I can sense a little bit of a funk around Bona Nation over the last couple days.
I understand people are upset about the OT loss to Duquesne. It was a terrible performance by us for significant stretches of the game and yet, we still had a great chance to win at the end of regulation. It's honestly more of an insult to the Dukes that they couldn't beat us more easily. I didn't get owned, you did, Keith Dambrot!!!
Anyways, we still have a 62% chance of getting the double bye and a likely rematch with Duquesne in Brooklyn for a F'real Cup tiebreaker. Two very winnable games against Philly schools over the next 5 games will decide this. I say 12 wins is usually the magic number for the double bye and it seems to be working out that way.
On Saturday, Bonaventure returns to the City of Brotherly Love to play in an arena I hate: Tom Gola Arena. This place absolutely SUCKS. It's basically one of those middle school gymnasiums where there's a stage behind one of the baskets. Just about everyone who played Catholic school ball as a kid knows exactly what I'm talking about. That place probably smells like stale popcorn coated in fake butter, with notes of lead paint.
Even if you watch a lot of A10 basketball, you'll probably rarely see a game in Gola Arena. Since La Salle is almost always terrible, the games are buried on ESPN+ at the same time as 3 or 4 better games. For instance, our game on Saturday will be overshadowed by the Pillow Fight to End All Pillow Fights between 1-14 Fordham and 1-14 St. Joe's.
This Pathetic Palestra has the hum of cheap, fluorescent lights overpower the 12 La Salle fans in attendance. Hanging from the rafters are cheaply made banners designed in Microsoft Word with Georgia font. The blue plastic bleachers in team colors perfectly mask the lack of fans. The weird wall behind the hoop is at an angle and looks like it's going to cascade onto the court.
This place isn't even good enough to host a Northeast 10 conference tournament IMO. This terrible excuse for an arena may be a smart home court advantage though, because the boring environment lulls away teams to sleep. Bona's has lost 3 of the last 4 here. La Salle's best defense isn't man-to-man or zone, it's apathy.
Then again, a pathetic arena that apparently also reeks of chlorine from the pool in that building is a fitting home for a pathetic program. Sure, La Salle does boast the only NCAA championship in the A10, but that run is not very impressive. It included a first round OT win over Fordham and beat some guy named Bradley in the 1954 title game. They went back to the title game in 1955, but that run included an Elite 8 win over lowly Canisius. The Explorers couldn't go back-to-back, choking in the title game to the San Francisco 49ers.
Since that fateful day, La Salle did make a handful of tournaments in the 70s and 80s, but went one-and-done in nearly all of them. They've only made one tournament since 1992 and in hindsight, that appearance was definitely an overachievement. Coached by the brilliant Dr. John Giannini, the Explorers went from the First Four in Dayton and won three straight, before falling in the Sweet 16. It baffles me that this loser program made it that far. One day, Dr. G will be canonized as a saint because he has performed two miracles: getting La Salle to the Sweet 16 and making Stadium broadcasts enjoyable.
A lot of the hand wringing by the few existing fans of theirs comes from last year's game. They were upset that the A10-hired official in charge of the clock accidentally started the clock early when La Salle had 3.1 seconds to go the entire length of the court to possibly win. The inbound pass was actually decent, but Pookie Powell was falling out-of-bounds and heaved up a terrible 3 that missed by a mile. Despite some complaints, the Bonnies suffered enough embarrassment as a punishment by only winning by 2 at home against La Salle.
BREAKING NEWS: In between writing this, but before posting, La Salle center Ed Croswell is reportedly transferring. It sounds like he isn't playing Saturday. He was the Explorers' second-leading scorer with 10.0 PPG. Sounds like he finally woke up and realized La Salle is a joke.
Seven Steps to Victory
We should probably learn like a couple of the players names. I know they aren't good, but might be a little helpful to know that.
Yeah, I'm going to need some to make more than 1 three on Saturdayyyyyyyyyy...
Gritty seems like he'd fit in way more at a Bonnies game than a La Salle game.
La Salle has two current Congressmen and a Congresswoman as alumni. They fit in because La Salle, like Congress, is a place where nothing meaningful gets done.
La Salle is literally French for "The Room" and the school was the inspiration for the worst movie ever made.
The good news for La Salle is at least everyone on their team is a better shooter than Philadelphia 76ers starting garbage can Ben Simmons.
The Bonnies have experience winning in boring arenas this year at Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee, Fordham, GW and St. Joe's.
BonaCommenter's Score on #a102k20: Bonnies 100, Explorers 80
Unrealistic 2k Stat of the Game: Boca Bobby Planutis - 7/8 FG
Bonnies A10Talk.com Forum Quote of the Day: "Show me the goddamn A10 bracket when the goddamn A10 regular season is over, ass blood!"
La Salle Message Board Quote of the Day: [after last year's game] "I'm all for pushing for answers because incompetence left unchecked breeds. But I'm hung up that all things considered, it was fairly meaningless game at the tail-end of pretty meaningless season."
La Salle uses "meaningless season" as a motto, just like St. Bonaventure uses "unfurl."