The St. Bonaventure men's basketball team needed overtime to win on the road last night against Rhode Island, the only winless team in Atlantic 10 league play. But a win is a win, and suddenly the Bonnies are tied for first in a tightly packed A-10 race. Bona is in a five-way tie for first at 4-2 with St. Louis, Dayton, UMass and LaSalle. Temple, the highest A-10 team in the RPIs at No. 16, is a half-game back at 3-2. Five other teams have three losses.
That means 11 teams are within a game of first in the A-10, which actually has 13 teams (the Atlantic Baker's Dozen?). The Bonnies are only eighth among A-10 teams in the power rankings at No. 88, however. A home loss to Arkansas State drags down their rating. Too bad they lost close games to Illinois and North Carolina State. The Bonnies host Richmond on Saturday, then play a huge road game at St. Louis, which is currently 16-4 overall.
Meanwhile, the Bona women are ranked 27th in the AP poll and are 28th in the RPIs. They're 19-2 overall and 6-0 in the A-10. The Bonnies' two losses were to teams rated higher in the women's RPIs -- No. 7 Delaware and No. 15 Villanova. Barring a total collapse, Bona should make the NCAA Tournament. They'll have a strong case as an at-large if they don't win the A-10 tourney. No Western New York women's team has ever gotten an at-large berth. Only one team, Canisius, has gone as a conference champ.
--- Jerry Sullivan