It’s a battle of Atlantic 10 teams on the college hardwood in the Old Dominion. The St. Bonaventure Bonnies are on the road as they make the trip to face the VCU Rams Saturday afternoon. St. Bonaventure earned their fourth straight win as they took down Massachusetts 74-61 at home Saturday in their previous contest. VCU was dropped 79-65 on the road by #13 VCU in their previous contest Tuesday night. The Rams own a 5-4 edge in the all-time series between the teams, including an 85-55 road win in the most recent matchup on February 9, 2019.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies Seek Fifth Straight WinSt. Bonaventure started the year slowly as they dropped four of their first five games. Since then, the Bonnies have been on a tear with four straight victories and 11 wins in their last 12 games overall. Their lone loss in that stretch is a five-point defeat on the road against Buffalo. While there haven’t been a ton of eye-opening victories in that run, the fact that they’ve won 11 of their last 12 is hard to overlook. It’s also hard to miss the fact that the Bonnies’ first win of the season is arguably their best as they knocked off Rutgers on a neutral floor.
The Bonnies scuffle a bit on the offensive end of the floor this season, ranking 291st in the country by putting up 68.3 points per contest. St. Bonaventure collects 36.5 boards a game this season while ranking 201st in assists by handing out 13.3 dimes a night. The Bonnies are terrific on the defensive end of the floor as they are 39th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 61.7 points per game this year. Kyle Lofton is the team’s leading scorer as he puts up 15 points and 6.6 assists per game on the seas season. Dominick Welch (11.5 points) and Jaren English (10.3 ppg) are other guys averaging in double figures. Osun Ossunniyi (9.9 points, 9.3 boards, 3.2 blocks), Justin Winston, Alejandro Vasquez, Bobby Planutis and Amadi Ikpeze are key contributors for coach Mark Schmidt. St. Bonaventure shoots 43.5 percent from the field on the year. The Bonnies knock down 7.1 triples per game while connecting on 35.1 percent from beyond the arc. St. Bonaventure is above average at the free throw line last season, converting 74.9 percent of their attempts.
The Bonnies are very good on the defensive end of the floor, taking pressure off their offense. According to KenPom.com, St. Bonaventure is 55th in effective field goal percentage defense (45.8 percent) this season. In addition, the Bonnies are 92nd in three-point field goal percentage defense (31.1 percent), 64th in two-point field goal percentage defense (45.1 percent) and 38th in block percentage (12.9 percent) this season. Those numbers, coupled with the methodical pace St. Bonaventure plays (324th in tempo with 65 possessions a night) makes teams have to maximize each trip down the floor.
VCU Rams Looking to Snap SlideVCU has gone the opposite way of St. Bonaventure. After a hot start, the Rams have come back to earth a little bit. VCU opened the year with six straight wins but has gone 6-5 since that point, including losses in their last two. Granted, the Rams have lost to some high-profile teams as their losses came to Purdue, Tennessee, Wichita State, Rhode Island and Dayton. The fact remains that VCU has as many wins against teams ranked 300th or worse (two) this season as they do against teams in the top 100 and one of those (North Texas) is barely in the mix at #98. The Rams signature win was over a good LSU team but it came by a bucket at home in the third game of the season.
The Rams are putting up an average of 70.6 points per game on the season so far. VCU collects 34.1 rebounds per contest and dishes out 13.2 assists per game. The Rams have been solid on the defensive end, ranking 44th in the nation by allowing 62 points per contest. Marcus Santos-Silva leads the team with 13.1 points and nine rebounds per contest on the season. Marcus Evans (11.2 points) and De’Riante Jenkins (11.1 points, 4.2 rebounds) also average in double figures. Mike’L Simms, Nah’Shon Hyland, Issac Vann and KeShawn Curry are important pieces in the Rams’ rotation. VCU shoots 42.6 percent from the field as a team on the year. The Rams knock down 7.6 three pointers a night while shooting 33.8 percent from beyond the arc. VCU has been average at the charity stripe, converting only 71.8 percent of their chances this season.
Like the Bonnies, the Rams do their best work on the defensive end of the floor. According to KenPom.com, VCU is 25th in the nation in defensive efficiency this season. The Rams are third in turnover percentage (26.6 percent), 24th in block percentage (14.3 percent) and sixth in steal percentage (13.6 percent) on the year. One thing that the Rams aren’t afraid to do is up the tempo as they are 98th in the nation in that category with 70.4 possessions per game.
The top trends for this contest according to Covers.com:
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