The NBA is officially on hiatus now, which means that college basketball will be the spotlight betting market for just about everybody. A limited Friday night card is a bit of a downer, but things are looking up for us again with a couple of recent winners, so let’s keep the good vibes going on into the weekend.
We’ll do that today on BangTheBook Radio talking a lot about Saturday’s card with Greg Peterson. We’ve also talked about some other hoops games throughout the week, so keep it locked in on our daily podcast. Also, be sure to check out the situational betting spots article each week for a lot of interesting games. If you had, you’d have correctly isolated a bad spot for Winthrop at Gardner-Webb, Texas State over Little Rock, Oregon over Colorado, AND Montana over Weber State.
For Friday, our focus is on the A-10 tilt between Davidson and St. Bonaventure. It is not a good night of games to say the least, as the choices were this one, Akron at Central Michigan, or Yale at Princeton. The only game in the situational article was UIC at Wright State. It is a slooooooow night on the hardwood for sure.
St. Bonaventure is favored by four points with a total of 132.5 over at BetOnline Sportsbook. These are two really efficient offensive teams, but Davidson ranks 323nd in adjusted tempo and Bonaventure is 321st, so there aren’t going to be a ton of possessions in this game. That would require a very high output from both teams to post a high score.
The Bonnies are on quite an upswing. They’ve ripped off five in a row to improve to 17-8 overall and 9-3 in conference action. Their losses are at VCU, at Dayton, and at home to Rhode Island. A very impressive sweep of road games at Duquesne and Saint Joseph’s has Mark Schmidt’s team flying high. Schmidt has a young team that is really coming together nicely and could be very dangerous in the CBI or the CIT, unless something crazy happens in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.
This really is a young bunch. In fact, the only senior on the roster is Amadi Ikpeze. Matt Johnson is the only junior. Otherwise, the Bonnies are led by sophomores and freshmen. Kyle Lofton and Dominick Welch play the most minutes. Lofton is the facilitator of the offense with the highest assist rate, but these young kids seem to play well together, as nobody has an outlandish usage rate.
It’s been working. The Bonnies are 76th per Bart Torvik in adjusted offensive efficiency. They take very good care of the basketball and actually have the third-best TO% in A-10 play over their 12 games. They’re also shooting 35.1% from three in conference action.
As usual, the calling card for Bob McKillop’s team is offense. If Davidson was playing some better defense, the Wildcats might be better than a .500 team. The Wildcats are in the top 40 in adjusted offensive efficiency and Effective Field Goal Percentage. They are 43rd in 3P% and 68th in 2P%, to go along with a 76.9% rate at the free throw line.
Unfortunately, the attaboys stop there. Davidson isn’t terrible on defense, but average or lower in most categories. That won’t cut it in a conference that is pretty good like the A-10. To be fair, Davidson does have a lot of blowout victories. Each loss has been to a team that is better than the Wildcats. So, they play well against the dregs, but their defensive shortcomings are at the forefront of their games against better competition.
I would say that Bonaventure falls into that “better” category. The Bonnies have actually taken 52 three-pointers over the last two games, which is sort of interesting. They had a three-game stretch in December when they took 25, 25, and 26, but this is not a team that bombs away from deep too often. Perhaps it just made sense against the Dukes and the Hawks or maybe they’re looking to capitalize on their high rate of success in conference play.
That could be in the cards tonight, as Davidson grades better defensively from two-point land than from beyond the arc. Davidson takes a ton of threes themselves, as their 3P Rate ranks 27th in the nation. And they shoot them at a high level. Perhaps Bonaventure will feel the need to fire away themselves to keep pace. Teams have taken a lot of threes against the Bonnies. In fact, their 3P Rate against is inside the top 15 nationally. That could make for something of a high-variance game.
The lean here is actually on the St. Bonaventure side. Some of the rankings websites still seem to be holding Davidson in too high of esteem because this is a team that was supposed to be pretty good this season based on the early thoughts. They look like a .500 type of team right now, whereas Bonaventure looks like a team that has a good chance at postseason basketball of some kind.
Pick: St. Bonaventure -4