St. Bonaventure Bonnies
The #11 seed St. Bonaventure Bonnies will play a “First Four Game” in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday night against UCLA. According to the current college basketball betting odds at 5Dimes, UCLA is a 3.5-point favorite in that contest. The winner will advance to Thursday’s NCAA Tournament East Region game against #6 seed Florida.
Quality senior guards are a huge asset come NCAA Tournament time. St. Bonaventure possesses a dynamic senior backcourt in Jaylen Adams (19.8 PPG) and Matt Mobley (18.5 PPG). Adams missed the Bonnies first 6 games due to injury. During his absence, St. Bonaventure suffered 2 of their 7 losses this season. Moreover, they did mange to knock off a decent power conference team in Maryland without Adams’ services.
One of the unsung heroes for St. Bonaventure down the stretch has been 6’5 junior forward Courtney Stockard (12.9 PPG/6.3 RPG). However, Stockard injured his hamstring during the Bonnies Atlantic 10 Conference Quarterfinal win over Richmond. Subsequently, Stockard missed his team’s semifinal loss against Davidson. Stockard was a monster throughout his last 4 games played, averaging 23.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest.
St. Bonaventure enters the NCAA Tournament with a stellar 25-7 record. However, when Adams, Mobley, and Stockard were all healthy enough to play, the Bonnies went 22-4. That also includes 4-2 against teams in the 2018 “Big Dance” when their top 3 scorers are available. If Stockard is good enough to go, don’t sleep on St. Bonaventure for not only Tuesday’s game, but also if they face the Florida Gators two days later in Dallas.
I’m going to be strongly considering using St. Bonaventure for one of my early round March Madness picks.
Buffalo (26-8) is the 2018 MAC Tournament champion and a NCAA Tournament South Region’s #13 seed The Bulls will be making their 3rd NCAA Tournament appearance in in 4 years. They accounted themselves very well during NCAA Tournament losses by 6 to West Virginia in 2015, and in the following year when they fell by 7 to Miami-Florida.
Buffalo is an explosive offensive team which averages 84.8 points scored per game, and that ranks 7th best in the country. The Bulls have 4 players averaging 14.6 points or more per game. Furthermore, this is a deep Bulls team which has 9 players averaging double-digit minutes played per game.
Buffalo will have a tough 2nd round matchup against perennial PAC-12 powerhouse and 15th ranked Arizona Wildcats (27-7). The game will take place in Boise, Idaho on Thursday night. Nevertheless, this Bulls team gave #8 Cincinnati all they can handle during a 6-point loss in November. Buffalo also led Syracuse with less than 5 minutes to play before falling by 7 in a December game at the Carrier Dome. On both occasions, they easily covered as a double-digit underdog.
The present (3/11) NCAA Tournament odds at Bookmaker is showing Buffalo as a 9.0-point underdog. I would seriously contemplate taking Buffalo plus the points for one of your NCAA Tournament picks.
Ross Benjamin is a top sports analyst and one of the sports industry's most respected handicappers. Follow him on Twitter: @RossBenjamin1 or visit his website at RBWins.com