March 13, 2018
There is one pick tonight.
Take St. Bonaventure +3 spread against UCLA for 3% of the bankroll.
Motivation and perception will be key factors in this First 4 matchup as the St. Bonaventure Bonnies take on the UCLA Bruins. UCLA is a storied program and can't be happy with their performance this season, let alone playing in the First 4 matchup. They also come into this matchup struggling, having lost three of their last 5 games. The Bruins are the 'bigger' named program in this matchup and are also the favorites, which means the perception is that they are the better overall team in the eyes of the betting public, however, we are not sure that is the case. The Bruins may have the more talented players, but we don't believe they are the better 'team' and should not sleep on the Bonnies.
For St. Bonaventure, the 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 points per game. Production in the paint will be needed to open up the perimeter against UCLA and big men Courtney Stockard (12.9 points, 6.4 rebounds per game) and fellow junior forward LaDarien Griffin (8.7points per game, team-best 6.5 boards) can certainly provide that.
St. Bonaventure is an extremely underrated team and, in many ways, mirrors the style of play that UCLA employs. This is also a team that prior to their loss to eventual conference champion Davidson in the A10 semi-finals, had won 10 straight games with wins over the likes of Rhode Island, Davidson, and Maryland. They also held their own against a much-improved TCU team on a neutral court earlier this season. St. Bonaventure is not a team that is going to be intimidated playing against a high-caliber opponent in a pressure situation, in fact, we expect them to relish the opportunity.
We expect the Bonnies to take the fight directly to UCLA and come out of the gate as the more motivated team. Once UCLA gets punched in the mouth, we expect St Bonaventure to have their defense playing on their heels in the early portion of the contest. Once UCLA is able to collect their bearings, we believe it may be too late for them to take control of the contest. The Bonnies are the more hungry and motivated team and we expect them to pull off the upset and punch their ticket to the round of 64.
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