Biggest Small Rivalry in D-I Returns as Bona's Hosts Davidson
Updated: Mar 4
I know references to The Office are cliche now, since a lot of you finally decided to watch it like 6 years after it ended, but I keep trying to visualize myself as Michael Scott when Dwight started a fire.
"STAY CALM. STAY ******* CALM."
The Bonnies woke up in the second half and rolled at Hawk Hill on Tuesday. 24 hours later, we all had a great time on Twitter celebrating VCU getting boatraced at home to a George Mason team we dominated for about 75 out of 80 minutes. Yeah, the Evilest Rams made it look a little closer, but no one should be down 17 to this year's Mason team at home. Hell, we were down 15 early in Fairfax and still won by 12.
The Bonnies are now 9-3 and more than a game ahead of VCU in 5th place. We still have Richmond (who's in fourth) coming to the Reilly Center for 80s Weekend on the 22nd. However, any true Bonnie fan will warn you that a double bye is not a lock at all yet.
The next 12 days are absolutely crucial. Three enormous games to clinch three tiebreakers, all of the games at home. Win them all and I should be able to spend my Thursday in New York City doing literally anything else but going inside the Barclays Center.
For the third year in a row, the Bonnies are hosting a Friday night game on ESPN2, which is like Sunday Night Football for the Atlantic 10, and for the second year in a row, we host Davidson in primetime. While we knocked off a ranked Rhode Island team in 2018, last year's game against Davidson was a tail of two halves. After we jumped out to a 10-point halftime lead, the Wildcats caught the Bonnies by the tail, dominating the second half and winning by 9.
The Bonnies and Davidson have recently played some objectively awesome games. The 2018 3OT game is the last time we beat the Cats and even though it was two years ago, I don't even think I need to remind you of how great it was. It started with 17 straight points by Courtney Stockard and after 3 stressful hours, ended in orgasmic fashion.
Like I said though, they've had our number recently. They knocked us out of the 2018 A10 semifinals 82-70, in a game that didn't even feel close. Possibly the most heartbroken I've ever been after a sporting event was the 2016 A10 quarterfinal loss in overtime, when both Marcus Posely and Jay Adams literally limped to the finish line. We did have another big win over Davidson though in the 1970 NCAA Tournament first round. I think we went on to do really well in that tournament, folks.
While we're on opposite geographic sides of the A10, this feels like a good-natured rivalry because of several great games, but also because our schools look pretty similar too. Wikipedia says Davidson has 1,843 students, Bona's has 2,381. We're both small, private colleges a bit further from Buffalo/Charlotte than what some unaware people may think. Davidson is basically Bonaventure, except with Bojangles and sweet tea instead of wings and Blue Light.
This is why I'm calling this the Biggest Small Rivalry in Division 1. Before I start another version of the alleged criminal mastermind Jon Rothstein "LESS is MORE" tweet debate, let me explain. We are ONLY talking school population. We usually hear an announcer cliche of "Davidson/Bona's is one of the smallest D-I schools," but I wanted to see just how small. Quickly looking through Wikipedia articles for the conferences, Davidson is 4th and Bonaventure is 6th.
Presbyterian College - 1,330
Wofford College - 1,608
Virginia Military Institute - 1,685
Davidson - 1,843
Mount St. Mary's - 2,240 (could have been 2,241, but we got Boca Bobby)
St. Bonaventure - 2,381
Lafayette College - 2,382 (seriously, Leopards???)
Hope that my COLD HARD FACTS will keep away the hate tweets. Save those for whenever I talk shit about Trump or Buttigieg or whoever.
Speaking of Rothstein, hear a poor/great (?) impression of him give romantic advice on the latest episode of SBUnfurled and Friends. We're joined by Stadium and ESPN+ commentator Matt Martucci, who's become our de facto TV guy lately.
Back to Davidson, it's no secret that their program starts and ends with a top 10 draft pick by the Warriors. That's right, Fred Hetzel, #1 overall pick in the 1965 NBA Draft.
However, many whippersnappers don't appreciate his career and instead care about Stephen Curry. He led the Wildcats on a fluke Elite Eight run in 2009, beating no-name programs like Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin. After that, he has gone on to not win an NBA title in 7 seasons.
