Men’s basketball: Three early “must-wins” for Bonnies in Texas

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

St. Bonaventure men’s basketball coach Mark Schmidt would scoff at the suggestion that his team’s three-game, round robin tournament in Texas the next three days is a “must-win.”

“It’s a must-win because it’s the next one,” Schmidt has said on numerous occasions.

While it’s only November, it’s hard to look at the Lone Star Showcase against Arkansas-Little Rock, Central Michigan and Pepperdine in Austin as anything other than games the Bonnies need to win. The Florida matchup, while hard-fought and impressive at times in the second half, made Bona’s resume more susceptible to criticism if the team is in the hunt come March.

Another season without a victory against a “power conference” school means SBU must rip through the 10 remaining games on its non-conference schedule virtually unscathed. It should be favored in each contest (though Hofstra might be a toss-up), and entering league play 11-1 or 10-2 would look very favorably on Schmidt’s team.

This tournament also offers a modified look at what the Bonnies will be faced with less than four months from now in the Atlantic 10 Tournament: a very short layoff between games. Finish a game, play another one less than 24 hours later. Then repeat.

“It gives our guys the understanding that once the game’s over you go back, you rest and prepare for the next game. It’s a really quick turnaround,” Schmidt said in a video posted on the program’s Twitter account.

Against three teams that made postseason tournaments last year, Schmidt knows the Showcase is a good challenge.

“We’re playing in a really good tournament, a mid-major tournament with three really good teams,” Schmidt said. “Our guys know if we don’t play well we’re not gonna win.”

Here’s a look at Bonaventure’s opponents the next three days:

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