Despite inconsistent play with the loss of junior star Jaylen Adams, head coach Mark Schmidt and company should give Adams as much time as possible to rehab his ankle.
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies have been without Adams since he injured his ankle in a win against George Mason. Since then, the Bonnies sit at 1-1 losing to Richmond by double digits and beating Fordham by 20. But due to their non-conference losses and an RPI of 99 the Bonnies have lost any hope of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.
At this point, it’s automatic bid or bust.
Losses to UNC Wilmington, Arkansas Little Rock and Canisius put the Bonnies in a tough spot. The NCAA selection committee proved last year that they won’t take many mid-major teams as the Bonnies were snubbed from the tournament despite a top-40 RPI and a share of the A-10 regular season conference championship.
Now the focus should be on getting Adams healthy to return a few games before the conference tournament to build momentum. The conference is wide open with expected power teams like Dayton, Rhode Island and VCU looking vulnerable and each losing to a lesser A-10 team already.
While the Bonnies have been disappointing so far this season, giving Adams extra time to rehab his ankle will make sure he’s 100% going into a tough February stretch.
February games against Dayton, Davidson and VCU will test the Bonnies before the conference tournament.
With any chance of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid out the window, the Bonnies should make sure Adams is 100% before clearing him to play. Ranked in the top-10 for NCAA points per game at 22, Adams is the type of player that can spearhead a team through a conference tournament if he’s healthy.
A healthy Adams could be the difference between an early conference tournament exit, or a possible championship and automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.