by Jake Zimmer
Two years after one of the worst seasons in D1 history, Bryant is making some heads turn
College Hoops Digest is taking #InsideTheNumbers to Smithfield in hopes of answering a key question for Northeast college basketball fans…is Bryant really that good?
- 3 – after last night, the amount of times in D1 program history that Bryant has notched their fourth win of the year before January 1st. It’s also the amount of times since 2008 that they HAVEN’T reached the 4-win mark. As Jared Grasso would say, “persistent pursuit of progress” is the M.O. for this group. Over the first few weeks of the season, he’s remarked that wins and losses aren’t necessarily the end-all-be-all for the Bulldogs, but it’s about creating a culture that wins basketball games. Grasso backed this up to College Hoops Digest last week – “We got back from Rutgers at 3:00 in the morning, I came into my office at 8:00 the next morning, and we had six guys getting shots up. When that becomes your culture, and that’s what you’re building your program to be…the winning takes care of itself.”
- 53.33 – the amount of rebounds-per-game the Dawgs have reeled in over their past three outings. Let’s put this into perspective:
- Bryant has played 343 games as a Division I program.
- In games 1 through 340, the Bulldogs had ZERO games in which they collected over 50 boards.
- They grabbed 53 in game 341, 55 in game 342, and 52 in game 343.
- 303 – speaking of rebounds, SaBastian Townes is back in action and corralling misses like it’s going out of style. While he’s far from mint condition after his offseason surgery to repair his patellar tendon, he’s now 10th all-time in Bryant rankings with 303 career boards. If Bash can get healthy, there’s one goal in mind, as he told us a few weeks ago… “it’s going out with a bang.”
Bryant clearly has been doing something right on the defensive end to generate some quality rebounding statistics. But in perspective, the Bulldogs are attached to a number that sticks out like a sore thumb:
- 270 – according to ESPN (link https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/bpi/_/view/overview/sort/sospastrank/dir/asc/group/19), Bryant’s national rank of strength of schedule. This is dead-last in Northeast Conference rankings – yep, even behind formerly-Division 2 Merrimack, who enjoyed a win over Northwestern last week.
Maybe the numbers only tell so much, and time is the only saving grace in determining how Bryant stacks up.