By CHUCKIE MAGGIO
St. Bonaventure basketball’s weekend ended surprisingly well, considering the 29-point drubbing that started it.
Bona’s five-game win streak prior to Friday night’s loss to Davidson had already given itself room to remain in the top four of the Atlantic 10 standings at 9-4. Richmond went a step further and defeated VCU 77-59, putting SBU two games ahead of the Rams.
The Spiders did pass the Bonnies for third in the A-10, standing 9-3 with a game in hand, but Bonaventure has a chance to take it back when the sides meet at the Reilly Center on Saturday night.
SBU is still in control of its top-four destiny. If the brown and white win the remaining five games of the regular season, they are assured a double-bye in next month’s A-10 Tournament. They would also be assured of at least the three seed, with the head-to-head tiebreaker over Richmond.
Here is the current top eight of the A-10, with remaining schedules for each team:
1. Dayton, 12-0. Last six: At VCU on Tuesday, v.s. Duquesne on Saturday, at George Mason on Feb. 25, v.s. Davidson on Feb. 28, at Rhode Island on March 4, v.s. George Washington on March 7
2. Rhode Island, 11-2. Last five: At Davidson on Saturday, at Fordham on Feb. 26, v.s. Saint Louis on March 1, v.s. Dayton on March 4, at UMass on March 7
3. Richmond, 9-3. Last six: Against George Mason on Wednesday, at St. Bonaventure on Saturday, at George Washington on Feb. 26, v.s. UMass on Feb. 29, v.s. Davidson on March 3, at Duquesne on March 6
4. St. Bonaventure, 9-4. Last five: Against George Mason on Saturday, v.s. Duquesne on Feb. 26, at La Salle on Feb. 29, v.s. St. Joseph’s on March 4, at Saint Louis on March 7
5. Duquesne, 8-4. Last six: Against George Washington on Wednesday, at Dayton on Saturday, at St. Bonaventure on Feb. 26, v.s. George Mason on Feb. 29, at VCU on March 3, v.s. Richmond on March 6
6. Saint Louis, 7-5. Last six: At UMass on Tuesday, v.s. VCU on Friday, v.s. St. Joseph’s on Feb. 26, at Rhode Island on March 1, at George Mason on March 4, v.s. St. Bonaventure on March 7
7. VCU, 7-5. Last six: Against Dayton on Tuesday, at Saint Louis on Friday, at UMass on Feb. 26, v.s. George Washington on Feb. 29, v.s. Duquesne on March 3, at Davidson on March 6
8. Davidson, 7-5. Last six: At St. Joseph’s on Tuesday, v.s. Rhode Island on Saturday, v.s. La Salle on Feb. 25, at Dayton on Feb. 28, at Richmond on March 3, v.s. VCU on March 6
Bona’s opponents are a combined 20-40, making its end of the regular season easier than any other contender’s, at least on paper. The Bonnies also happen to be home for three of the five games, with one of the road games against two-win La Salle, and do not play Dayton or Rhody.
Perhaps more importantly, SBU is one of just two contenders with a bye remaining. Coach Mark Schmidt is 31-19 in his tenure with seven or more days between games, and while the team has won just two of its last eight such games, a week off might be necessary after Friday’s blowout.
Worth noting: Bona has the same record through 13 conference games as 2017-18 and is one game better than last year’s 8-5 mark. SBU is a win away from winning 10 league games for the sixth consecutive year.