Despite him being currently overshadowed on Golden State by former Fordham Ram Eric Paschall, these entitled Davidson kids love Dell's son. The student section at Belk Arena is named "Section 30." They chose the number 30 in honor of Klay Thompson's 30-point effort in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, when the closest NBA team to Bona's clinched the title. He also gave Davidson lime green jerseys for some reason against St. Joe's last year, probably just to show off in front of Joe Lunardi.
One of these participation trophy-carrying students is Grant Labedz. He's a Davidson senior, who has only seen the Bonnies beat his Wildcats once. He's also the co-founder of A10 Talk and co-hosts the #HEY10 podcast with our good friend Petey Buckets. You can listen to those guys, too. You're in an open relationship with #SBUnfurledAndFriends.
I did say I think this is a good-natured rivalry and Grant doesn't think there's a lot of bad blood either.
I don't think Davidson fans have much of a strong opinion about the Bonnies, although I'm always embarrassed on our behalf when their Charlotte alum base comes through Belk Arena and makes more noise than our student section. That said, I think the nature of these 2 teams makes for what could be a cool rivalry (both small schools with similar coaches and "something to prove" through basketball).
Even though I mentioned two huge wins by Davidson at recent A10 tournaments, Grant can't deny how incredible the 2018 3OT game was.
Just a high-level basketball game on both ends of the floor, and that's when Davidson started to play with some postseason swagger. Wish I could have been at that game in person, but it was a great contest to watch on T.V. too.
Another thing Bona's and Davidson share: a dislike for teams in the 2019 Bahamas Bowl.
I think the closest thing Davidson & St. Bonaventure have to rivalries are regional non-con foes (Charlotte & Buffalo probably), but again, I think it could be a rivalry, and it would be fun if it was. Something would need to spark that though -- a real chippy game, some fan interaction, etc.
The invitation is always open for the Curry Crew to come up here and try.
Can't imagine traveling all the way up to Olean for 1 basketball game, but it would be a bucket list destination in terms of college basketball arenas, especially when Bona is in the midst of a really good season. I've seen great Bona crowds in Brooklyn, so I can imagine the RC is wild in a season where Schmidt and company are competing for an Atlantic 10 championship.
He's seen a few great Bona-Davidson A10 races and knows that we are almost always FOR REAL.
I've loved the Bonnies for as long as I've covered this conference. Definitely feels like a "what could have been" year if Osun stayed healthy and you guys didn't drop games to Ohio and Canisius. Definitely a team that's high in the conference for rooting interests. Looking forward to the game, and I think it could be close. Davidson-Bona matchups always deliver.
Seven Steps to Victory
Silver fox Bob McKillop will distract many of the older crowd in the reds with his dashingly good looks... and also me.
If you haven't paid attention to them since we played them last year, yep, Davidson is still good at shooting 3s.
Mark Schmidt celebrated his 57th birthday on Wednesday. I think we'll need more than 57 points to win this.
It's Valentine's Day, so it's in our favor that Alejandro Vasquez brought the shooting arrow celebration to Bonaventure. 🏹💘
It's also All-Star Weekend, so I'd love to see Lofton and Osun continue the slam dunk contest stuff we saw in the 2nd half at St. Joe's.
DON'T BE THAT GUY/GIRL/PERSON. WEAR WHITE TO THE GAME. IT'S A WHITEOUT.
BonaCommenter's Score on #a102k20: Davidson 89, Bonnies 88 (played this game a while ago, but I think I missed a buzzer beater)
Unrealistic 2k Stat of the Game: 52 points in the paint for Davidson.
Bonnies A10Talk.com Forum Quote of the Day: "I dont want to beat a dead horse here, but, man, it's incredible how many people on there currently truly believe we could get an at-large still. How is it possible to know so little about the sport played by a team you're so invested in?"
Davidson Message Board Quote of the Day: [after beating Fordham] "When we joined the A10, there was a broad consensus that we were the twelfth best team in the league. I wonder how many years, at the time, it was thought that it would take for us to claw our way to 7th place." [Davidson easily has the most respectful and rational board I've seen so far... BORING!]
Well, tied for 7th, so hopefully we wake up Saturday morning with Davidson alone in 8th.