2018 March Madness Betting Preview: St. Bonaventure vs. UCLA

2018 March Madness Preview: St. Bonaventure vs. UCLA

Written by on March 12, 2018

St. Bonaventure is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012 after earning its first at-large bid since 2000. The Bonnies face UCLA on Tuesday night in the First Four. The winner will be the No. 11 seed in the East Region and will face No. 6 Florida (20-12) on Thursday in Dallas. UCLA is -3.5 in the March Madness betting odds for Tuesday night.

2018 March Madness Betting Preview: St. Bonaventure vs. UCLA

When: Tuesday, 9:10 PM ETWhere: University of Dayton ArenaTV: truTVStream: March Madness LiveRadio: 95.7 FM (St. Bonaventure) / (UCLA)Opening March Madness Betting Lines: UCLA -3.5

Latest March Madness Betting Trends

  • Bruins are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
  • Bruins are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
  • UCLA is 4-9 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games.
  • Bonnies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a double-digit loss at home.
  • Bonnies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
  • St. Bonaventure is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.

Why Bet on St. Bonaventure?

Of the 28 teams to appear in the play-in games since the opening round was expanded to include four games in 2011, only three have advanced past the tournament’s first week. La Salle (in 2013) and Tennessee (in 2014) advanced to a regional semifinal and Virginia Commonwealth (in 2011) made a memorable run to the Final FourSt. Bonaventure, which boasts a record of 25-7, has now made the NCAA Tournament seven times in program history and twice under current head coach Mark Schmidt. The Bonnies fell in the second round to Florida State in 2012, their last tournament outing.Once the Bonnies got healthy during the conference season, they lived up to the potential. Some early losses suffered when Jaylen Adams was sidelined with an ankle injury were nearly too much to overcome, but in the end their résumé was good enough.  The Bonnies ended the regular season on an 11-game winning streak, with their roll coming to an end after 13 games when they fell to Davidson in the A-10 Tournament semifinals Saturday.Having one of the best scoring guard pairings in the country gives the Bonnies a chance every time out, regardless of the opponent. Adams and Matt Mobley can burn teams from deep, and can put points on the board in a hurry. St. Bonaventure wins games at the 3-point line on both ends of the floor, ranking 21st nationally in 3-point shooting and ninth nationally in 3-point defense. If you want to beat the Bonnies, winning the 3-point line battle is a good start. The Bonnies are thin down low and struggle to defend more skilled forwards without getting into serious foul trouble.Here are the Bonnies’ likely starters: G Jaylen Adams, 6-2, Sr. (19.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.4 apg); G Matt Mobley, 6-3, Sr. (18.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 apg); C Amadi Ikbeze, 6-10, So. (4.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg); G Idris Taqqee, 6-4, Sr. (5.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg); F Courtney Stockard, 6-5, Jr. (12.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg).St. Bonaventure is 0-2 all-time against UCLA, last facing the Bruins during UCLA’s run to a 10th national championship in 1975. The Bonnies are 5-5 all-time against Pac-12 opponents.

Why Bet on UCLA?

UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 49th time in school history and will be making its 11th appearance in the national tournament in the last 14 seasons. The Bruins compiled a 21-11 record and an 11-7 mark in Pac-12 play (tied, third place). The Bruins are entering this year’s NCAA Tournament having won eight of their last 12 games. Most recently, UCLA upended Stanford, 88-77, last Thursday before losing in overtime to top-seed Arizona, 78-67, in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.Very good offensive team, averaging 82.4 points a game, and they have a big-time playmaker in Aaron Holiday. Holiday is a third-team All-American and one of the best scorers in the country. He led the Pac-12 with 20.3 points per game and has been especially hot lately. He scored 34 points in two of his last three games. The 6-1 junior is also a strong distributor, ranking second in the conference with 5.8 assists per game. Senior Thomas Welsh ranks second in the Pac-12 in rebounds (10.7 rpg). Welsh secured second-team All-Pac-12 honors and is one of five finalists for the 2018 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.Is UCLA a safe bet in this First Four matchup?The Bruins are a 41.4 percent 3-point shooting team in wins and just 28 percent from beyond the arc in losses. The question is if they can contain other teams in crunch time; they allow 76.3 ppg. UCLA has a history of success in the NCAA tournament, too: Besides all those national titles won under legendary coach John Wooden, the Bruins have been to the Sweet 16 three of the last four years.In nearly every phase of the game, the Bruins lack consistency. They have had their ups and downs with effort and focus, attention to detail on defense, and ball movement on offense. That is probably why they were able to beat teams like Arizona and Kentucky but also lose to Colorado twice and Oregon State.Here are UCLA’s likely starters: G Aaron Holiday, 6-1, Jr. (20.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.8 apg, 43.3 3FG%, 82.6 FT%); G Kris Wilkes, 6-8, Fr. (13.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg); C Thomas Welsh, 7-0, Sr. (13.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 40.9 3FG%, 82.8 FT%); F Gyorgy Goloman, 6-11, Sr. (7.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 54.5 FG%, 42.9 3FG%); G Prince Ali, 6-3, So. (9.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg).

Expert March Madness Betting Prediction

Love the Bonnies’ backcourt, but they likely will have no answers for Welsh.
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