The Atlantic Ten.
The mere mention of the conference strikes fear into the heart of basketball players across the world. There is nothing more intimidating than conference play. This is where teams make and break their seasons.
It’s easy to go through a nonconference slate with only four losses, but it’s much more difficult to do that battling your conference foes. No more intimidating visiting teams, they’ve been here before. Home court advantage isn’t nearly as strong and no one is scared to play anyone.
With conference play, you can always expect one team to fizzle out after a strong start (see: Rhode Island 07-08), one team to really stand out (Xavier, past two seasons), and the majority of the conference to finish in a clump.
This year could be different as early on there seems to be a dividing line betweeen the top and bottom of the conference. At the top you see Richmond, Temple, Xavier, Dayton, and Rhode Island. At the bottom is everyone else. Charlotte has the potential to be in the top, but looking back at our non conference schedule, it’s easy to see us finishing near the middle. We have exactly two wins over teams with winning records (Louisville and Hofstra), and we’ve lost handily to every tough team we’ve faced. The 49ers are bound to win a tough game this season, but when will it be?
Tonight, we face the Bonnies of Saint Bonaventure. You’d think they’d be more creative with their mascot name, but who are we to say anything? We’re the 49ers because of some “pioneering spirit”. WHat does that even mean?
Expect the team to go inside tonight to Spears and Braswell, as the Bonnies will utilize a four guard lineup for much of the night. As per usual in games against opponents without multiple strong post players, Spears will have his way and gobble up points. Braswell will post another double-double and Derrio will continue to play well.
It was conference play last year when DiJuan Harris really shined, so here’s to hoping we can expect that this season as well. When our point guard plays like a leader and puts in a solid effort, our team as a whole plays much, much better. With Xavier looming shortly ahead, the Niners need to regain some Swagger.
Niners will continue their winning ways and bring their win total up to 11, well before they did last season. Predictions are below, leave yours in the comments and you could win a scholarship to play for Fordham.
JRitchie – Niners pull out a close victory to regain some confidence before heading to the Cintas Center. 81-77 Charlotte victory.
D-Fo – After getting punked by Tennessee’s B-Squad (let’s be honest here, people), Charlotte needs to take the Bonnies to the woodshed in this one just to get back some respect. We’ll discuss “Swagger” as is necessary. Charlotte 85, St. Bonaventure 68.
J Felt – Charlotte 81, Saint Bonaventure 68. Niners match win total from last season and get conference play off to a good start while Spears and Braswell feast on Bonnie flesh.