DAYTON, OH (WIVB) – Sure, the Bonnies know their way around UD Arena. The court, the lighting, the rims and sightlines — all the minor details of the venue.
They’re hoping to use that to their advantage, but even with all that knowledge, they know what they have to do in order to survive against UCLA and advance to Dallas in the NCAA Tournament.
“We have to be able to run, gotta control the glass,” senior guard Jaylen Adams said. “It’s definitely going to be a road game, so one thing we have to do is defend, rebound and take call of the ball. three things you need to do on the road. I think this is just more of the same.”
“They’ve got a really good mix of players. Great size,” Head Coach Mark Schdmit added. “They’re going to be a much bigger team than we are. So , we’re going to have to find ways to limit their ability to rebound and use their size against us.”
Being that the building they’re playing in is an Atlantic-10 arena, the Bonnies are hoping to get an added boost from a pro-conference crowd and with fans busing up from Olean.
“It’s real exciting. Our fans travel everywhere,” senior guard Matt Mobley told reporters on Monday. “I’m really not surprised that they’re going to come out here to Dayton. They love their team. We love our fans, so i’ts real exciting that we’re going to have a lot of fans here for the game.”
“We’re not going to have people booing us all night. We’re not going to have a student body that’s yelling at me. We’re going to have a lot of people that are going to be on our side,” Schmidt added.
“So I’ts going to be a much different environment. We’re playing a good team. We understand that. But we’re comfortable here. Our guys have played here and hopefully that’ll be a factor that will help us.”
While no player on the Bonnies roster has been to the “Big Dance,” they do have plenty of experience playing in big games this season with match ups against tournament teams like Buffalo and Syracuse.
In total this season, Bona has faced five NCAA Tournament teams and gone 4-4 in those contests.
“There will be some nervousness a the beginning of the game, I would assume. But in terms of being overwhelmed by the event or the atmosphere, that won’t happen,” said Schmidt.
“I’m excited to be here. This is a tremendous experience. I have a bunch of friends who kind of told me it’s a great experience,” Adams added. “I think we’ve had a good year up until point, but w’re not satisfied. So we’ve just got to play with that chip on our shoulders and stay hungry.”
Tip-off for Tuesday’s “First Four” game against UCLA is set for around 9:10 on truTV.
NCAA Tournament: 7th appearance (at-large)
Last Appearance: 2012
Series Vs. UCLA: 0-2
NCAA Tournament: 49th appearance (at-large)
Last Appearance: 2017
Series Vs. St. Bonaventure: 2-0