St. Bonaventure vs. Florida - NCAA First Round - 3/15/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
St. Bonaventure Bonnies (25-7) at Florida Gators (20-12)
College Basketball: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 9:57 pm (American Airlines Center)
The Line: Florida Gators -5.5 -- Over/Under: 143 See the Latest Odds
We have some first round action out of the East region as the #11 seed St. Bonaventure Bonnies take on the #6 seed Florida Gators in a college basketball matchup on Thursday night.
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies come into this one fresh off of a 65-58 victory over UCLA in one of the First Four matchups on Tuesday night. Courtney Stockard led the Bonnies with 26 points on 9 of 20 shooting with a team-high 4 steals while Matt Mobley added 14 points and 7 rebounds and LaDarien Griffin chipped in 10 points with 3 steals of his own to round out the trio of double digit scorers for St. Bonaventure in the win. Idris Taqqee led the Bonnies with a team-high 11 rebounds, while Jaylen Adams shot just 2 of 16 for 8 points with 3 steals. Despite the off night offensively, Adams still leads St. Bonaventure with an average of 19.4 points and 5.3 assists per game while Griffin leads the Bonnies on the glass with 6.4 rebounds per game this season. As a team, St. Bonaventure is scoring 77.5 points per game on 45.4% shooting from the field, 39.3% from behind the arc and 75.3% from the foul line this season.
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The Florida Gators come into the tournament as the #6 seed in the East region after finishing the regular season with a 20-12 overall record, including an 11-7 mark in conference play which was good enough to acquire the #3 seed in the SEC tournament and a double bye. However, like a lot of higher seeds in the SEC tournament, the Gators stay was short-lived as Florida was knocked out by Arkansas in the quarterfinals by a final score of 80-72. The Gators didn’t give themselves an easy non-conference schedule, losing to fellow NCAA tournament teams like Clemson, Loyola-Chicago, Duke and Florida State. The Gators did pick up a solid win over Cincinnati, and put up 108 points or more in 4 of their first 5 wins of the season, including victories over Gonzaga and Stanford. Jalen Hudson leads the Gators in scoring with 15.3 points per game while Egor Koulechov leads Florida in rebounding with 6.5 boards per game and Chris Chiozza leads the Gators in assists with 6.1 assists per game this season. As a team, Florida is scoring 76.1 points per game on 43.4% shooting from the field, 37.5% from behind the arc and 71.9% from the foul line this season.
St. Bonaventure is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record while the under is 6-1 in their last 7 non-conference games. Florida is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a loss while the under is 8-3 in their last 11 games overall.
I had said in covering the first four game between the Bonnies and UCLA, that I thought whoever won that game would take down Florida here, and although I sided with UCLA and was wrong, I still feel that way for St. Bonaventure here. I think the Bonnies have better guard play the Florida and like many others, I believe that guard play is more of a difference maker in the tournament than in the regular season. I personally think the Bonnies advance here, but I’ll take the points to be safe and sprinkle a little something on the money line as well.