Bonnies @ Saint Louis (Sat. 03/07/2020 @ 8:00pm)

Jive36

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St. Louis thoughts

Mini Rivalry?

This is a budding rivalry for the Bonnies due mostly to the A10 schedule makers. The last 3 seasons the SLU game has been the final game of the regular season and last year the rematch happened in the A10 final. Each of those regular season games a spot for the double bye has been on the line. In 2018 the Bonnies had the bye locked up but SLU could have gotten into a tie with SJU had they won the final game. Last year, 2019, was similar to this year in the winner had poll position on getting the double bye. And this year the Bonnies are in win and you’re in territory while SLU needs to win and the Friday games to break in their favor.

SLU Lineup/Key matchups

Its that time we all overreact to the A10 awards buzz and for SLU, Goodwin and French seem to be locks to make an all A10 team. Goodwin might have lost his first team status to a surging UMass team led by Tre Mitchell. But the real question is where does Javonte Perkins belong? I had him in a tight race with Ibi Watson, but over the last half of February Perkins has pulled way ahead and might have replaced French as SLU’s best chance to get a second all conference player.

Does Perkins play too many minutes to be 6th man of the year? He hasn’t started a game yet this season but has become the straw that stirs the SLU drink. French and Goodwin will get theirs in the paint and off offensive rebounds, but Perkins adds some shooting and can take over games.

SLU starts a jumbo package – Whenever Goodwin, French and Bell are on the floor together, combined weight of those three according to Kenpom is 715lbs hence jumbo package. That group almost outweighs our entire starting lineup. That is not to say these guys are slow plodding overweight guys (Bell maybe), quite the opposite they are dudes that must live in the weight room.

I don’t know how we matchup with that lineup. Winston will get eaten alive by either Bell or French in the post. I think you have to put OO on Bell to try to prevent foul trouble. Maybe we go zone against the jumbo package to keep help close by anytime French or Bell get it in the paint.

When Perkins comes in that usually means French is moved to the 5 and Bell sits. I think against this line up I would want to put Welch on Perkins and Winston/Bobby on Goodwin. Perkins would have a small height advantage but Welch isn’t afraid of guys that size. A lineup with Perkins and Jacobs or Weaver probably has enough shooting that zone would give SLU open shots. Event though SLU isn’t a great shooting team the way this season is going those shots will be dropping Saturday night.

Hack-a-Hasahn

French is only shooting 30% from the charity stripe in conference play. I honestly think the biggest error Schmidt has ever made with Bonas is not going to Hack-a-Hasahn earlier in the title game last year. I would go to this strategy anytime we are SLU is in the bonus and they go on a run or if we are down multiple possessions with under 5 to play. I called it Hack-a-Hasahn but Goodwin is only a 57% free throw shooter in conference play, so we can also go after him. However, Goodwin has games where he is locked in from the line. SLU has learned to counter this by being very aggressive getting offensive boards off missed free throws. Because both French and Goodwin are poor shooters and they are such key players for SLU they can’t sub both out at the end of games or just avoid passing them the ball because then you are playing 3 on 5. SLU does go offense defense with French some at the end of games to get him out in obvious intentional foul situations which is why I would go to the strategy early and often.

Additional thoughts to come, hopefully - SLU points off offensive rebounds and Bonnies on offense.
 
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Bona03

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I didnt realize it until you pointed it out. SLU might not be playing for anything Sat night. The only way they can get the 4 involves Richmond winning or they can get the 3 with a Richmond/UMass combo win. If Duquesne wins at home tonight, perhaps SLU doesnt go full effort or limits PT?
 
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Jive36

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I didnt realize it until you pointed it out. SLU might not be playing for anything Sat night. The only way they can get the 4 involves Richmond winning or they can get the 3 with a Richmond/UMass combo win. If Duquesne wins at home tonight, perhaps SLU doesnt go full effort or limits PT?
The only guy I could see them sitting is Demarius Jacobs whose status is unknown after being suspended for their last game for breaking team rules. Ford said he would be back but didn't say when. If the game doesn't mean anything Ford might not bring him back Saturday depending on the nature of the infraction.

With it being senior day we might see Tay Weaver get a start. He normally gets minutes when Collins is in foul trouble and is part of the time share at the 2 for SLU.

SLU only plays 8 guys if Jacobs is still suspended that is down to 7 and the rest of the team gets fewer minutes than our bench so rest isn't in the picture.

