Matchup - DU vs. Saint Bonaventure

by Rogabee

Many on both Duquesne message boards have been quick to point out how St. Bona is a terrible matchup for the Dukes.  And inside they're correct.  Nicholson is likely to dominate whoever the Dukes put at the center position between Marhold, Datt, and Martin.  And it well may be enough to lead the Bonnies to a victory.  However, there's another matchup I'd like to look at as a Dukes fan.  I'd like to look at a quite favorable matchup the other way, the Dukes backcourt of Evans/Talley/McConnell vs. Saint Bonaventure's backcourt of Mosely/Davenport/Kloof/Wright. 

Perhaps it's just the games I've seen of St. Bona against Cornell (which I'll ignore for this post, especially because it was St. Bona's first game), Cleveland State, Virginia Tech, and Illinois (unfortunately I missed the NC State game), but the Bonnies backcourt has struggled under pressure from what I've seen.  And in a guard-oriented game like Everhart's Dukes are capable of making it, this matchup could be the one that changes the game the other direction.

Cleveland State:
Granted Nicholson fouling out with just under 4 to go in the Cleveland State game turned the entire game around, but the Bonnies backcourt really struggled the whole game but particularly late IMO (SBU scored only 3 points in the last 4 minutes IIRC), as St. Bona's backcourt finished with 14 turnovers to 4 assists for the game.

In Champaign, the Illini rallied from 9 down with just over 5 to go to defeat the Bonnies.  They did it by upping the defensive pressure, pressing full court, and applying constant ball pressure to finish on something like a 14-4 run IIRC.  11 2nd half turnovers helped to do the Bonnies in.

Virginia Tech:
The first half was just brutal to watch at times.  It seemed like there were as many turnovers as buckets, though I'm hopeful that wasn't actually the case.  Virginia Tech took control early in the second half and I don't recall the Bonnies ever fully getting back in the game.

Obviously the Dukes aren't as good as Cleveland State, Illinois, or Virginia Tech.  However, I wouldn't be surprised if the backcourt of DU could cause similar trouble that was presented in those games.  Yes, Nicholson (especially now that he's back 100%) is truly elite and can take a game over, especially against a respectively weaker inside game like that of the Dukes, but I don't think this is as bad of a matchup for the Dukes as others do.  I think it's close to a coin-flip game (and actually expect the Dukes to be the Vegas favorites when the lines come out), and still a series the Dukes can split.

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