(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
The tweets started to pour in, all with a similar theme or agenda.
“Leaving for Brooklyn in a half hour. Four spots left in my car. Come to the Plassmann/Murphy lot with gas money.”
St. Bonaventure guard Jordan Gathers had just made a buzzer-beating three-pointer to upset No. 1 seed Saint Louis in the 2014 Atlantic 10 Tournament at Barclays Center. The Bonnies, who had fallen to the No. 8 seed in the tourney after losing four straight games to close out the regular season, were going to Semifinal Saturday. And an ambivalent-turned-spontaneous SBU community was joining them.
Bona lost that semifinal game to a St. Joseph’s team that had two future NBA players on the roster in DeAndre’ Bembry and Langston Galloway. However, the Bonnies went on a mini-run that pleased the fans and masked the fact that they went 6-10 in A-10 regular season play that year.
In a tournament that has proven to be unpredictable, the Bonnies should be just fine with another underdog role this year, as the No. 5 seed.
Last year, Bonaventure was in the rare position of being the third seed and one of the favorites to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Coach Mark Schmidt’s team played a strong game that Friday night, but lost to Davidson in overtime. Dayton, VCU and SBU were the three big favorites, but it was No. 4 St. Joe’s, which had lost three of its last five regular season games, that claimed the title on Sunday.
The No. 1 overall seed has won the Atlantic 10 Tournament twice since 2004. Over that time, three teams outside of the top four, without the benefit of a double-bye, won four straight to take the title: Xavier in 2004 (third West division), Xavier in 2006 (No. 10 seed) and VCU in 2015 (No. 5 seed).
In an unpredictable tournament, the Bonnies have three things every champion for the past nine years has had:
-A top five seed in the tournament
-An All-A-10 First Team player.
-A coach who has been to an NCAA Tournament before as a head or assistant coach.
Bona is, indeed, a dangerous team, with the best backcourt and highest-scoring offense overall in the conference.