Edit: Weaver did get the start in SLU's last game when Jacobs was suspended, and it was his only start of the season.
 
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Community Bank 3Pt Tee

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I loved the basketball played in the old, OLD Big East. I'm talking the Big East before the realignments of 2005, when VT, Miami, and BC were still Big East schools, and Conference USA was still a legit borderline Power.

In any case, that style of basketball was bruising, in your face physical defense. Attack the hoop. Penetrate and dish after you establish the need for the opponent to respect your presence in the paint. A league rich in talented big men, and rugged, hard-nosed guards. It was great, old school, well-rounded basketball.

St Louis annoys the shit out of me, because their entire brand and philosophy under Travis Ford is based on a poor man's mutation of that style. They've got all the toughness and physicality with none of the skills needed to mimic that style of play. Most of their offensive numbers- aka skill and finesse stats- are in the range I'd classify as ' the epitome' of mediocrity. Most of their toughness stats- defense, rebounding, etc- reside in the top 20-25 percentile, nationally.

What's this all mean? A team whose physicality allows them to hang tough with anyone, but they aren't all that good- which means anyone can hang with them, too. They are forever waffling in that range of being good- but really, they aren't that good- but sometimes, they seem like they are? It's fucking annoying. It's why they are a team who can be inconsistent enough to finish 6th in a garbage A10 last year, but still find a way to win the tournament, knocking off 3 top 4 seeded teams en route.

I dont really know what any of this has to do with tomorrow, aside from venting. But fuck em. If avenging last year's A10 championship isn't enough motivation for our guys, nothing is. I hope we come out poised, but firing tomorrow. It will take a hard fought game, but we can absolutely beat them.
 

BonaCommenter

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I didnt realize it until you pointed it out. SLU might not be playing for anything Sat night. The only way they can get the 4 involves Richmond winning or they can get the 3 with a Richmond/UMass combo win. If Duquesne wins at home tonight, perhaps SLU doesnt go full effort or limits PT?
Holy shit, how did I not realize this before? Go Dukes! 🤢
 

Jive36

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I cannot stress enough that no matter the outcomes tonight SLU is going to show up and be their normal physical aggressive selves tomorrow. CB3PT is exactly right that they play old school physical basketball. They bump every cutter, box out for every rebound, they do all the small effort things that every coach in America begs to get out of his players. That is just the DNA of SLU and a team with that DNA isn't going to pack it in just because they can't get a top 4 seed.
 

Jive36

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If we don’t use a heavy dose of zone, I’ll be deeply perturbed.

Expect deep perturbation.
The alternative to zone is the double and scramble defense we used successfully? against Richmond. I think you risk picking up ticky tack fouls on the the guards/wings by doubling down of French. He is more practiced at negotiating a double team than Golden was.

I agree that a compact zone that forces SLU to take outside shots is the play. If you wanted to get really crazy give a box and 1 with somebody chasing/denying Perkins or Collins a try. I'd even give Alpha a chance to be the chaser when English or Lofton needed a rest. The odds of us actually doing that are zero but if it was a best of 7 it would be something I'd try.
 
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Community Bank 3Pt Tee

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If the Dukes win tonight, St Louis would still be playing for the difference of the 5 vs 6 or even 7 seed (depending on Rhode Island) even if the double bye is out of play by the time we tip tomorrow. No matter what, they move up in seeding with a win tomorrow and drop with a loss. They are going to be ready to play.
 
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Jive36

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Bonnies on the ball

As CB3PT said earlier SLU is a tough team. They want to play 90s era Knicks vs Pacers basketball, every cutter is getting bumped, every rebound is contested, every drive to the basket ends with someone on the floor. They dare the refs to call every foul kind of like the Seahawks Legion of Boom defense. SLU struggles with teams that match their physicality. OO, Ikpeze, and Welch are going to have to be ready to work for every rebound because it will be a battle after every miss.

SLU cuts off passing lanes, not necessarily to force turnovers but to force you into playing 1v1 or 2v2. Our offense works best when we are running a pick and roll on one side swinging it to the other to setup a secondary or tertiary action. By playing in the passing lanes SLU will try to force us into only using one side of the floor.

LaSalle had success with keeping us to one side and one pass last week. We played into LaSalle’s hands by trying to play through the post so much. In theory we had a huge advantage with OO inside however they sagged off all the guards and were quick to recover. I don’t expect that we will try to play through the low post very much tomorrow with French and Bell manning the paint.

