Hawks-Bonnies Part II: Preview

On February 3rd, Mark Schmidt's Saint Bonaventure team marched into Hagan Arena and ran a shooting clinic on St. Joe's. The Bonnies shot for 13-34 from three and 14-15 from the free throw line en route to an 83-73 win. St. Joe's travels to Rochester, New York for a rematch with the Bonnies on Wednesday. A full preview is inside.

Wednesday night's Saint Bonaventure-Saint Joseph's game has all sorts of implications for both teams, both in terms of Atlantic 10 standings and in terms of tournament safety. Let's start off with Atlantic 10 standings implications. At the moment, St. Joe's and VCU are atop the Atlantic 10 at 13-3. VCU hosts Davidson Wednesday before traveling to Dayton on Saturday night. The Hawks and Rams are tied for first place, with Dayton in third place at 13-4 following tonight's come-from-behind win at Richmond. Dayton hosts VCU Saturday. Then you have Saint Bonaventure in fourth place, at the moment, at 12-4.

To sift through all that, a St. Joe's win Wednesday would bring them to 14-3 and keep them in at least second place in the conference. A Saint Bonaventure loss would bring them to 13-4 and tied with Dayton. Depending on what happens with VCU, a Bonnies loss could drop the Hawks down to fourth place in league play. The Hawks close the season with Duquesne on Sunday. In the next five days, all the dust will settle. St. Joe's, VCU, Dayton, and Saint Bonaventure will finish in first through fourth place in the league. Who finishes where has yet to be determined though.

Now, in terms of NCAA Tournament implications. A Bonnies win Wednesday night would give them another top 50 win and help push them closer to the right side of the bubble. It wouldn't lock up a bid for the Bonnies, but it would get them closer. A loss, on the flip side, would make an at-large bid that much tougher. For the Hawks, a win Wednesday night would punch their ticket. ESPN's Bubble Watch said as much, "The resume isn't so ironclad that we can feel completely comfortable about a lock just yet, but that tune will likely change if Phil Martelli's team wins at St. Bonaventure's Wednesday night."

Now onto the actual game. The Bonnies have beaten the Hawks four straight times over the last two seasons. Mark Schmidt's team beat the Hawks twice last year in the regular season then knocked St. Joe's out of the Atlantic 10 tournament. They then beat the Hawks at Hagan Arena in early February. Last time around, Jaylen Adams torched the Hawks. The sophomore guard out of Baltimore went off for 31 points on 6-12 shooting from three. Senior forward Dion Wright chipped in with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds.

The last meeting between the two teams was played at a really high level. The Bonnies only turned the ball over twice, while the Hawks turned it over just seven times. The Bonnies knocked down 13 threes, and the Hawks knocked down 8-25. Wednesday night's game will likely follow a similar script. During his Hawk Talk Radio Show on Monday night, Phil Martelli cited the fact that the Bonnies shot 34 threes the first go-around, and then said he expected the same on Wednesday.

The Bonnies have won three straight, since falling to La Salle. Their wins are over Dayton, Duquesne, and UMass. They were down 45-35 at the half against UMass before surging back to steal an 85-83 win. Schmidt's squad went 11-25 from three and 22-26 from the free throw line in the win. These statistics, hitting from three at a high clip and then making the most of their trips to the free throw line, are staples of this year's Bonaventure team.

Wednesday's game is not being played on campus at Saint Bonaventure's, instead it's being played in Rochester, New York. Phil Martelli stressed that his Hawks aren't playing against an arena Wednesday. They're not playing against fans. They're playing against a very good basketball team. That being said, the fact that this game is off campus, I think, will matter. As a result, I'm going with the Hawks to snap their four-game losing streak against the Bonnies. I have the Hawks winning 79-76 to improve to 25-5 on the year. Isaiah Miles struggled against the Bonnies last time, and I think he carries the Hawks Wednesday. I'm looking for Miles to have a huge game and the Hawks to win a tight one.

Hawk Hill Hardwood Top Stories