidson is normally known for beating teams from three, it might have to look to the defensive side of that metric to win important ball games from here on out.

Duquesne is winning… but why?

Defense. Defense. Defense. Haven’t I told you, it all comes down to defense. Again, I don’t want to blow things out of perspective; Duquesne has faced struggling teams in Dayton and George Washington, and the win over Fordham wasn’t too much of a shock. However, the way in which the Dukes are limiting their opponents on the defensive end of the floor has to be the most encouraging statistic. Check this out.

Duquesne currently leads the A-10 in effective field goal defense as well as 3 point field goal defense, and they rank 2nd in 2 point field goal defense. Duquesne is limiting its opponents effectively, and this is without forcing many turnovers. Duquesne just plays good defense on the perimeter and has been forcing opposing players to take poor shots. One of the main criticisms around Jim Ferry last season was his inability to close games; that hasn’t been an issue for Dambrot, as his team defense has barred any late-game comebacks.

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Grant Labedz is a college basketball superfan who loves the entire sport but definitely has favorites in the A-10 and the Big Ten. He has written for ...

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