Bison hope to beDevil Duke

Without a doubt Bucknell will have as tough, if not the toughest, a non-league schedule of any team in the league next season. With Saint Joe's, Villanova, Niagara and what looks to be a pretty decent Rider team (on the road) already set, the Bison have added perennial national contender Duke to the 2005-06 slate.

From David Jones of the Patriot-News:
(Bucknell) coach Pat Flannery on Thursday signed a one-game deal to play the Duke Blue Devils at arguably the nastiest hornet's nest in the game -- Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The meeting will be Jan. 2, the Bison's last non-conference date before it opens defense of its Patriot League title.

. . .

The Bison's other games signed so far are two huge home dates with Saint Joe's and Villanova at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, road trips to Rider and Niagara and a holiday trip to the Cable Car Classic to play Boston University and then either Cal-Riverside or host Santa Clara.

Flannery still has three open non-con dates left to schedule and plans to keep one available, hoping to nab a game in ESPN's Bracket Buster tournament in mid-February. ESPN's Josh Krulewitz told me the involved low- and mid-major conferences will convene in the summer to decide on the venues and possible combatants. They won't be firmed up till January.

One date that Flannery is not happy about losing is a proposed match with Syracuse at Wachovia Arena in Scranton, home of Orange point guard Gerry McNamara. Flannery thought he had a verbal agreement with SU before Jim Boeheim backed out late last month and opted instead for less-threatening Towson State.
An now, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story:

The Bucknell-Syracuse meeting was first discussed early last season. According to Bucknell AD John Hardt, who first told us about the ongoing negotiations with the Orange during a pregame chat at the Bucknell-Villanova game in mid-February, it looked like a done deal in late 2004.

Then Bucknell beat Pitt in Pittsburgh and suddenly it was not just the frigid lake-effect snows that sweep over Central New York that was chilling Orange feet.

Also, Flannery is not just hoping to be included in Bracket Buster Saturday (which is hardly a "tournament"). Flannery also hopes for an invite to the pre-season NIT, thus the need to keep at least one other date open for now.

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