Capitals

Bonnies enjoying afterglow of last year's success

Bonnies enjoying afterglow of last year's success

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) St. Bonaventure men's basketball coach Mark Schmidt isn't making any promises, and women's coach Jim Crowley has lowered his expectations. So don't hold your breath anticipating any immediate encores in Olean.

Reproducing a once-in-a-lifetime magical March - when both Bonnies men's and women's basketball teams earned NCAA tournament berths - might be asking for a little much two years in a row.

``Yeah right,'' Crowley said, starting to laugh. ``Hopefully, we get a little leeway.''

As for Schmidt, he has but one regret when fondly recalling last season.

If only someone had the foresight to have laid a bet on both teams winding up in the tournament, a first at St. Bonaventure.

``If we put a $1,000 on that, then we wouldn't have budget problems,'' Schmidt said, chuckling. ``That line was probably a million to one.''

Try a billion to one, Crowley said, before adding: ``It was quite a story.''

And it's a story that still resonates months later, even as the cores of both teams have changed dramatically.

Forward Andrew Nicholson is now in the midst of opening his NBA career in Orlando, after the Magic drafted him with the 19th pick. And the women's team is moving on after losing its two stars, Megan Van Tatenhove and Jessica Jenkins, to graduation.

What remains, however, is the afterglow of success that continues to shine on this tiny Atlantic 10 Conference school tucked in the shadow of the Allegany Hills of New York's southern tier.

``I think what we did last year made all Bonaventure alums proud of their school,'' Schmidt said. ``It energized us. It's been a tremendous thing. If one person came up to me and cried, 100 people came up to me and cried.''

They were tears of joy, and a long time in coming for the men's team in particular.

Schmidt restored a proud basketball tradition at a school that produced Hall of Famer Bob Lanier. In his fifth season, he proved it's possible to build a winner at St. Bonaventure, and transform a program that had been reeling from a player-eligibility scandal in 2003 that eventually led to NCAA sanctions.

In going 20-12, the Bonnies won their first A10 tournament championship to secure their sixth NCAA tournament berth, and first since 2000.

``A lot of people didn't think that Bonaventure could come back to the days prior to the scandal,'' Schmidt said. ``So it's very satisfying, gratifying.''

Looking ahead, Schmidt faces the challenge of replacing Nicholson's dominant presence, and the 18.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and near two blocked shots per game he averaged last year.

``Is it going to be difficult? Absolutely,'' he said. ``But we're going to put our best foot forward. And I can say that when teams play us, they're going to know they're in for a battle.''

The Bonnies, who open hosting Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 9, return three starters, including senior forward Demitrius Conger who averaged 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds last year.

The Bonnies women had no tradition to speak of in producing 16 losing seasons in their first 20 years as a Division I program. They've since enjoyed six straight winning seasons, topped by last year when they (31-4) set a team record for wins, earned their first NCAA berth, and reached the tournament's third round before unraveling in a 79-35 loss to Notre Dame.

Aside from losing Van Tatenhove and Jenkins, the Bonnies were dealt another blow last month when forward Chelsea Bowker sustained a season-ending ankle injury. That puts further pressure on a team that features six freshmen.

``It's the biggest challenge we've had over the last few years,'' Crowley said. ``The only way you get invested is through time. The only way you get better at what we do is through repetition. Half our team has neither.''

Entering his 13th season, Crowley is taking a more patient approach as the team prepares to open its year hosting Binghamton on Nov. 10. He can appreciate the challenges the newcomers face adjusting to their first year at college, while also burdened by the expectations of what happened last season.

``I'm pretty honest with it, we're not going to the Sweet 16 this year,'' Crowley said. ``We're not gonna. Miracles happen, but we're just not ready.''

That doesn't mean the Bonnies, men or women, are starting from scratch.

Athletic director Steve Watson is confident last year's success established stable foundations for both programs.

``I don't think anybody feels like we're starting over,'' Watson said. ``It kind of gives us credibility. ... We've proven it in basketball. We've proven it in our other sports. And the future looks bright.''

As a reminder of what's possible, on a table in his office, Watson keeps a copy of a commemorative yearbook, titled ``Legacy Defined,'' the school produced to honor both teams.

``If there's ever been a bad day, you can always pick that thing up and think back to last season,'' Watson said. ``Yeah, it definitely puts a smile on your face.

``Because it really was an amazing run.''

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197