It started out fine.
On a freezing cold Valentine's Night, the Bonnies got out to a pretty solid start, holding a lead for quite a bit of the first 10 minutes. Then, as fast as Bobby Hurley left SUNY at Amherst, Steph Curry U. made approximately 293898372958 threes. I don't know how we managed to actually discuss that game on this week's SBUnfurled and Friends podcast (featuring Woj! 💣) for more than 5 seconds, because I don't know what else to say other than... what the hell?
We've played 4 games on Friday night on ESPN2 recently. We've won one over a ranked Rhody team. The other three were against Davidson, with two of those games in the RC. I think all of those times were also whiteouts. The moral of the story is no more games against Davidson and NO MORE DAMN WHITEOUTS.
Despite a humiliating loss to Davidson, the Bonnies picked up a huge win against BYE this week. That's thanks to yet another loss by VCU, along with St. Louis, Davidson (who, unsurprisingly, is mediocre when they don't shoot 400% from 3) and Duquesne (on Wednesday). Thanks to the Revenge of the Pillow Fighters, the Brown and White are still a game ahead of Duquesne for 4th place and two games ahead of VCU/SLU/Davidson.
SBUnfurled may disagree, but a 4 seed alone isn't enough for me. I think we got to get the 3 seed, so we avoid potentially playing Dayton until the championship. My philosophy towards Dayton right now is, in the words of Homer Simpson when he ran Springfield's sanitation department, "Can't someone else do it?!?!?"
Getting the 3 seed (and the extremely fun 8:30 Friday night game) depends on One Big Thing (TM): squishing the Richmond Spiders. Despite their history of having a born-on-third-base-and-thinking-they-hit-a-triple mentality, Richmond is NOT wasting their financial resources this year. The Spiders have gone from Pillow Fighter to at-large contender in the blink an eye, or eight eyes to be exact.
For decades, Richmond's program was more dead than (SPOILER ALERT) Charlotte the spider was at the end of Charlotte's Web, folks. They started playing basketball in 1913, yet did not make an NCAA Tournament until 1984! They never even made any postseason tournament until the '82 NIT. I know the tournament wasn't at 64+ teams yet back then, but damn, even Fordham stumbled into a few tournaments in the 50s and 70s.
Admittedly, whenever the Spiders avoid getting washed down the waterspout and actually make it to the NCAAs, they haven't been terrible. They've made a couple Sweet 16s, including 2011, although they haven't made the tournament since. Their biggest moment came in 1991, when head coach Dick Tarrantula led the 15th-seeded Spiders to a win over the evil Syracuse empire. It was the first time a 15 seed beat a 2.
U of R (not Rochester) is coached by a Rick Astley impersonator working in Vegas named Chris Mooney. Richmond went to 7 postseason tournaments in his first 10 seasons, including the 2011 Sweet 16. But like how Astley never repeated the success of "Never Gonna Give You Up" and "Together Forever," Mooney has not been able to recapture the magic in his early tenure.
Since 2011, the Itsy Bitsy Spiders have only made 2 NITs and a CBI. The last two seasons, Richmond had 20 losses and many in the Henrico County spider web grew restless. As many of you may know, a vocal minority called the Fire Mooney Mafia tried to do just that. They're like the Bernie Bros of the A10, except FMM actually wanted to ruin someone's life.
After months of tweets and message board rants, a few mafiosos chipped in enough money to rent a billboard along I-95 in Richmond. This was the first time Richmond grabbed the college basketball world's attention since 2011. Despite this stunt, the billboard proved to be more worthless than a Michael Bloomberg ad, and Mooney was kept for the 2019-20 season.
This season has been a pretty solid success for the Spiders. Right now, they're on the good side of the bubble (when have bracketologists EVER been wrong about an A10 team?). Win or lose on Saturday, they'll likely get a double bye at A10s. Even though most of the team returned from last year, Fire Mooney Mafia members take credit for motivating UR to not suck this year, a true galaxy brain take.
While he's not a made man in the Fire Mooney Mafia, Austin Daisey is no arachnophobe. He's a big contributor on A10 Talk and also hosts the Spider Scoop podcast for ESPN Richmond. Go ahead and check it out for some oppo research. I'd like you to do me a favor though and dig up some dirt on Jacob Gilyard.
While Richmond and the Bonnies aren't exactly close rivals, coming up here always concerns him.
It's a game that is always circled for what will be a challenging game, especially if being played at the Reilly Center. Been talking about how this game has worried me for about a month now, regardless of how y'all have been playing.
He got trapped in the Spiders web after seeing them crush a post-scandal Bona team.
Favorite memorable moment from a Richmond-Bonnies game goes all the way back to 2004. It was the 1st Richmond game that I fully remember attending at the age of just 9, so that one just holds a nostalgic factor for me.
The school on Broad Street also doesn't have a monopoly on insufferable fans in the former capital of the Confederacy.
Something that the Bonnies might know about us is that we aren't nearly as obnoxious as VCU. Which is probably a well known fact. There's also a select number of fans that want the coach fired after a 20-6 start, so there's that.
He also asked us on the A10 Talk boards about what it's like in Olean when he thought about coming up this weekend (he's going to Brooklyn instead). I did give him a pretty thorough recap of what it's like here (make me an offer, Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce).
I have never made the trek to Olean but it is on my bucket list to get to the Reilly Center. The atmosphere is something special up there and I would love to experience it. By the way, you'd make a great tour guide.
While Austin knows it's usually a tough game, he ain't scurred...
I hope that Bona Nation is ready for what's coming on Saturday. This team is having a lot of fun on the court and it is showing. Be prepared for some patented Grant Golden flexes as well. The Bonnies are one of my favorite fanbases in the A10, and I am looking forward to what should be a great matchup.
Seven Steps to Victory
In honor of 80s Weekend, we need to be like Olivia Newton-John and exploit our strength down low by getting "Physical."
Lil Dicky went to Richmond, so hopefully the Spiders players wake up Saturday in Niagara's bodies.
There's a guy for Richmond literally named Tyler Burton, so we should slow him down by giving him like 5 burgers from his family business right before the game.
Dom Welch needs to become a man in motion so UR feels St. Bonaventure's Fire.
While the school is trying to do Bills-themed night, maybe we shouldn't wear colors that exactly match Richmond's...
I want to see Osun block shots ALL NIGHT LONG... all night... all night... all night... ALL NIGHT LONG...
BonaCommenter's Score on #a102k20: Spiders 100, Bonnies 84
Unrealistic 2k Stat of the Game: What the hell was I doing in this one? Richmond had 32 offensive rebounds, Bonnies had 7. That probably explains why Grant Golden took 35 (!!!) shots.
Richmond Message Board Quote of the Day: [about last year's Fire Mooney billboard] "I am sure that billboard really helped the team improve... and [Fire Mooney Mafia} deserves a lot of credit for our performance this year..."
Get that neon spandex and blowout your hair, it's time to stomp Spidey on 80s Weekend!