UPDATE: SBU to remain open until Nov. 24 as planned

photo: Molly Williams/The Intrepid

By Dustyn Green

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Despite 24 new cases of Coronavirus reported on Monday, St. Bonaventure University has elected to remain open until Nov. 24, according to a press release sent to students on Monday.

In-person activities, including the university’s gaming room and open swim at the Reilly Center, have been canceled due to the uptick in cases. The Richter Center will be closed to all athletic activities, but will remain open to host classes. Dining services will continue as normal.

The university also halted all men’s and women’s Division I athletic practices other than men’s and women’s basketball, which begin play next week.

“Students with concerns about instructional delivery over the next week may contact their instructors,” the release said. “Students asked to isolate here or quarantine at home should inform their instructors of their situations.”

DEVELOPING: University officials to meet regarding COVID-19 concerns

photo: Molly Williams/The Intrepid

By Dustyn Green

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — St. Bonaventure University saw its number of active COVID-19 cases double on Monday afternoon, as Cattaraugus County and Western New York also see increases in active cases of the virus.

According to the university’s COVID-19 tracker, SBU currently has 10 active cases of the virus, and 45 students are currently in quarantine. In response to the virus’ increased presence, multiple SBU professors have begun to change the layout of their instruction.

According to Tom Missel, chief communications officer for the university, the issue of increased COVID-19 cases will be discussed at a meeting on Monday evening. Missel also reminds students that the university’s COVID-19 tracker can provide them with the latest virus numbers, and is updated each morning.

This story is developing.

Bonnies navigate through preseason, await bubble trip

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Ryan Surmay

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The 2020-2021 college basketball season has already shown that it will be much different than usual. 

This season is going to cause new challenges that teams haven’t faced before, and on the morning of Nov. 11, a new challenge presented itself as St. Bonaventure University announced that there will be no fans allowed at basketball games in the Reilly Center this season. 

“The bench has to be twice as loud now,” said Bonnies junior guard Kyle Lofton. “Give it your all and pick each other up.”

SBU head coach Mark Schmidt said that the Reilly Center is one of the best home court advantages in college basketball, so the team is going to do their best to make up for it by bringing more energy. 

“If you’re a competitor, it doesn’t matter if there’s 10,000 fans or one,” Schmidt said. 

Within the team, there’s a mutual respect as no player wants to be the one to let their guard down. Schmidt has stressed the importance of staying away from large crowds to allow for the season to be completed in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.

 “You don’t want to be the one to ruin it for everybody else,” he said. 

The players realize how big of an impact it could be if a positive test occurs. Other schools have been forced to shut down because of outbreaks on their teams. 

“Seeing [other teams shut down] makes you realize it can happen,” Lofton said. “Our first game is in two weeks… if someone gets it, it won’t happen.” 

The team is schedules to kickoff its season on Nov. 25 against Towson in the Mohegan Sun bubble in Connecticut. 

Schmidt and his team has been trying to keep a sense of normalcy with its preparations. He said that that apart from mask wearing, practices haven’t looked too different from previous years.

“We’re doing everything we would have done for the last 31 years,” Schmidt said. “The only difference is I got a mask on. I know some coaches are doing non-contact but we haven’t changed. My thought process is do everything you can off the court, but we’re not going to change what we do on the basketball court.”

Lofton expressed the importance of keeping distanced and solely being focused on basketball for the time being.

“Guys are here to play basketball and are having fun, so it makes it easier,” he said. 

Lofton and co-captain Osun Osunniyi were both voted to preseason all-league teams, as Lofton was named preseason second-team all-Atlantic 10, while Osunniyi was preseason third-team all-league and A-10 all-defensive team.

The team, meanwhile, was picked to finish fourth in the A-10. SBU has finished in the league’s top six each of the past five years.

While this team has no seniors, they have nine juniors who are used to playing big minutes. Lofton, Osunniyi, Dom Welch and Jaren Holmes each averaged over 30 minutes per game in the last season.

“We have juniors but in essence they’re like fifth year seniors,” Schmidt said. “They’ve played a lot of minutes.” 

For the team, there’s a level of anticipation due to not being in a situation like the Mohegan Sun bubble before.

