St. Bonaventure Bonnies (25-7 SU, 15-14 ATS, 16-13 O/U) vs. UCLA Bruins (21-11 SU, 16-16 ATS, 18-14 O/U)
NCAAB: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 9:10 p.m. EST
The UCLA Bruins and St. Bonaventure Bonnies will contest the second game of the 2018 NCAA Tournament when they battle in a proverbial play-in game at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday night. UCLA scraped its way into an at-large bid after falling to Arizona in overtime during Pac-12 Tournament semifinal action on Saturday. The Bonnies appeared to be a lock for the Big Dance until they succumbed to Davidson in a No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed Atlantic 10 semifinal showdown.
This is a battle between No. 11 seeds in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament, with the winner to face No. 6 seed Florida in Dallas on Thursday. A dangerous St. Bonaventure squad won 13 games in a row before losing to eventual champion Davidson 82-70 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinals. The Bonnies set a program record for victories in a regular season (24) and they are tied with the 1969-70 team that made the Final Four for the most overall (25).
This matchup could come down to guard play as both teams boast talented backcourts that can put up plenty of points, distribute, and drain long-range shots. For St. Bonaventure he senior duo of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley have combined to score almost 40 points per contest and have connected on 177 triples. Adams, who also leads the team in assists (5.4), steals (1.5), averages 19.8 points while shooting 45.7 percent beyond the arc. Mobley made 14 threes in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and has made 102 of his 292 career treys this season while averaging 18.5 ppg. Production in the paint will be needed to open up the perimeter; Courtney Stockard (12.9 points, 6.4 rebounds per outing) and fellow junior forward LaDarien Griffin (8.7, team-best 6.5 boards) can provide that.
One big holiday
UCLA is making its fifth trip to NCAA Tournament in six years and it has won at least two games in the Big Dance on three straight occasions. The Bruins lost three of their last five contests but gave eventual Pac-12 Tournament champion Arizona all it could handle before losing in overtime in the semifinals. Junior guard Aaron Holiday averages a Pac 12-best 20.3 points and 5.8 assists per contest while sinking 43.3 percent of his attempts from three-point range. Holiday was held to 15 points on 5-of-20 shooting from the field by Arizona, but he averaged 28.2 points in his previous five games and scored at least 29 five times this season after producing 12.3 per outing as a sophomore.
Thomas Welsh, a 7’0” senior, turned in a big Pac-12 Tournament while averaging 17.5 points along with 14 rebounds in two games. The Bruins will need that again to make a run in the dance. Kris Wilkes, a 6’8” guard who was named to the Pac-12’s All-Freshman team, is second on UCLA in scoring (13.8).
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies are:
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against teams with winning records
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss
- 5-1 Under in their last six non-conference games
The UCLA Bruins are:
- 4-9 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games
- 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games following a loss
- 1-4 ATS in their last five Tuesday games
Bruins’ freshman guard Jaylen Hands averages 10.1 ppg but has scored in double figures once in his last 10 games.Adams is sixth in scoring all-time at St. Bonaventure (1,893 points) and second in three-pointers made–11 away from the top spot with 270. The Bonnies are 5-2 ATS in their last seven against winning opponents and 4-1 ATS in their last five following an ATS loss. Expect those trends to continue. UCLA is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 non-conference contests, 5-13 ATS in its last 18 following a loss, and 1-4 ATS in its last five on Tuesdays. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: St. Bonaventure Bonnies -3.5
Not including a triple-overtime game against Davidson in the regular season, St. Bonaventure has limited opponents to 77 points or less on seven straight occasions. The under is 5-1 in the Bonnies’ last six non-conference contests, 16-5 ATS in their last 21 following an ATS loss, and 4-1 ATS in their last five on Tuesdays. Look for this one to stay under the total.