By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
Bonnies Mailbag is back, after over a month! Some interesting questions this week. Here are my answers:
Q: With the Bonnies needing to win it all in Pittsburgh, a lot of people are going to keep comparing this team to the 2012 team. Besides the obvious fact that the 2012 team had a great forward and this team has great guards, I see a lot of similarities. Do you? -Peter F.
A: If you look at the flow of the season, there are definitely some comparisons you can make. Both teams were 5-3 through their first eight Atlantic 10 games. Saturday’s loss at Rhode Island was tough, but in the eighth game of the 2012 league slate, Bona lost by 24 at Saint Louis. Andrew Nicholson fouled out in just 10 minutes of play that game, while SLU scored 50 points in the second half.
It took the 2012 Bonnies until late February to really start hitting their stride going into A-10 Tournament play. After that two-point foul-out at Chaifetz Arena, Nicholson averaged 24 points a game, scoring 33 percent of Bona’s points the rest of the season. Jaylen Adams, the current team’s leading scorer, has scored about 27 percent of the team’s points when he hasn’t been out due to injury. Scorers like Matt Mobley and Denzel Gregg have helped ensure Adams doesn’t have to go off for 30 every game for the brown and white to be successful.
Another note: the 2012 team was the fourth seed and received a double-bye in the A-10 Tournament despite an unspectacular 10-6 conference mark. Since the league schedule expanded to 18 games for the 2014-15 season, 12 or 13 wins has been the benchmark to start play on Friday, so two games over .500 (11-7) is highly unlikely to do the trick anymore.
Q: Is Matt Mobley being over-worked? Could you see Schmidt bringing in Kaputo or Coburn to spell him for a couple minutes in the next few games? -Patrick F.
A: Mobley could probably benefit from a couple more minutes of rest, as the rigors of the season begin to take their toll, but I don’t see Schmidt taking him out for rest’s sake. If the Bonnies are able to play a complete game against Duquesne on Wednesday and lead big in the second half, the Worchester, Mass. native could play just 30-32 minutes instead of his average of 38.2, currently second in the nation.
Coburn is a talented freshman who is likely learning a lot from watching one of the best guard combos in the college game. For freshmen, watching and learning is sometimes the most valuable course of action for their development. As for Kaputo, he could be an important reserve in the next few weeks, as an aggressive Adams has had his struggles with foul trouble. Kaputo must play an “A” or “B” game when Adams needs to sit.
Q: A-10 coaches: rank ’em. -Ryan J.
A. 1. Archie Miller 2. Phil Martelli 3. Mark Schmidt 4. Will Wade 5. Chris Mooney 6. Bob McKillop 7. John Giannini 8. Derek Kellogg 9. Danny Hurley 10. Dave Paulsen 11. Jeff Neubauer 12. Jim Ferry. Not ranked: First-year coaches Travis Ford and Maurice Joseph, who need some more time to start judging.
Q: Are you concerned that the teams ahead of Bonaventure right now all own the tiebreaker over them? -Weston P.
A: It’s too early to be concerned about tiebreakers; Bona hasn’t played everyone yet. The more the team wins, the less of a concern past matchups become anyway. When Dayton and VCU owned the tiebreaker last year and were the one and two seeds, it wasn’t like anyone was crushed about being a three-seed.
With those tiebreakers in effect, Bonaventure is currently the six-seed. If it is unable to crack the top four, is there any more exciting time slot than having a 9 p.m. game on Thursday and, if you win, another 9 p.m. game on Friday? The SBU fans thrived with that late game last year.
Q: As Pittsburgh inches closer, have you heard anything about a pep band for the A-10 Tourney? Why we don’t have one in regular season play, which to me is a necessary addition? -Terry C.
A: I haven’t heard anything; I assume it will be like in years past, when Bona supplies another school some Wolfpack shirts to become the “Bonaventure Band.”
A pep band would be nice for A-10s, where most if not all other teams bring one anyway. But I disagree with those who think Bonaventure needs one in the Reilly Center. The RC is one of the loudest, best atmospheres in the conference; why is it “necessary” to add a band?
When the opposition calls timeout after a big Bona run, it’s so cool to hear the student section burst out in cheers, do the “Seven Nation Army” chant and jump around; the TV cameras love showing it, too. Some of the quieter arenas definitely benefit from trumpets, saxophones, drums and the like. One of the things that makes the Bonaventure student section so special is that there is so much natural noise and excitement. A band isn’t a necessity, just a cool add-on.