Why I'm Worried about St. Bonaventure

By Michael Weber
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Hornet's Nest
Call me crazy, call me a pessimist, call me whatever you'd like, but I'm very, very worried about this weekend's game against St. Bonaventure. 

WEB:  I'll take "Best Player's in the A10" for $1,000" Alex. 
ALEX:  Answer, Daily Double.  How much would you like to wager?
WEB:  Let's go for the gusto; all of it; I'm feeling lucky!
ALEX:  This player has scored, 18, 29, 29, 21 and 25 points in his 5 career games against Duquesne.  He also will be a member of the first team all A10 to be announced at the end of the year in Atlantic City.  He also stands 6-9, towering over any of Duquesne's players and has added a smooth 17 foot, J, to his game this year?
WEB:  (Thinking in his head...I've got this baby, yeah).  The GREAT Andrew Nicholson.
ALEX:  Sorry WEB, the answer must be in the form of a question.
WEB:  Ugh...
I think everyone gets my point, but so I'm clear, Andrew Nicholson is better than anyone on Duquesne and that alone, in and of itself, can carry teams to unexpected wins.  He has absolutely dominated Duquesne in his time in wonderful Olean, NY.  Come to think of it...why did he go to St. Bonaventure?  Must have been one of those late "bloomers" we hear so much about.  If only the Bonnies could have also landed late "bloomer" Jimmer Fredette.  Then we'd be in real trouble.  But they don't, so who cares?  Here is what they do have that scares me:

1 - Andrew Nicholson - If Andrew Nicholson can beat St. John's, he can beat Duquesne.  He hit the winning "shot" against St. John's and I stress shot.  His game has evolved onto another level this season, adding the 15-17 foot jumped.  We couldn't guard him before; how are we supposed to guard him now?  I know what everyone will say...the team was falling apart last year when we lost to them twice, but Saunders made first team and he was largely responsible for matching up with Nicholson.  He won defensive player of the year and Nicholson still did big things on him.  I laugh at the notion that one guy can't beat you.  Look at Fredette, Kemba Walker, heck, most teams who win the NCAA Tournament have "one" guy who leads them to it all.  Very rarely do you see a true "team" cut the nets down.  Just ask Pitt...they seem to run into a buzz-saw in the tournament.  Last year it was Jordan Crawford.  Way long ago it was Dwyane Wade.  Carmelo Anthony comes in and wins the title as a freshman.  Just look around, one player can make the difference. 

2 - I've been to Olean before...I'm lucky I'm alive.  Those fans are nuts.  Imagine being a Ohio State fan and seating in the student section at Beaver Stadium.  Well, that's about how opposing teams feel at the old and out-dated...but loud Reilly Center.  The students, alumni, fans and community pour their support into this team like Pittsburgh roots for the Steelers.  I called the Bonnies ticket office today to reserve 3 seats to the game.  I had my choice of 3 different locations for my seats.  Other than that, there were not 3 seats together.  Apparently this is the hot ticket in Olean, if you can call a ticket hot in Olean to begin with.  All kidding aside, they have the first place and undefeated team coming into their arena on a Saturday with the entire media contingent of 3 people(someone from the Olean Times Herald, Dave MacKall and Alan Robinson) covering this showcase of an event.  Students go to every single game up there like its the national championship.  I expect this to be nothing different and if the ball gets rolling the wrong way, look out...

3 - Let's face it.  You know it; I know it; and if you don't want to talk about it that's your choice.  If you deny it, then, well, you are fibbing.  The Dukes are due overdue for a clunker.  You don't just steamroll through an entire season by having all of your wins be by double digits.  It just isn't realistic to expect that to keep up.  And...we all know to well about how Ron Everhart coaches "up" his team in close games.  In fact, has Duquesne ever won a close game?  Could this be the clunker?...I hope not...but its out there.

4 - Charlotte actually didn't do this team any favors.  By beating Xavier, the Dukes might come out of the locker room having to turn their heads sideways since their egos might be HUGE.  I hope they check them at the door.  This A10 season is far from over and the Musketeers visit the home arena Consol Energy Center a week from Sunday.  Duquesne cannot get complacent. 

5 - A play off of number 4; Duquesne cannot look ahead to Xavier.  The focus needs to be there and if they start to look ahead for a second, the Bonnies will step on their throats and win this one. 

6 - Quite frankly, this is the biggest game of the year for the Bonnies.  They never anticipated Duquesne coming into the Reilly Center undefeated in league play.  The "A"  list celebrities will be out in Olean on Saturday night.  The Bonnies season hinges on this game.  They currently sit at 3-5 in the league and with a win can gain some momentum to try and finish above 500 in the A10 and secure a first round tournament home game.  A loss and their season is effectively over.   We all know how these can go...

7 - Is Duquesne reading all of the press?  They are being mentioned in several mock brackets, even garnering votes in the AP. Will they be able to put all of that to the side and focus on this game.  I have my doubts.  With a FR backcourt, its hard to predict how they will play on the road.  Talley and TJ have been nothing short of sensational for Duquesne.  But, in one of the A10's most hostile environments, can they handle the pressure of the student body breathing down their necks from the moment the ball tips into the air. 

8 - Did I mention they have Andrew Nicholson, its their biggest game of the year, their season hangs in the balance and the Reilly Center will be rocking?...