What to expect: St. Bonaventure, yaaawnnn (but maybe not after Saturday)

#18 Virginia Commonwealth University travels to Olean, New York to visit St. Bonaventure on Saturday. The Bonnies may finally have what it takes to add intrigue to this blasé match-up.

  • What: #18 VCU (18-4, 8-1) vs. St. Bonaventure (12-8, 5-4)
  • Where: Reilly Center
  • When: Saturday, February 7th at 2:00 PM
  • Watch: NBC Sports Network
  • Listen: Rams Radio

#18 Virginia Commonwealth University travels to Olean, New York to visit St. Bonaventure on Saturday. The Bonnies may finally have what it takes to add intrigue to this blasé match-up.


VCU is only halfway through its third season in the Atlantic 10, but the Rams are already developing rich history with teams around the league. For instance, Saint Louis is a household name in Ram country, fans still have nightmares about Patricio Garino at the top of the 1-3-1 zone last season, and La Salle has earned its keep by being one of two A-10 teams to win the Siegel Center. But conspicuously absent from the conversation about interesting and passionate conference match-ups is St. Bonaventure.

Perpetually not good enough to contend but good enough to not join the comedy of errors that is the basement of the Atlantic 10, the Bonnies just sort of are. Their balance on offense and defense doesn’t allow them to build a reputation as suffocating defenders (Saint Louis) or run-and-gun shooters (UMass) and their lack of a dominant player since Andrew Nicholson keeps them off of the conference front page.

All of that could change on Saturday. Nothing gets VCU to pay more attention to a team than a team beating VCU. The Rams travel to New York with Briante Weber on the bench, Treveon Graham doubtful/questionable, and a lack a definite answers. Meanwhile, the Bonnies are coming off of a 62-61 victory over Davidson in North Carolina. Trouble brews in Olean.


On Wednesday, VCU responded to adversity with one of the more inspired performances of the season. The Rams’ killer instincts shined as they cruised to victory after facing a halftime deficit, but that was against George Mason. St. Bonaventure will be less forgiving.

VCU needs Melvin Johnson and Jordan Burgess to shoot more consistently, they need the invaluable contribution of the three-headed monster that is Alie-Cox, Tillman, and Michael Gilmore, and they need JeQuan Lewis and Doug Brooks to continue being two of the most exciting players in the league. If the Rams show integrity to their individual skills and characters while channeling motivation from the growing list of players forced to watch from the sidelines, then something special, not trouble, could happen in Olean.


St. Bonaventure lacks that distinguishing element that makes almost every other team in the Atlantic 10 so interesting. The most novel part of the Bonnies is the fact that their roster includes a freshman named Jaylen Adams and a freshman named Jalen Adams.

Outside of exceptional rebounding, the Bonnies are satisfactory on offense and satisfactory on defense. They aren’t even bad enough at anything to be interesting. They play a moderate pace, and they score a ton of points at the free-thow line.

The bottom line: any interest on Saturday is going to have to come from the dodging, ducking, dipping, diving Rams. If VCU maintains its edge from this past Wednesday, it could be an entertaining game of Mo Alie-Cox posterizing a seven-footer and Doug Brooks transforming into his alter-ego, Dougie Buckets, chasing balls and launching an even blend of swished 3-pointers and airballs.

THE STAR: #35 Youssou Ndoye

12.3 PPG (.481 2PFG, .700 FT), 10.8 RPG, 2.8 BPG

Ndoye’s offense is far from polished, but the seven-foot senior is a defensive force and rebounding machine. VCU will face it’s second player averaging a double-double in as many games. GMU’s Shevon Thompson struggled to get any offense going against Mo Alie-Cox and Justin Tillman (six points, four turnovers), but he grabbed an unbelievable 16 rebounds and blocked two shots.

Ndoye is larger and more experienced than Thompson. VCU will need another special night from Alie-Cox and Tillman in order to limit Ndoye’s contribution en route to the Rams’ ninth conference victory.


#10 Jaylen Adams (PG, Freshman) • Freshman point guard! Not to be confused with Jalen Adams, who rarely sees the court.

#3 Marcus Posley (SG, Junior) • He’s a great 3-point shooter and he’s averaging a team-high 17.2 PPG.

#23 Andell Cumberbatch (G/F, Senior) • Classic does-a-little-bit-of-everything small forward senior.

#21 Dion Wright (F, Junior) • Wright is having an under-the-radar season as one of the better players in the conference. He’s scored in double-figures in five straight games including 21 against La Salle and 22 against Rhode Island.


KenPom picks VCU to win 71-66 with a 71% chance of victory.

St. Bonaventure PROFILE

  • Location: Olean, NY
  • Enrollment: ~2,500
  • Conference: A-10
  • All-time Series Tied 2-2.
  • Last Meeting 3/8/2014. VCU won 86-67.
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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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