St. Bonaventure Bonnies

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

March Madness 2017 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Preview, Bracket and Conference Postseason Awards

Leave a comment

Atlantic 10 Player of the Year: T.J. Cline, Richmond

The 6-foot-9 senior forward was not only one of the most efficient players in the conference, he was the only player in the Atlantic 10 to rank top-5 in (18.6 PPG), rebounds (8.1 RPG) and assists (5.7 APG). He had a triple-double — 34 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists — against Duquesne and then recorded another one — 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists — in his final game at Richmond.

Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year: Archie Miller, Dayton

Last year, Dayton was in a three-way tie for first place. This season, the Flyers won it outright with a 15-3 conference record. Miller had to balance early-season injuries to Kendall Pollard and transfer Josh Cunningham, which shortended his frontline. Following a loss to VCU, which finished in second place, the Flyers went on a nine-game winning streak, capped with a win at home against the Rams.

First-Team All-Atlantic 10

  • T.J. Cline, Richmond
  • Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure: The senior guard was second in the conference in scoring at 20.8 points, and led the A10 in assists and 6.6 dimes per game.
  • Charles Cooke, Dayton: Also an all-defense selection by the A10 coaches, Cooke led the Flyers in scoring at 16.5 points per game to go along with his 5.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists a night.
  • Jack Gibbs, Davidson: The conference’s leading scorer at 22.0 points per game. The repeat selection registered a handful of 30-point games.
  • Marquise Moore, George Mason: At 6-foot-2, the senior guard averaged a double-double — 17.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game — leading the A10 in rebounding at 6-foot-2. He was instrumental in an eight-win turnaround for the Patriots.

Second Team All-Atlantic 10:

  • Peyton Aldridge, Davidson,
  • Tyler Cavanaugh, George Washington
  • JeQuan Lewis, VCU
  • Hassan Martin, Rhode Island
  • Scoochie Smith, Dayton

RELATED: Player of the Year | Coach of the Year | NBC Sports All-Americans

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

It’s been three years since the Atlantic 10 set a conference record by sending six teams to the NCAA Tournament. For the third straight year, the league is set to send half that amount, at best.

Rhode Island entered the season in the preseason top-25, but will likely remain on the bubble unless it makes it to Sunday’s tournament title game. Dayton won the league outright after overcoming early season injuries on the frontline. The Flyers are safe, as is VCU, who finished second to Dayton in the A10 standings this season.

The A10 wasn’t as strong as in previous seasons, but it could result in an eventful week in Pittsburgh. Will Dayton and VCU face off in a rubber match? Will Rhode Island secure its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1999? Or is there a bid stealer ready to make a run?

The Bracket

When: March 8-13

Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh

Final: Sunday, March 13 12:30 p.m.

Favorite: Dayton

The Flyers topped the league for the second straight season; this time outright. After dealing with injuries early in the season, which played a role in a loss in a marquee home game against Saint Mary’s, followed by an upset loss to Nebraska, putting them on the wrong side of the Wooden Legacy bracket. However, Dayton enters Pittsburgh as winners of nine of its last 10. That span includes a win at Rhode Island and avenging a loss to VCU. Scoochie Smith, Charles Cooke and Kendall Pollard lead an experienced team with the league’s best offense, matched with a solid defense.

And if they lose?: VCU

The Rams finished second in the A10 and owns a win over Dayton. Like the Flyers, VCU has an experienced group led by seniors JeQuan Lewis and Mo-Alie Cox. Both meetings were decided by single digits. In both games, the Rams frontline, anchored by Cox and Justin Tillman, gave Dayton’s front court fits.

Will Wade (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Other Contenders:

  • Rhode Island: The Rams enter this year as the conference favorite. They certainly have the talent, and perhaps a sense of urgency kicks in as the Rams are still one the bubble.
  • Richmond: Led by A10 Player of the Year T.J. Cline, the Spiders head to Pittsburgh as winners of four in a row. However, Richmond is 0-2 against VCU this season, a team it could potential face in the semifinals.

Sleeper: St. Bonaventure

With Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, the Bonnies have two guards who can really light it up. While they finished the regular season 6-4, they did give both VCU and Dayton a tough test during meetings last month.

The Bubble Dwellers: One

  • Rhode Island: The Rams followed up a marquee non-conference win against a ranked Cincinnati team by losing four of their next six. A 21-win season, and a recent win over VCU, could keep URI on the right side of the bubble. However, a one-an-done performance this week could mean a long night on Selection Sunday.

Defining moment of the season: JeQuan Lewis takes a charge on in-bounds pass with 0.4 seconds remaining.

On Feb. 8, George Washington’s Yuta Watanabe hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in a game against VCU. In lieu of going the length of the court for the next-to-impossible buzzer-beater, JeQuan Lewis drew a charge on Tyler Cavanaugh, sunk two free throws and the Rams left D.C. with the heist of a 54-53 victory. The previous game, a premature court storm by the St. Bonaventure fans, gave VCU a free throw, which helped force overtime.

VCU would have been on the wrong side of the bubble had it not won both those games, especially with Lewis’ quick thinking against the Colonials. Instead, the Rams are all but assured a seventh consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament.

CBT Prediction: Dayton

St. Bonaventure gets high-scoring guard transfer

Leave a comment

St. Bonaventure landed a high-scoring guard as former Central Connecticut State guard Matt Mobley announced on Twitter that he committed to the Bonnies.

A 6-foot-1 sophomore guard, Mobley averaged 17.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game last season while shooting 40 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range. He’ll have to sit out the 2015-16 season before getting two more seasons of eligibility.