“It’s new,” Schmidt said. “I’ve never been in a bubble but it’s one of the safest things they can do.”  

Schmidt, Osunniyi look forward to Mohegan Sun bubble

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Osun Osunniyi and the Bonnies are aware of the potential consequences of the Coronavirus.

Last season, the virus erased any hopes that the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team had for a run to an Atlantic 10 tournament title in Brooklyn, as well as the NCAA tournament.

“We know that we want to play,” Osunniyi said. “The bad feeling of being in Brooklyn and having the tournament not happen, and not being able to play for so long that we want to play so bad.”

With the pandemic ongoing, the road back to Brooklyn will start at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on Nov. 25. St. Bonaventure is one of over thirty teams beginning its season in “Bubbleville.”

In ascramble to piece together schedules, multiple-team events, also known as MTEs, have become a favorable solution for teams nationwide.

By doing this, programs limit travel while constructing quality non-conference match ups. Of the locations for such events, Mohegan Sun has become arguably the most popular bubble destination as programs
search for games in a safe environment.

“It’s going to be different for us,” Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt said. “But I think it’s one of the safest things that we can do for our players.”

Safety is a key this season; consequentially, the schedule will not play out as normal. Usually, SBU has a scrimmage and an exhibition game to get ready for competition, but that luxury is absent this season.

“By this time, we would have our ‘secret scrimmage’ and be getting ready for an exhibition game,” Schmidt said. “It’s a little bit concerning when the first game you play counts.”

Exhibition or not, the season begins with several match ups against quality mid-major programs. In their first game, the Bonnies face a Towson team bringing in several new pieces and contending for the Colonial league crown.

In the days following, SBU will take on Stephen F. Austin, a program notorious for giving high-major teams headaches in March. The Lumberjacks pulled off one of the most shocking upsets in college
basketball history last year at Duke.

Vermont, another SBU opponent in the bubble, sits atop the America East perennially, and handed the Bonnies a heart-breaking loss in the Reilly Center last season.

“We have a difficult schedule,” Schmidt said. “It’s great for our non-conference to play Towson, a very good team and as you alluded to with Stephen F. Austin, and Vermont is picked to win their league again.”

SBU will likely play a fourth game in the bubble, and can schedule up to three other non-conference games before starting league play in late December. Regardless, Schmidt knows his squad is itching to get back in action.

“They’re tired of playing against each other,” Schmidt said. “Our guys are looking to play anybody other than themselves, and we’ve got a challenge the 25th against Towson.”

Master’s preview: players to watch, odds to win and how to follow the tournament

photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

By Tom Doyle

AUGUSTA, GA — The Masters tournament will begin on Thursday at Augusta National golf course, seven months after it was supposed to start.

This year, the Master’s will have 94 talented golfers poised to wear the coveted green jacket.  Tiger Woods will be defending his fifth green jacket, which he won in 2019, while most other golfers will be trying to win for their first time.   

Augusta National, known for its beautiful course and roaring crowds, will be on mute this weekend.  The club decided that no fans will be permitted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

This will be intriguing to watch as many players feed off the crowd, including the face of golf, Tiger Woods. Just by listening, players can hear when Woods or many other popular golfers made a great shot.  No longer. This will be the third major this year without fans.   

Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson come into the event as the favorites, leading group of golfers who have yet to win in Augusta.   

DeChambeau powered his way to win the U.S. Open in September.  He can hit the ball a mile off the tee, and his putting has drastically improved this year.

Rahm is one of the hottest golfers in the world this year, winning the Memorial Tournament in July.  He is ranked second in the world behind Johnson. 

McIlroy has won in both the British and U.S. Open and multiple PGA championships, while Johnson won the PGA player of the year award, as well as the tour championship in Atlanta.  

What about Colin Morikawa?  He won the PGA championship in August at TPC Harding Park, edging Johnson and Paul Casey and to become the third youngest winner at the Championship.  He is just 23 years old, but is already one of the best in the world.   

History says it is difficult to win in Augusta at such a young age.  Since 1934, only three first-time players at Augusta have won at the Masters.  So, Morikawa, the fourth ranked player in the world, could struggle his first time in the tournament.   

