St Bonaventure (25-7) vs UCLA (21-11)
When: Tuesday, March 13th 2018
Where: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, OH
Time: 9:10 ET | TV: truTV
Opening Odds: UCLA -3
The UCLA Bruins will be making their 49th appearance in the NCAA Tournament when they take on a red-hot St. Bonaventure Bonnies team that can make shots from long range. The Bruins, who have won 11 NCAA titles, are seeking to win at least two games in the Big Dance for the fourth straight time. UCLA doesn’t have a lot of momentum coming in, losing three of their last five, but came close to knocking-off Pac-12 Champions Arizona in the semifinals of the conference tournament. This will be a battle of No. 11 seeds that are part of the last four at-large bids and will be played Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio. The winner will travel to Dallas on Thursday to take on the sixth-seeded Florida Gators. St. Bonaventure, which won 13 games in a row before losing to Davidson in the Atlantic-10 semifinals, set a program record for victories in a regular season (24) and is tied with the 1969-70 team that made the Final Four for the most overall (25). UCLA’s junior guard Aaron Holiday averages a Pac 12-best 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and makes 43.3% from 3-point range, while the senior duo of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley for the Bonnies combined to score almost 40 per games and have connected on 177 three-pointers between them.
Holiday was held to 15 points on 5-of-20 shooting from the field by Arizona, but averaged 28.2 points in his previous five games and scored at least 29 five times this season – he averaged 12.3 per contest last season as a sophomore. Senior center Thomas Welsh had a big Pac-12 Tournament while averaging 17.5 points along with 14 rebounds in two games and the Bruins are counting on that type of production to get through this tournament. Guard Kris Wilkes was named to the Pac-12’s All-Freshman team and is second on the team in scoring (13.8).
Adams, who also leads the team in assists (5.4) and steals (1.5), averages 19.8 points while converting on 45.7% from downtown. Adams is sixth in scoring all-time at St. Bonaventure (1,893) and second in 3-pointers (270) – 11 away from the top spot. Mobley made 14 three-pointers in the A-10 Tournament and has 102 this season while averaging 18.5 points in his second season with the Bonnies. On the inside, Courtney Stockard (12.9 points, 6.4 rebounds) and fellow junior forward LaDarien Griffin (8.7, team-best 6.5 boards) will need to step up their play against the mighty Bruins.
I like this Bonnies team, but can they compete with a Power-5 conference and continue to drain three-pointers? They did beat Syracuse this season, but lost to TCU on a neutral floor. They will hang around for a while, but the Bruins are too talented and athletic and will pull away down the stretch.
Pick: UCLA -3.5
- Bruins are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
- Bruins are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Bruins are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games.
- Bruins are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games following a straight up loss.
- Bruins are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Tuesday games.
- Bonnies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a double-digit loss at home.
- Bonnies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
- Bonnies are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Bonnies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
- Over is 4-1 in Bruins last 5 non-conference games.
- Under is 5-1 in Bonnies last 6 games following a double-digit loss at home.
- Under is 5-1 in Bonnies last 6 non-conference games.
- Under is 4-1 in Bonnies last 5 Tuesday games.
- Under is 16-5 in Bonnies last 21 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 23-9 in Bonnies last 32 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.