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NCAA Tournament First Four: St. Bonaventure vs UCLA game preview, how to watch

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How do the Bonnies and Bruins match up?

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Who: 11 St. Bonaventure vs. 11 UCLA
Where: UD Arena - Dayton, Ohio
How to Watch: 9:10 ET, TV: TruTV, Live Stream: NCAA.com
Odds: UCLA -3, Kenpom 80-78 UCLA


The NCAA Tournament tips off tonight with the First Four, and the nightcap features two of the last four teams in the field. St. Bonaventure and UCLA were the first two teams to miss the cut-off for the play-in games, and as a result got sent to Dayton. The winner of this game will earn the 11 seed in the East region, and will be matched up with 6 seed Florida.

Four Factors

Four Factors

- EFG % Turnover % OREB % FT Rate
- EFG % Turnover % OREB % FT Rate
St. Bonaventure Offense (#59) 112.3 (#119) 16.3 (#41) 30.1 (#130) 39.9 (#37)
UCLA Defense (#110) 49.4 (#93) 14.7 (#340) 27.2 (#104) 29.5 (#80)
UCLA Offense (#23) 53.8 (#69) 16.2 (#38) 28.6 (#182) 35.9 (#107)
St. Bonaventure Defense (#94) 48.9 (#74) 20.4 (#58) 29.6 (#220) 39.3 (#293)

Three Keys

Who wins the Jaylen Adams/Aaron Holiday matchup?

Jaylen Adams and Aaron Holiday are two of the best guards in the country, and are the key catalysts for their respective offenses. Adams is a do-it-all point guard for the Bonnies, and has averages of 19.8 points, 5.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. Holiday, for comparison, has averages of 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. As you can see, they’re damn near identical, and will be heavily relied upon to lead their teams. Both teams have more than capable supporting casts, but these two guards are the engines. This will be the number one matchup to watch tonight.

Which team wins the three-point battle?

Both teams are among the best in the country at shooting the three. UCLA comes in at a 38.3 percent clip, while the Bonnies connect on 39.8 percent of their tries. UCLA features three rotation players that hit at least 40 percent from distance, but St. Bonaventure is among the best teams in the country at defending the arc. The Bonnies allow their opponents to hit just 32.1 percent from downtown, which is good for 23rd in the country according to Kenpom. If the Bonnies can stop the Bruins perimeter barrage, they’ll be in decent shape.

Can the Bonnies handle UCLA’s size?

According to Kenpom, UCLA is No. 5 in the country in average height. St. Bonaventure comes in No. 222, trailing the Bruins by over two full inches. The Bruins aren’t dominant on the glass, but St. Bonaventure can struggle to keep teams off of the offensive glass at times. The Bonnies can also be foul prone, and UCLA could use its size to get their frontcourt into foul trouble. A few extra possessions here and there could ultimately be the deciding factor in what should be a close game.

Prediction

The play-in games are almost always competitive, and this one should’t be any different. There’s NBA-caliber talent on both sides, and it could turn into an offensive shootout if the two offenses get flowing. Being a mid-major focused blog, of course I like the Bonnies in a high-scoring affair. Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley score just enough to give the Bonnies a win.