For more information on the Masters, go to Masters.com or follow @TheMasters on Twitter.  Here are the betting odds to win the tournament, as well as when coverage kicks off each day. 

Odds (Sportingnews.com)

Golfer Odds 
Bryson Dechambeau +750 
Jon Rahm +1100 
Rory McIlroy +1100 
Dustin Johnson +1200 
Justin Thomas +1200 
Xander Schauffele +1400 
Brooks Koepka +1800 
Patrick Cantlay +2000 
Bubba Watson +2700 
Collin Morikawa +2700 
Patrick Reed +2700 
Tiger Woods +2700 

Where to watch/social media to follow: 

Round 1—Thursday, Nov. 12  

Start time: 7:30 a.m. 

TV Coverage: 1-5:30 p.m. on ESPN or Masters.com 

Round 2—Friday, Nov. 13 

Start time: 7:30 a.m. 

TV Coverage: 1-5:30 a.m. on ESPN or Masters.com 

Round 3—Saturday, Nov. 14 

Start time: 10 a.m. 

TV Coverage: 1-5 p.m. on CBS and Masters.com 

Round 4—Sunday, Nov. 15 

Start time: 8 a.m. 

TV Coverage: 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. on CBS on Masters.com 

A-10 commissioner: uncertainty still surrounds men’s basketball season

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The Atlantic 10 released its men’s basketball schedule on Wednesday, but league commissioner Bernadette McGlade made one thing clear: there is still uncertainty surrounding the season.

With conference play scheduled to begin at its usual time in late December, McGlade said that her staff has been continuously working on contingency plans to prepare for the winter.

“We considered punching up the schedule and going to 20 games or 22 games,” McGlade said. “We looked at bubbles, we looked at playing back-to-back at the same site… We tried to be really sensitive to the needs of our media partners and the needs of our facilities and campuses.”

McGlade said that the league had upwards of 10 potential solutions for its schedule, but decided against putting any of its teams in a bubble.

“It’s really tantilizing,” McGlade said of the possibility of an A-10 bubble. “We looked at a lot of locations, even on our own campuses. But the ability to create a bubble in the intercollegiate sense, and control everyone’s comings and goings, just didn’t seem workable as far as our collegiate model.”

McGlade said that the league appointed at COVID-19 medical advisory in May, on which each of the league’s 14 schools are represented.

The league has also been given the right, based on a vote by school athletic directors, to readjust the schedule at any time, or move games. This could potentially make the number of home and away games for each team uneven, McGlade said.

“That could include establishing a smaller pod in an area that isn’t a hotspot, or reversing the site of a game,” McGlade said.

While the league has avoided a “pod” or “bubble,” it’s not ruling out the possibility of needing to pivot to one mid-season.

McGlade also mentioned the possibility of adding more conference games if teams are unable to play the non-conference contests that they currently have scheduled. Each A-10 team has been budgeted seven non-conference games by the NCAA before league play begins.

The A-10 will have two “look-in windows” during which it will determine whether games should, and can, be added. These windows will be on Nov. 18 and Dec. 4.

“If there is a deterioration in our non-conference schedules, then we have the ability to add additional conference games if we need to at that point in time,” McGlade said. “Everyone in the league has agreed to that policy.”

McGlade said that the league has already picked potential dates on which additional games could be added.

The A-10 has also set a minimum testing standard that schools can individually decide to expand on. To meet league standards, however, players and coaches will need to be tested three times per week, and on non-consecutive days.

The number of fans that will be allowed into games will be left up to member institutions, as well, McGlade said.

“We have some institutions that, as of right now, have zero public attendance,” she said. “Others have 10% of their indoor capacity, and one or two that have 15% of indoor capacity.”

None of the league’s schools, she said, are currently set to fill 50% or more of their arenas. St. Bonaventure University announced on Wednesday that, for the time being, no fans will be permitted at home games at the Reilly Center to start the season.

SBU was picked by the press to finish fourth in the A-10 this season, behind Richmond, Saint Louis and Dayton, respectfully. McGlade said that she thought the league would be “stronger than ever” this season, and Bona head coach Mark Schmidt agreed.

