The Bona-Nation is thrilled to be included in the NCAA Division I basketball tournament this year. We haven’t forgotten two seasons ago, when the Bonnies were unceremoniously shafted by “the committee.” We won’t complain about being relegated to an 11-seed play-in game. We’re in. We’re dancing!
We’re dancing in Dayton against the Bruins of UCLA. The Bonnies are gritty, tireless and talented. They can win this. In some ways, it will be redemption for what might have happened 48 years ago. In 1970, the Brown Indians of Bonas were cruising toward the Final Four behind the strength of Bob Lanier. In the West, John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins were coasting toward the final rounds in a field of just 25 teams. A Bonnies-Bruins showdown seemed inevitable.
Against Jacksonville in the semifinals, Lanier blew out his knee. Jacksonville defeated the Bonnies, earning the right to play UCLA in the finals. UCLA won.
Then, as now, it would have been a true David vs. Goliath story. Before entering into battle with the giant, David, a young and lowly sheepherder, explained how he defeated lion and bear to rescue his sheep. The Bonnies have also vanquished some vicious opponents this year, and are ready to take on the giant, the UCLA Bruins. These are a few stats to chew on.
45,482 students (Undergrad and Graduate)
Seasons: 99 (1919-20 to 2017-18)
Record: 1873-839 .691 W-L%
28-2 .933 W-L% (1st of 196)
Conference: 12-2, 1st in Pac-8
Coach: John Wooden (28-2)
The Bruins were led by forward Sidney Wicks, John Vallely and Henry Bibby.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies
2,100 students (Undergrad and Graduate)
Seasons: 98 (1919-20 to 2017-18)
Record: 1343-1021 .568 W-L%
25-3 .893 W-L% (7th of 196)
Coach: Larry Weise (25-3)
In NCAA Tourney, they beat Davidson, NC State and Villanova to reach the Final Four.
After Bob Lanier, who averaged 29.1 points and 16 rebounds per game, blew out his knee, the Bonnies lost to Jacksonville (led by 7’1” Artis Gilmore) in the semi-final game.
Had the Bonnies won, they would have faced John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins.
At hand, we have a confrontation between the Bonnies and Steve Alford’s Bruins, favored by 3 points. Are they ready to slay the bear?