Tiny Dancers: St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure is officially the least popular NCAA tournament team among the squads on the bubble heading into Selection Sunday. The Bonnies made a surprising run through the Atlantic 10 tournament as a No. 4 seed, beating Xavier in the championship game to earn the automatic bid. Their win means the A-10 will likely get four bids to the Big Dance – and one bubble team will get left out. Of course, that does not matter to the people in Olean, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure is going to the NCAA tournament.

The Bonnies took care of business against Xavier in the championship game, getting out to an early lead on the Musketeers and winning 67-56. Andrew Nicholson went for 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks, dominating on the offensive end and constantly bailing out the Bonnies on defense. St. Bonaventure also held Xavier to 2-of-13 shooting from 3-point range and dominated the Musketeers on the glass.

St. Bonaventure won’t be a fun first-round opponent. The Bonnies control tempo and are very efficient on the offensive end. They love attacking the offensive glass and taking advantage of second chances and free throws. Nicholson is a hoss on the low block. Defensively, they limit offensive rebounds and contest everything inside the arc.

St. Bonaventure won the Atlantic 10 tournament despite being a No. 4 seed. (US Presswire)

Player to know: Andrew Nicholson. One of the most underrated big men in the country, Nicholson will get a chance to show off his game on a national stage. He dominated the A-10 tournament, averaging 23.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.3 blocks in three games. Nicholson posted nine double-doubles this season, and has not scored fewer than 19 points in a game since February 1. He has the ability to carry the Bonnies on the inside, and won’t back down from anyone.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 20-11, 10-6 in Atlantic 10
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 2000, No. 12 seed, lost to Kentucky 85-80 in the first round.
  • We’re thinking: 13-seed
  • KenPom ranking: 59
  • Sagarin ranking: 70
  • RPI: 79
  • Best wins: Xavier, Saint Joseph’s (2), Dayton
  • Worst losses: Arkansas State, Duquesne
  • Notable stat: St. Bonaventure has won its last five games decided in overtime or by five points or fewer – and there’s good reason. The Bonnies shooting 75.6 percent from the free-throw line, good enough for No. 18 in the country.
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