“(The A-10) can compete with any league in this country,” Schmidt said. “The hope is that we can get three or four A-10 teams in the NCAA tournament.”

SBU is scheduled to begin A-10 play against Saint Louis, with a date and time to be determined, before hosting Duquesne on Dec. 30.

“I think every team in this league, other than Richmond, has a chip on their shoulder,” Schmidt said. “Nobody wants to be picked number one. At the end of the year, hopefully we’re number one.”

The Bonnies will begin non-conference play on Nov. 25 against Towson, the first of four games that they will play in a bubble at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Men’s basketball conference schedule released for Bona, A-10

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Peter Byrne

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Coming into the day, St. Bonaventure only had three games on its men’s basketball schedule, all of them being non-conference.

However, today, the Atlantic 10 came released its conference schedule for the 2020-2021 season.

The Bonnies will start conference play with a home game against the Saint Louis Billikens. The exact date is to be determined at this time, but it should be both the conference and home opener for the Bonnies in A-10 play.

The Bonnies will play Richmond, who was picked to finish first in the league, twice in January, the first meeting being in Virginia on Jan. 2, followed by a Jan. 20 meeting at the Reilly Center.

Finally, the Bonnies will have their final home game on Feb. 28 against Dayton and will finish the regular season at Duquesne on March 3.

Here is SBU’s complete A-10 schedule.

Date   Opponent    Television   Time  

TBD | vs Saint Louis 

12/30 | at Rhode Island  

1/2 | at Richmond | CBSSN 

1/6 | vs Saint Joseph’s 

1/9 | vs George Washington | NBCSN | 12:00 pm  

1/13 | at Fordham 

1/16 | vs Duquesne  

1/20 | vs Richmond | CBSSN 

1/23 | at Saint Louis | ESPN 

1/30 | at Davidson | CBSSN 

2/3 | at Saint Joseph’s 

2/6 | vs George Mason 

2/14 | at Massachusetts | NBCSN | 2:00 pm  

2/17 | vs VCU | CBSSN 

2/21| at George Washington | NBCSN | 2:30 pm  

2/24 | vs LaSalle  

2/28 | vs Dayton | ESPN  

3/3 | at Duquesne  

NFL WEEK 9: Goss’ three good things, three bad things and one thing to watch

photo: USA Today Sports

By Anthony Goss

As the weather gets colder and the NFL playoff race heats up, I enjoy watching the teams at the middle of the pack or teams who started slow try to climb back into contention.

A perfect example of this climb is the Minnesota Vikings. After notching back-to-back wins within its division, Minnesota is inching its way into the wild card conversation. A record of 3-5 leaves the Vikings with a lot of ground to cover, but riding the coattails of RB Dalvin Cook has led to dominant performances in their last two games.

Cook has carried this offense in its last two games, totaling 369 yards and five touchdowns in victories against Green Bay and Detroit. Leading this resurgence, Cook has made his case as the best running back in the league.  

Three Good Things 

Drew Brees Orchestrates a Vintage Performance 

There has been a flagrant disregard for Saints QB Drew Brees this season.

His arm strength is fading, but he has navigated the season basically without his best receiver in WR Michael Thomas. Despite the doubt cast on Brees and the Saints leading up to their matchup against the Buccaneers, they rang the bell and beat down on Tampa Bay. Brees spread the ball to twelve different receivers and finished with 222 yards and four touchdowns with a passer rating of 135.2. Sean Payton continued to use QB Taysom Hill as a wrinkle in an unstoppable Saints offense. The defense was on top of QB Tom Brady all night with nine hits and three sacks. 

This dominant victory puts the Saints back in the spotlight in the NFC going forward. Brees may not be the player he once was, but Sunday showed that he and the Saints are not quite ready to let go of a division they have owned the last three seasons.  

Bills Notch a Huge Win 

Questions surrounded the Bills after a streak of weak showings, mainly focusing on defense and QB Josh Allen. With a 44-34 victory over the Seahawks, the Bills silenced the critics and officially changed the trajectory of their franchise.

