To say that things have been unpredictable regarding the Big 4 this year would be an understatement. The University at Buffalo is 4-7, St. Bonaventure is 11th in the Atlantic 10, and Canisius has beaten both teams.
It was just a year ago that Canisius won just five games and lost to the Bulls and Bonnies by a combined 54 points, so it’s easy to think that I’m lying to you… but I’m not. The addition of Billy Baron has completely changed the look of the Griffs. Their offense is flowing, shots are going in, and their is a buzz in the Koessler Center that many thought would never come back. They even sold out the Koessler Center for back to back games against Bonaventure and UB for the first time in over 15 years.
The Bulls and Niagara Purple Eagles are struggling to find consistency. The Bulls are coming off a victory over Niagara last Saturday 77-67, but have failed to find the chemistry that they have had for so many of the years past.
Juan’ya Green and Antoine Mason are doing what they do best for Niagara, and that is score. Mason is averaging 18.6 and Green 16.6 points per game this year but it isn’t leading to victories. The Purple Eagles rank 217th in the country in field goal percentage (.425) and 151st in rebounds per game (35.9). There is some good news however as big man Devon White made his anticipated season debut against UB as he comes back from injury.
Saint Bonaventure is probably the most questionable of the four teams. You don’t really know what to expect and what you’re going to get from the Bonnies. They are 5-3 and have failed to look like a team that can make noise in the A-10. Chris Johnson is leading the way averaging 15.8 points per game while shooting over 50 percent from the floor. The loss of Andrew Nicholson is proving to be bigger than ever imaginable however. Demitrius Conger has played well, but hasn’t been the elite player they Bonnies were looking for to replace Nicholson.
1. Canisius College Golden Griffins (LW – 1)
Season Grade: A
2. Saint Bonaventure Bonnies (LW – 2)
Season Grade: B-
3. University at Buffalo Bulls (LW – 4)
Season Grade: C-
4. Niagara University Purple Eagles (LW – 3)
Season Grade: C-
Photo by Tom Wolf Imaging)