Bonnies and Duquesne Have Steel City Showdown to See Who's For Real
Updated: Feb 20
The Bonnies have turned things around after a rough 3-game stretch in January. They've won 3 straight and 2 of them were pretty comfortable victories. St. Nicholson himself was in attendance as our good hands defense easily protected Bonaventure from mayhem like George Washington's.
The eyes of the A10 on Saturday will be focused on the 7-3 Bonnies vs. 7-3 Duquesne at the Palumbo Center. Wait, I mean PPG Paints Arena. No, I think the game is at the Petersen Events Center. Or maybe it's at Three Rivers Stadium? Whatever parking lot we play this game in, it is a very important game for A10 tournament seeding. I'm officially dubbing this year's rendition of the rivalry The F'real Cup. It's partly because of the absolutely delicious milkshake machine in the RC Cafe, but it's mainly about the question: Are the Bonnies/Dukes for real?
Many A10 pundits are asking this question about the Bonnies this year, and understandably so. Like I mentioned on the SBUnfurled and Friends podcast Thursday, the Bonnies have spanked just about every A10 team this season, except the top 3 teams. Osun didn't play against the top 3, but we got killed by 2 of them, yet almost beat URI. While I know OUR GUYS are for real, I can see why one may possibly ask that question if they haven't watched much of us.
Duquesne, on the other hand, is definitely for real... except they lost to UAB and Marshall, so they aren't for real. They did crush St. Louis at home, so they are actually for real... but Fordham took them to OT at home and they lost at UMass, so maybe they aren't. They did almost beat Dayton and crushed SLU again, so I guess they are for real?
This is the eternal question plaguing scholars back to the time of Hammurabi: Is Duquesne for real?
When A10 play starts, it's inevitable that you see one of those A10 pundits definitely say the DUQes are for real, until they start losing bad games. Then, they suck you back in by getting a few more wins, usually against trash teams like La Salle. Finally, they'll play Bona's in February and even though it's not always easy for us, we usually give them 2 Ls towards the end of the season. That sets the stage for them going one-and-done at A10s.
The Dukes are like us and made one Final Four... but it was in 1940, when there were only 8 teams in the tournament. They also were somehow allowed to play in the NIT that season too? Idk it's pretty hard to respect like 90% of stuff that's happened in sports before World War II. Duquesne has only made 4 NCAA Tournament since then. Hell, there have been 9 Star Wars movies released since their last appearance in 1977. I'm sure there were plenty of lame-stream media members wondering if each season was FINALLY the year the DUQes turn the corner (Ron Howard: "They wouldn't.").
While he's not a media hack like the animal I've become, Yik Yak is one of the most underrated #A10Twitter figures. He's named after the social media app that flamed out right around the last Duquesne postseason appearance in the 2016 CBI. If you want some sweet Dukes and United Soccer League observations on your timeline, he's a great follow. For this preview, I asked him about the Bona-Duquesne rivalry. He was actually in a room with fellow Dukes fans while answering my questions and did some crowdsourcing, so as I suspected, they CAN all fit in a small conference room at a La Quinta.
It seems grand old Dukes see Bona's as equals, while younger Dukes envy the recent success.
Some, especially the older crowd, really enjoy this camaraderie, I guess, with the Bonnies being basically our oldest rival and somewhat glad that we still have a rival after so many decades of futility. There's also the crowd that are really bitter about St. Bonaventure right now, being they've basically owned us the last decade or so, even in some of our most hopeful seasons. SBU is the team that ended the 11 game win streak of the 2011 Dukes that were basically the last DUQ team to have at-large hopes until (kinda) this season's team. That's started this run where nearly every game has been close, but the Bonnies always come out on top and drive Dukes fans to drink like them.
Sure, they got to host a top 10 Dayton this season, but the Brown and White really moves the needle in the Burgh.
I do always remember the students coming out big time and even the older crowd getting rowdy when the Bonnies come to town - it's one of the few games a year the atmosphere in Palumbo feels like a big time game.
Yik Yak also remembers a wonderful game right before the Super Bowl in 2018, while others treat DUQes games like Grateful Dead shows, folks.
My strongest memory is unfortunately watching Jaylen Adams drain a 3 in the students faces during that streak, which also kickstarted a 6 game losing streak on our end and crippled our year. FWIW, I asked around and some responses were "Tripping balls at the red out game and beating the Bonnies" and "Bonnies fans behind me losing their minds when I played guitar in the Duke mascot costume at the A10 tournament."
It almost feels like a little bit like a rivalry of settling, since we'd love to be VCU's rival, but we're a little bit away from that happening.
Invariably, yes, just about everyone gets up for Bonaventure. I don't know if it's the history, or knowing that plenty of SBU fans are coming, or if it's just great marketing by Athletics, but a gameday against Bonaventure is always hype. It's either them or Dayton that people get up for, but Dayton is a household name and Dayton thinks nothing of us, so that hardly counts.
Even though many games in the Palumbo Center have been taken over by the Brown Cult, Dukes fans don't drive up 219 nearly as much.
The Reilly Center has been on my bucket list for some time. I love going to road games, I do it for a few of my teams and now that the men's Dukes team is good, I wanna travel more for them. I think the A10 has boned us recently and always put the RC game on Wednesdays every year, it seems like. My broke ass cant take too much time off work on a weekday. One day though soon, now that both programs are in strongish places.
If you're going down to the game Saturday, are craving a sandwich with fries on it and a cold Iron City lager, this is one yinzer who's got you covered.
I will be at Primanti's, because I think that's the only decent bar in Moon Township on Saturday afternoon and welcome any Bonnies fans who make the trip. If the Dukes win, I'm RTing every single tweet I can find of Kirby calling the Dukes frauds, but will crawl in a hole and die if my heart is broken again. Also, I totaled my car a few weeks ago outside Olean and will only be redeemed if I make the away trip and see a Duquesne victory.
You've been warned, Kirby...
Seven Steps to Victory
Duquesne is literally named after the only loss in President George Washington's career, so they don't know how to win.
Many members of the Rooney family, which owns the Steelers, went to Duquesne. Since Schmidt is a Patriots fan, getting past the Steel Curtain is nothing for him.
Speaking of Schmidt, I just remembered the game will be played where he used to coach at Robert Morris! Between that and the hundreds of Bonnies fans going south, it's really our homecourt advantage.
The DUQes are 0-2 against lame-ass Conference USA, Bona's is 2-0.
Osun is slowly finding his way back after the concussion, so he needs to be careful, because Michael Hughes is having a great season.
The Lakers are at Golden State on Saturday, so LeBron can't swoop in and tell the refs to help his little buddy Dambrot out.
This game will DEFINITIVELY prove if either the Bonnies or Dukes are for real... until they play again on February 26th.
BonaCommenter's Score on #a102k20: Duquesne 89, Bonnies 85
Unrealistic 2k Stat of the Game: Points in the paint - DUQ 62, SBU 24.
Bonnies A10Talk.com Forum Quote of the Day: "We've proven we can beat the bottom third of the league. We've proven that we're still a piece or two away from being conference leaders. But that's okay, we're young. I'd like to see us start to prove we can consistently BEAT THE MEAT of the A10, which is where I think about half of our remaining schedule will end up being going into March." [WestEndStench is the one who bolded it...]
Duquesne Message Board Quote of the Day: "When was the last time we beat the Bonnies? It seems he always has our number..."
That number is 62, which is how many times we (or he?) have beaten Duquesne (they've won 55 times). I got a feeling it's going to be 63 after Saturday, folks...