Allen was outstanding with 415 yards, three touchdowns, and no turnovers. The Buffalo defense also stepped up big, forcing four turnovers, generating five sacks, and kept QB Russell Wilson from finding his rhythm throughout the game. Keeping a lid on Wilson is a near impossible task, but Buffalo’s explosive offense picked apart a weak Seahawks secondary which made the difference. In what might be the best win for the franchise in decades, the Bills turned a corner on Sunday. 

In consecutive weeks, Buffalo has shown it can win games in a multitude of ways, a key to success in the NFL. The days of competing as an “exciting” or “up-and-coming” team are over; the Bills are a legit Super Bowl contender that can hang with the best teams in the league. 

Dolphins Steal One in the Desert 

After their rival secured a huge win against an NFC West opponent, the Miami Dolphins returned the favor by marching into Arizona and making a statement in the desert. 

First of all, the turnaround of this franchise led by head coach Brian Flores is nothing short of incredible. Through eight games, the Dolphins have already matched their win total from last season. Last week was an underwhelming debut for QB Tua Tagovailoa, but he was the difference this week and led the Dolphins to victory after going down ten early in the fourth quarter. Tua took a couple sacks, but showed a lot of poise for a rookie quarterback in his second start.

Another big difference in this game was the Miami defense, which scored a touchdown for the second consecutive game thanks to DE Shaq Lawson. The Dolphins might be a bit ahead of schedule, but continued performances like these will keep the Bills on their heels in what looks to be a two-team race in the AFC East.  

Three Bad Things 

Tampa Bay Blunder 

Going into Sunday night’s game, the thought of three quarterbacks out-performing Bucs QB Tom Brady was not on the mind of anyone. After a 38-3 drubbing courtesy of the Saints, that is exactly what happened.

In one of the worst performances of his career, Brady posted only 209 yards and three interceptions, one of which hung in the air for an eternity. This disastrous performance was not just his fault, but showed a general lack of preparedness in all facets of the game. The Bucs ran the ball only five times, one carry being a kneel at the end of the game. In addition to Brady’s poor passing, he as under duress the entire night without any help from his offensive line. The defense that looked so promising in weeks past had no answers for QB Drew Brees, and QB Taysom Hill also had his opportunities to expose their porous defense.

It would be an exaggeration to call this a devastating loss for the Bucs, but it does give the Saints the edge in the division going forward. 

Lions Coming Up Short 

After a disappointing outing last week against Indianapolis, the Lions had a chance to rebound and pick up a key divisional win. Instead, they were trounced by RB Dalvin Cook and the Vikings.

Inconsistency has plagued the Matt Patricia era and the Lions continue to struggle making themselves a true contender. Detroit has shown they can beat their lesser opponents, but against contenders or teams with playoff aspirations, the Lions have come up short. Sunday’s matchup followed this narrative. The inability to contain Cook was a problem, but even worse were the interceptions QB Matthew Stafford threw deep in Minnesota territory on consecutive drives (the second coming after a blocked punt). 

The schedule sets up well for the Lions in the coming weeks, but ends with several challenging games. If they cannot change course, Patricia might be on his way out.  

Winning Ugly v. Losing Ugly 

Earlier this season, Bears QB Nick Foles discussed how winning ugly is better than losing pretty. This sentiment is true, but now the Bears are losing ugly and streaking in the wrong direction.

For the third game in a row, the Bears have demonstrated an ineptitude on offense. Foles and the Bears admittedly moved the ball a bit on Sunday, but could never finish long drives. By the middle of the fourth quarter, the score was 24-3 and despite a couple late touchdowns, it never felt like Chicago had a chance to change the game. 

The defense did its part and held RB Derrick Henry in check, but without any response on offense, the game got out of reach. Chicago was able to mask its offensive woes early, but as its schedule become more challenging, points have been scarce. A win against division rival Minnesota on Monday night would be a major boost for a team desperate for momentum. 

Keep an Eye On… 

COVID Outbreak in Pittsburgh 

So far, the coronavirus is the only thing able to beat the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers. On Tuesday, QB Ben Roethlisberger and three others were ruled as close contacts with TE Vance McDonald who tested positive for COVID-19. They must isolate for five days and continually receive positive tests while participating in team meetings online. The Steelers face the Bengals on Sunday and, if they are without their quarterback, their undefeated streak might be in jeopardy.