NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Atlantic 10 Conference released its 2022-23 men’s basketball schedule on Wednesday, meaning college basketball is right around the corner.
Bonaventure fans should feel both excited and opportunistic; the Bonnies have a favorable slate.
St. Bonaventure’s 2022-2023 Atlantic 10 schedule gets off to a raucous start as Frank Martin’s UMass Minutemen will trek to the Reilly Center on New Year’s Eve. Since Andrew Nicholson graduated in 2012, the Bonnies have won 12 of 14 games against the Commonwealth’s Flagship.
Four days later, an improved George Mason team will visit the Reilly Center for the first time in two seasons. The last time these two teams played in Western New York, the Bonnies prevailed by 17.
The Bonnies have a great chance to start conference play with two home victories. However, the students will be on Christmas break then.
On the first Saturday of January, the Bonnies head to the Gateway of the West. This road game at St. Louis may prove as their most challenging game of the season. St. Louis coach Travis Ford has a loaded roster once again. Gibson Jimerson, Yuri Collins, Fred Thatch, and Francis Okoro all return–and so does star Javonte Perkins, who tore his ACL last October and missed the 2021-22 season. The Billikens have the potential to make a deep run in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
From there, the Bonnies fly from one side of the conference to the other, facing the Rhode Island Rams along the shores of the Atlantic. Home dates with Duquesne and Richmond follow after that, and then SBU heads back to the Midwest to pay a visit to Loyola Chicago and former Athletic Director Steve Watson on Jan. 21.
The Ramblers joined the mighty Atlantic 10 Conference last July, jumping over from the Missouri Valley. Drew Valentine’s Loyola Chicago team will surely test these Bonnies.
After playing in Chicago for the first time since 1977, the Bonnies head back home to face the Fordham Rams.
The Brown and White then face their most challenging stretch of the season, where they can quickly drop three straight: at VCU, at Richmond, vs. Dayton. By the time Anthony Grant struts into the Reilly Center on Feb. 4, his Flyers could be a Top-15 team in the country. The Flyers have the potential to reach that level, and maybe higher, this season.
Perhaps the only saving grace from this trio of games is that Bona gets to shoot two birds with one stone. They play two games during one trip to Virginia’s capital city.
From there, the schedule makers tossed the Bonnies a bone. This young team can make a run during the middle of February when temperatures in little Allegany, New York never surpass 32 degrees.
Here is the stretch beginning on Feb. 8: La Salle, at Duquesne, at Fordham, George Washington, at Davidson, St. Joseph’s.
Facing Matt McKillop’s squad in Charlotte is the obvious outlier here, and it will prove to be one of the more demanding games that Bona will have all year. The Wildcats could easily sneak into the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Yet, the Bonnies finish the year’s shortest month by hosting Billy Lange’s Hawks on Feb. 26 before hitting the Mass Pike to cap off the regular season at UMass on Mar. 4.
The conference gave St. Bonaventure the week off between the St. Joseph’s and UMass games. This bye week will keep the Bonnies well-rested as the 2023 Atlantic 10 Tournament in Brooklyn follows the week after. Going into the postseason with fresh legs is a massive advantage.
Not having to play at Tom Gola Arena–the Atlantic 10’s House of Horrors–is a massive advantage too.
Ultimately, the Bonnies will likely have five or six losses in conference play when the calendar flips to February. Yet, the back end of this schedule gives Bona a solid chance to finish in the top half of the conference.
St. Bonaventure’s Atlantic 10 schedule follows below with a way-too-early game-by-game prediction.
Sat. Dec. 31 – Massachusetts (W)
Wed. Jan. 4 – George Mason (W)
Sat. Jan. 7 – @ St. Louis (L)
Wed. Jan. 11 – @ Rhode Island (W)
Sat. Jan. 14 – Richmond (L)
Wed. Jan. 18 – Duquesne (W)
Sat. Jan. 21 – @ Loyola Chicago (L)
Wed. Jan. 25 – Fordham (W)
Sat. Jan. 28 – @ VCU (L)
Wed. Feb. 1 – @ Richmond (L)
Sat. Feb. 4 – Dayton (L)
Wed. Feb. 8 – La Salle (W)
Sat. Feb. 11 – @ Duquesne (W)
Wed. Feb. 15 – @ Fordham (W)
Sun. Feb. 19 – George Washington (W)
Wed. Feb. 22 – @ Davidson (L)
Sun. Feb. 26 – Saint Joseph’s (W)
Sat. Mar. 4 – @ Massachusetts (L)
Predicted Conference Record: 10-8
Jack Milko received his B.A. in Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He is now working on getting his M.A. in Sports Journalism from St. Bonaventure University and also covers the Bonnies for @A10Talk. Follow him on Twitter for more Bonnies coverage at @Jack_Milko.