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These two teams met only one time during the regular season with Davidson squeezing out a 54-53 victory on the road in Saint Louis. Can the Wildcats push their current winning streak to five games by advancing to the A10 Tournament Finals with a victory over Saint Louis on Saturday?
Wildcats push current win streak to four games
After earning a bye into the quarterfinal round, Davidson won their first game of the conference tournament on Friday, defeating Saint Joseph’s 70-60 behind a balanced offensive effort. Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady scored 18 points apiece, while Luka Brajkovic added 15 for the Wildcats, who survived a 3-for-15 shooting performance from beyond the arc by nabbing 17 offensive rebounds in the win.
Jon Axel Gudmundsson with the TOUGH fadeaway bucket to give Davidson a huge 3 point lead late. pic.twitter.com/m5QNZVohLr
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) March 16, 2019
Bob McKillop’s squad comes into the semifinals ranked No. 68 in the latest KenPom rankings after extending their current win streak to four games. Davidson has scored 108.5 points per 100 possessions for the season (95th in the NCAA) and 107.6 points per 100 possessions during conference play (2nd in the A10). The Wildcats have green light from long-range and they’ve done most of their damage from beyond the arc so far this year. Davidson has shot 46.7 percent of their total field goal attempts from distance (2nd in the A10), while connecting on a healthy 37.3 percent of their 3-pointers in league play (1st in the A10).
On defense, the Wildcats have surrendered 98.6 points per 100 possessions (78th in the NCAA) and 96.8 points per 100 possessions during league play (4th in the A10). The Wildcats defense has limited A10 opponents to just 46.9 percent shooting from two-point range (4th in the A10) and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc so far this year (3rd in the A10).
Billikens upset Dayton to advance to semifinals
Saint Louis upset Dayton in the quarterfinals on Friday, taking down the Flyers 64-55 after ramping up their defensive intensity in the second half. Tramaine Isabell scored 24 points and handed out six assists, while Jordan Goodwin added 17 for the Billikens, who allowed just 25 second half points to advance to the semifinal round on Saturday.
Javon. Freaking. Bess. pic.twitter.com/B8EMKmIYgD
— A10 Talk (@A10Talk) March 16, 2019
Travis Ford’s squad enters the weekend slotted at No. 123 in the latest KenPom rankings thanks in part to their effort on the defensive end of the floor. Saint Louis has struggled to remain efficient offensively, scoring just 102.0 points per 100 possessions for the season (216th in the NCAA) and 100.8 points per 100 possessions during conference play (9th in the A10). The Billikens have shot just 29.6 percent from 3-point range (13th in the A10) and 60.1 percent from the charity stripe as a team during league play (14th in the A10), while turning the ball over on 19.0 percent of their offensive possessions (10th in the A10). Instead, they’ve been forced to generate points by crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free throw line at a high rate. They lead the A10 in free throw rate at 39.7 percent and offensive rebounding rate, hauling in an impressive 37.7 percent of their missed field goal attempts during the conference season.
On defense, Saint Louis has allowed just 97.3 points per 100 possessions for the year (60th in the NCAA) and 99.1 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (5th in the A10).
- Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wildcats are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games.
- Wildcats are 25-12-1 ATS in their last 38 vs. Atlantic 10.
- Billikens are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games following a ATS win.
- Billikens are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Saint Louis relies on crashing the offensive glass to generate points on offense, but Davidson is the second-best defensive rebounding team in the A10. The Wildcats have a major advantage on the offensive end, especially from beyond the arc, which should also help them make up some extra points in this game. Davidson also ranks among the top effective field goal percentage defenses in the conference, which has me leaning toward the Wildcats covering the spread on neutral court in this matchup.
Prediction: Pick: Davidson Wildcats
Full-Game Total Pick
Davidson doesn’t force a lot of turnovers on defense, so the Billikens should have a few extra possessions on the offensive end in this game. The over is 6-2-1 in Saint Louis’ last nine games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600 and 7-3-1 in the Billikens’ last 11 games overall. Meanwhile, Davidson has gone over the projected total in 35 of the last 52 Saturday games, so take this A10 Tournament battle to go over the projected total at the Barclays Center on Saturday.