Florida vs. St. Bonaventure - 3/15/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Florida vs. St. Bonaventure - 3/15/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction Photo by USA TODAY Sports

St. Bonaventure Bonnies (26-7) at Florida Gators (20-12)

College Basketball: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 10:00 pm (American Airlines Center)

The Line: Florida Gators -5.5-- Over/Under: 143 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds

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The St. Bonaventure and Florida Gators will square off at the American Airlines Center this Thursday night in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 11-seed St. Bonaventure Bonnies improved to 26-7 (14-4 A-10) on the season after defeating the UCLA Bruins, 65-58, in a first-four matchup of the NCAA Tournament this past Tuesday night. St. Bonaventure led by a 28-23 margin at halftime and held on late after a 12-0 Bonnies run gave St. Bonaventure a 58-51 lead with 4:12 left in regulation. St. Bonaventure struggled a bit offensively and didn’t get great games from their star players, however, forced UCLA into a ton of turnovers in the victory. St. Bonaventure shot just 38.3% from the field and 21.1% (4-19) from beyond the arc, however, did win the turnover battle by a 20-6 margin. Leading the way for the Bonnies was Courtney Stockard who had 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals. On the season, St. Bonaventure is averaging 77.9 ppg on 45.6% shooting from the field. The Bonnies are averaging 7.8 three-pointers per game on 39.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, St. Bonaventure has been led by Jaylen Adams (19.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.5 spg), Matt Mobley (18.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.2 spg), Courtney Stockard (12.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.3 spg), and LaDarien Griffin (8.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 bpg). Defensively, St. Bonaventure is allowing their opponents to average 71.0 ppg on 42.1% shooting from the field. The Bonnies have a rebound margin of 0.9 and a turnover margin of 2.9.  

The Florida Gators (20-12; 11-7 SEC) didn’t show up for the SEC Tournament however, the Gators did have some quality wins down the stretch at home against Auburn and Kentucky and secured a 6-seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. Florida finished as the 3-seed in the SEC however, was eliminated from the SEC Tournament in the quarterfinals after being defeated by the Arkansas Razorbacks, 80-72, this past Friday. Florida struggled on the defensive end and couldn’t fight back after a 12-0 Razorbacks run gave Arkansas a 62-48 lead with 5:58 left in regulation. Florida allowed Arkansas to shoot 46.7% from the field and was outrebounded by the Razorbacks by a 43-28 margin in the loss. Leading the way for the Gators was Keith Stone who had 22 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and a steal in 24 minutes from off the bench. On the season, Florida is averaging 76.1 ppg on 43.4% shooting from the field. The Gators are averaging 9.1 three-pointers per game on 37.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Florida has been led by Jalen Hudson (15.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.0 apg), Egor Koulechov (13.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.3 apg), KeVaughn Allen (11.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.0 spg), and Chris Chiozza (11.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.1 apg, 1.8 spg). Defensively, Florida is holding their opponents to an average of 69.4 ppg on 42.9% shooting from the field. The Gators have a rebound margin of -2.2 and a turnover margin of 4.1.

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The Bonnies are 4-1 ATS in thier last 5 Thursday games and 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. SEC opponents. The Gators are 6-0 ATS in thier last 6 Thursday games however, just 2-5 ATS in thier last 7 non-conference games. 

St. Bonaventure has a ton of experience and although they don’ t have a bunch of size, they have a ton of firepower on the offensive end led by Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley and have won 14 of their last 15 games. Florida has had an up and down season as at the beginning of the season, they looked like a top-5 team in the country, however, the Gators struggled a bit in SEC play and at time can struggle on the offensive end as they rank 102nd in scoring offense, 245th in FG5, and 222nd in assist per game. St. Bonaventure will need to have better games against the Gators to have a chance, however, as Florida won’t have a huge size advantage and for the fact that the Bonnies defense looked outstanding against UCLA, I'm taking St. Bonaventure and the points in this one.

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Brett’s Pick St. Bonaventure Bonnies +5.5

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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