I will be intrigued to see who from SLU picks up Lofton. Collins is only a freshman and has been in foul trouble often in league play. He has fouled out of 3 games and gotten to 4 fouls in 5 others. Whoever he is on needs to be in attack mode and hopefully can get us to the bonus or to the line for easy points.

SLU points of offensive boards.

I’m unlikely to actually do the research on this one but my suspicion is you have to keep SLU from rebounding more than 30% of their own misses to have a chance to beat them. Dayton and Duquesne are the only teams in conference play that survived SLU getting over 30% of their own misses. In the Duquesne game SLU only made 38% from the line on 18 trips. The Dayton game was the first meeting where SLU forced overtime. Keeping SLU under 30% on the offensive glass does not guarantee a victory but letting them get over 30% almost certainly spells doom for the Bonnies.

Ikpeze

When I was reminiscing on some of Ikpeze’s best moments as a Bonnie, I realized that the 10 minutes he gave us vs SLU in the championship were huge. He also gave us 14 big minutes in the last game of the regular season vs SLU. He didn’t fill up the box score like OO does but he is a big body that can bang with French and Bell.

In 51 minutes against SLU last year OO picked up 8 fouls, and really most of those fouls were in the first 40 minutes and then he played passively down the stretch of the champ game to avoid further foul trouble. I think OO has gotten better at avoiding foul trouble this year but I still expect this to be a matchup he struggles with and we will need another solid inning eating performance by Ikpeze. (Also if we go Hack-a-Hasahn we will need those 5 extra fouls).
 
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PYBonnie05

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Last year’s SLU team hurt us with a sustained run that just so happened to coincide with one of our scoring droughts. Most runs happen like that, but when we can’t score, we REALLY can’t score.

Their rentaplayers and timely threes KILLED us last year. This year they have Perkins who, like said above, can pretty much take over a game if he wants to. French/Goodwin have their warts (shooting, ft shooting, and more), but they’re not selfish at all. That allows this current team to be good. If either gets antsy or selfish tomorrow, we have a chance.
 
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Jive36

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I actually have a half baked idea about those runs that kill us. Often we are waiting for a media timeout and we just cant get a whistle. Coach doesn't want to burn a timeout so the run goes on for an extra possession or two. My half baked idea is to intentionally foul to draw the media timeout. There are a bunch of potential problems with this idea but Lofton, English, Welch and even Winston have relatively low fouls called per 40 minute rates.

The players would have to be smart about who fouls given the current foul situation, so you would be asking them to keep track of a ton of information on top of everything else going on in a game. All the obvious problems are why I called it a half baked idea because I haven't quite solved how you would do it in practice.
 
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Lewis Leonard

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The Bonnies have 6 losses in A10 play. They showed up for 1 of those games (vs URI). The other 5 were a disgrace.

They better be ready for a battle. If they lose, so be it. I just can’t stomach another blowout. Show some fight and grit.
 

Citizen X

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I have convinced myself that AJ and Winston are money players, meaning they play their best on a big stage where much is at stake. Chaifetz and Dayton are the only arenas in the conference I regard as the "big stage" and there is a lot on the line here, so let's go team. I noticed on last night's ESPN broadcast of the Davidson-VCU also ran contest that the commentators had already penciled in SLU as the 4-seed. Need to give these pundits a comeuppance!
 

BullShay01

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Winston and AJ are sophomores now... earlier in the season, I cringed when they just let it fly... but I love their confidence, so from here on out, if they have an open look, then they should let it rip... we’re going to need scoring punch tonight and at A-10s... it’s not the time to hold back!
 
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Bonafanatic

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Vasquez is tied with welch as our second highest 3 pt shooter at 36%. I’ve always wanted him to take the open look. He’s got a nice stroke and has a deceptive dribble.
 
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BonaCommenter

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As a Vasquez stan, I feel like he's a little more tentative lately and I think I'm right. He's just 5/20 from 3 in February/March. I've noticed he's also been less willing to catch-and-shoot. He'll pump, take one dribble to the side and either pull, hesitate or pass. I don't know if Schmidt has been getting on him about shot selection or what, but he is absolutely the 6th man that can completely transform a game like A10 co-douchebag of the year (per @SBUnfurled) Tavian Dunn-Martin.

FREE ALEJANDRO!
 
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