Play-In Game V. The Bonnie’s. Who Are They?

Now that most of us are over the fact that our Bruins got hosed with the play in game thing while sC coach’s, players, and supporters are still scratching their heads, let’s take a look at St Bonaventure.

I dove into some St Bonnie film and almost wished I hadn’t! This Atlantic 10 team is very athletic and shoots very well from behind the arc. They basically run three guards and two forwards, and primarily play a solid switching man to man defense.

The Bonnie’s appear to be a very confident team and ironically resemble UCLA on offense a bit with multiple skilled ball handling players able to push the ball after a defensive stop with other athletic players running the wings looking for early offense. But they can also execute very nicely in their half court motions and sets against either man or zone defenses.

In the half court they relentlessly attack the rim with aggression and athleticism. When you run them off the arc, especially from a zone defense, their wings penetrate to the paint creating high percentage interior scoring opportunities. Utilizing unselfish ball movement the sharp shooting wings also love to up-fake the would be defender closing out, often getting said defender to fly by while the wings simply take a one rhythm dribble to the left or right followed by a patient balanced three point shot. Well coached in this regard are the Bonnie’s.

I watched most of the 12/17 St Bonaventure V. Syracuse game which was a typical Syracuse low scoring affair. The Bonnie’s won that game 60-57. As you probably know Syracuse primarily plays a 2-1-2 or 2-3 zone that can morph into a 3-2 for brief moments. Cuse rarely comes out of said zone unless their picking up in their full or half court trap/press so this game was a good barometer as to how the Bonnie’s attack the zone.

As you also know the Bruins tend to play more zone than man, 3-2 primarily, and this has me concerned. The Bonnie’s had great success against the Orangeman zone and the Bruin zone isn’t nearly on the same level as coach Jimmy B’s zone. In that game St Bonaventure showed upper class-man patience as they expertly passed the ball inside to the paint area against the Orangeman from disciplined well coached wing angles.

Once inside, the interior passing was a thing of beauty with the ball either being dumped base line to the forward executing the flex cut or kicked out to the afore mentioned spot up wing shooters against a sagging zone. I fear St B’s ability to creat an inside outside rhythm against the Bruin zone with Bonnie wings knocking down open 3 after open 3. The range their wings possess is clearly NBA status! If the outside shot is falling Alford will need to go man maybe more than he would like.

I also watched the February St Bonaventure game V. Duquesne. Both teams played man to man defense so this lent great insight to how they attacked said man. The Bonnie guards and athletic forwards pick and rolled Duquesne to death! Bonnie guard #3 Jaylen Adams plays a lot like Aaron Holiday. He has a great handle, court vision, outside shot and is fearless to the rim. Coach Alford and Aaron have their hands full with this kid. Also the wings were able to blow past the Duquesne defenders often.

With the short turn around and prep time it will be very interesting to watch Coach make adjustments possession to possession as well as quarter to quarter. He has struggled with this at times this season especially in the Stanford and Michigan losses. Speaking of tha Michigan loss It would be safe to say that if he would have guided the team to a win in that game the Bruins wouldn’t be in the play-In game situation their in now. But I digress; the toothpaste is out of the tube on that issue all we can do is hope he can make the right adjustments Tuesday night in Dayton.

A great way to keep a team off balanced offensively is to rapidly and often throw several different types of defense at them from possession to possession and especially out of time outs.

This is something Coach Alford doesn’t do much of or at least hasn’t to this point in the season. This tactic generally disrupt a teams offensive attack as they are forced to constantly regroup and convert too a different offense. It can be frustrating and distracting offensively to both the players and the opposing teams coaching staff.

A token 3/4 court press after a scored basket or Bruin turn over at the far end of the court is another way to slow the Bonnie’s down, burn shot clock, and make them find a good shot late in the shot clock. ‘Disruptive’ should be the theme on defense.

Defense is going to be the key as our offense will find holes in this Bonnie defense. UCLA has been playing better defense through the end of the season as well as through the Pac 12 Tourney.

The only other thing that scares me a bit is the Bruin free throw shooting. An issue all season, this no doubt is a huge key in tournament play as you have to convert at the charity line.

But the Bruins will need to actually get to the line which means attacking the rim and getting the ball inside while not falling in love with the three point shot or trying to knock St Bonaventure out to quick or early; in turn punching themselves out to barrow a boxing term. Bruins have to be ready for two full halves of relentless pressure and can’t be frustrated that the Bonnie’s don’t go away simply because of the four letters on the Bruins uniforms.

Vegas has the Bruins -3.5 favs!

Go Bruins....

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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