Mobley will be moving up a league into the Atlantic 10, but with multiple 30-point games under his belt at the college level, he should help as a scoring guard in the St. Bonaventure rotation. After shooting 31 percent from 3-point range as a team last season, Mobley could certainly improve their spacing and perimeter shooting.

Jordan Gathers, nephew of Hank Gathers, transfers to Butler

1 Comment

Butler received a commitment from St. Bonaventure transfer guard Jordan Gathers on Sunday. Gathers is the nephew of the late Hank Gathers, who was the star of the high-powered Loyola Marymount offense.

Gathers decided to transfer out of the St. Bonaventure program back in mid-December. When the school released that news, it stated that Gathers had recently completed his Bachelor’s degree, meaning he’s a graduate transfer and will be immediately eligible to play next season at Butler.

The 6-foot-3 guard underwent hip surgery in June and did not appear in any games for the Bonnies this past season. As a junior, he averaged 8.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He also led St. Bonaventure to the Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinals, hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to upset top-seeded Saint Louis in the quarterfinals.

Butler, a surprise team this season that won 23 games for first-year head coach Chris Holtmann, will certainly be hurt by the loss of Alex Barlow, but the Butler perimeter brings back top scorer Kellen Dunham as well as Roosevelt Jones. Tyler Lewis, the NC State transfer, will fill Barlow’s spot at point.

Gathers joins three-star center Nate Fowler and shooting guard Sean McDermott in Butler’s incoming class.

WATCH LIVE: Atlantic 10 tournament: St. Bonaventure vs. Dayton and George Washington vs. Rhode Island

Leave a comment

After No. 24 Davidson and VCU managed to earn spots in Saturday’s Atlantic 10 semifinals, four teams will look to grab the final two spots in the night session at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and both games can be seen on NBCSN and NBC Sports LiveExtra. At 6:30 p.m. Eastern two-seed Dayton takes on seven-seed St. Bonaventure, with Archie Miller’s Flyers looking to build on what’s been a good season to this point.

Despite playing a seven-man rotation led by senior guard Jordan Sibert and junior forward Dyshawn Pierre, the Flyers remained in the Atlantic 10 title race until the final weekend of the regular season. As for St. Bonaventure, Mark Schmidt’s team has won four straight with their most recent victory being a 60-49 win over Saint Joseph’s Thursday night.

WATCH LIVE: Stream St. Bonaventure vs. Dayton here.

In the nightcap three-seed Rhode Island, which has taken the next step in its rebuilding process under head coach Dan Hurley slightly quicker than some anticipated, takes on George Washington. The Rams don’t lack for young contributors who are already major factors in the Atlantic 10, including sophomores Hassan Martin and E.C. Matthews and freshman Jared Terrell.

As for the Colonials, Mike Lonergan’s team is looking to make a run in Brooklyn after beginning conference play as a team expected to not only return to the NCAA tournament but possibly win once there as well. With four double-digit scorers led by Patricio Garino, the Colonials have won three straight including their 18-point victory over Duquesne Thursday night.

WATCH LIVE: Stream George Washington vs. Rhode Island here.

Jordan Sibert, Dyshawn Pierre lead Dayton past St. Bonaventure (VIDEO)

2 Comments

Dayton retained possession of a share of first place in the Atlantic 10 Saturday afternoon, beating St. Bonaventure 75-61 at UD Arena. Leading the way for the Flyers were senior guard Jordan Sibert and junior forward Dyshawn Pierre, with Sibert accounting for 24 points and seven steals and Pierre adding 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Sibert and Pierre were two of the four Dayton starters who finished the game in double figures, and as a team Dayton shot 52.1% from the field. However Dayton received just nine minutes from forward Kendall Pollard, who left the game in the first half after colliding with a St. Bonaventure player. With Pollard sidelined, even more was needed from Pierre and he stepped forward.

At 9-3 in conference play, Dayton is tied with No. 20 VCU and Rhode Island for first place in the Atlantic 10. The Flyers still have games remaining against both, as they visit VCU February 28 and host Rhode Island March 3.

St. Bonaventure, which played without injured freshman point guard Jaylen Adams, received 16 points and 12 rebounds from center Youssou Ndoye but the Bonnies shot 0-for-11 from three and committed 17 turnovers on the afternoon.

St. Bonaventure loses freshman point guard to broken finger

Leave a comment

Freshman point guard Jaylen Adams has been a valuable player for St. Bonaventure this season, averaging 10.3 points and 4.7 assists per game for a team that is now 6-5 in the Atlantic 10 after dropping a 55-53 decision to UMass on Wednesday. Unfortunately for head coach Mark Schmidt, that game may have been Adams’ last of this season.

Friday morning it was reported by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com that Adams underwent season-ending surgery to repair a broken finger. News of Adams’ injury was first reported Thursday by The Bona Blog.

Without Adams late in the UMass game (he fouled out with just over a minute remaining and the Bonnies ahead by four), St. Bonaventure used Marcus Posley at the point. St. Bonaventure failed to score a point in the final 2:45 of Wednesday’s game, and after Adams fouled out the Bonnies committed two turnovers. Posley had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but his three-pointer missed the mark.

With Adams out of the lineup, junior Iakeem Alston should see more minutes alongside starters Posley and Andell Cumberbatch. However it should be noted that Alston’s played an average of just 7.8 minutes per game this season.

Adams was both a solid complimentary scorer and a good distributor of the basketball, as he not only compiled assists but took care of the ball as well. This is a big loss for the Bonnies as they look to improve their standing ahead of the Atlantic 10 tournament.