Before the nets were even cut down in Indianapolis following this year's national championship game, the time-honored tradition of "way-too-early" top 25 polls began. One thing nearly all of the national pundits had in common: Respect for the St. Bonaventure men's basketball team.
The reigning Atlantic 10 champions not only appear in nearly every major pre-season top 25 poll released this week, they averaged a ranking of No. 18 across eight of the top "way-too-early" polls:
The Bonnies were also listed as a "close call" in the USA Today top 25 poll and came in at No. 31 in NCAA.com's Andy Katz Power 36.
St. Bonaventure is slated to return its entire starting five from this past year which led the Bonnies to their first-ever season of winning both the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament crowns.
All juniors last season, Bona's core group of Kyle Lofton (back-to-back First Team All-Atlantic 10, 14.4 ppg, 5.5 apg), Osun Osunniyi (Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year and Tournament MVP, 10.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.4 apg), Jaren Holmes (Second Team All-Atlantic 10, 13.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Dominick Welch (11.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Jalen Adaway (A-10 All-Tournament Team, 12.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) gives the Bonnies one of the most impressive and veteran returning lineups in the nation.
Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Mark Schmidt has guided the Bonnies to one of the best runs of success for any program in the conference over the past decade. This year's team clinched their seventh consecutive season of double-digit conference wins, the longest active streak for any A-10 program. Since the 2011-12 campaign, the Bonnies have won the league tournament title twice, regular season crowns in 2020-21 and 2015-16, an NCAA Tournament at-large bid and victory over UCLA in 2018 and won 83 conference games since '14-15 for the second-most wins in the league over that time.
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