Bucknell vs St. Bonaventure Preview and Prediction
Bucknell vs St. Bonaventure Preview
Game Date: Wednesday, Nov. 7
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Bob Lanier Court, Reilly Center
St. Bonaventure 26-8 | Bucknell 25-10
In Wednesday night college basketball action, two NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago will matchup in Western New York.
The Bonnies are led by seniors Courtney Stockard, LaDarien Griffin and Nelson Kaputo and will welcome a heralded group of six newcomers, including four freshmen. Prior to the game, a banner commemorating the 2018 NCAA Tournament team will be unveiled in its permanent location, the RC rafters.
Home openers have been kind to the Bonnies, as they have won 13 of their last 14 openers – a streak of 13 straight wins was snapped last year by Niagara. Since the Reilly Center opened in 1966, St. Bonaventure is 48-3 in home openers. Under head coach Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure is 11-1 in home openers.
This will be the seventh meeting between the teams and their first since 2008. St. Bonaventure leads the series 5-1 and is 2-0 against the Bison under Mark Schmidt. The last meeting was in 2008, a double-OT Bona win at Bucknell.
Injuries will hurt St. Bonaventure
Jack-of-all-trades and preseason All-Conference second team pick Courtney Stockard will be a leader for the Bonnies this season. It’s tough to assign him a position because he can play just about any role needed.
He will miss tonight’s game and could be out for an extended period of time after having arthroscopic knee surgery over the summer.
Bucknell still has experience
Despite the heavy graduation hit, four of Bucknell’s five projected opening-night starters managed to start at least 10 games last season. And the only one that didn’t — senior center Nate Sestina — was a Preseason All-Patriot League selection.
Bucknell was picked a close second to Lehigh in the Patriot League Preseason Poll. The Bison did pick up one more first-place vote (8) than the Mountain Hawks.
Last season, Bucknell finished 25-10 overall and 16-2 in the Patriot League. The Bison swept Loyola, Boston University and Colgate — with the latter two wins coming by a combined 60 points — to win the Patriot League Tournament crown. Bucknell’s eighth NCAA Tournament appearance resulted in a narrow 82-78 first-round loss to third-seeded Michigan State in Detroit.
Without Courtney Stockard in the Bonnies lineup, this game will be a lot closer throughout. The Bonnies may have more talent but opening games are always difficult to predict. The Bison have plenty of returning talent as well and could easily come away with a victory.
Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt is 11-1 in season openers so I will go with St. Bonaventure in a tight game.
St. Bonaventure 77 Bucknell 73