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St. Bonaventure vs. Colorado Odds & Picks: Bet the Buffaloes in NIT

St. Bonaventure vs. Colorado Odds & Picks: Bet the Buffaloes in NIT article feature image

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Luke O’Brien (Colorado)

  • St. Bonaventure takes on Colorado in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.
  • The Buffaloes enter as short favorites, and our staff sees betting value on them.
  • Check out our full breakdown and pick below.

St. Bonaventure vs. Colorado Odds

Tuesday, March 15
11 p.m. ET
St. Bonaventure Odds
-110o / -110u
Colorado Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

By Doug Ziefel

St. Bonaventure and Colorado had very similar paths leading into this matchup. Both got hot down the stretch, but then fell short in their respective conference tournaments.

However, although each team may be disappointed, the break from their respective conference tournaments to the start of the NIT can provide a nice reset for teams.

That holds especially true for St. Bonaventure and its five-man rotation.

Despite the rest, Colorado presents a unique challenge for the Bonnies. The Buffaloes come off an excellent Pac-12 campaign in which they took down Oregon twice and even defeated mighty Arizona.

Now, that’s no knock on the Bonnies, who we saw thrive in their early non-conference schedule prior to going 12-5 in A-10 play. They tallied wins over Boise State, Clemson and Marquette.

What remains to be seen is whether or not they can regain their early form to spark a run through this tournament.

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St. Bonaventure Bonnies

By Alex Hinton

St. Bonaventure fell short of its lofty expectations for the year after it swept the A-10 regular season and conference tournament championships a season ago. You can partially trace its step back this season to a slide on the defensive end.

Last season, the Bonnies were 20th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 28th in defensive rating. This season, they rank 96th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 147th in defensive rating.

St. Bonaventure does rank ninth in block rate and has one of the nation’s top shot blockers in center Osun Osunniyi, though. The senior is averaging 11.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and he ranks ninth nationally with 2.9 blocks per game.

Osunniyi was an All-Atlantic 10 Second Team selection and is one of five senior starters for the Bonnies.

Guard Jalen Adaway led the team in scoring at 16 points per game and added 6.4 rebounds. He was an All-Atlantic 10 First-Team selection this season.

Guard Jaren Holmes averages 13.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, while guard Kyle Lofton averages 12.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. Lofton made the All-Atlantic 10 Third Team.

Guard Dominick Welch averages 12 points and 5.8 rebounds a night.

While all five starters average in double digits, St. Bonaventure does not get much of anything from its bench.

St. Bonaventure is 81st in adjusted offensive efficiency and 173th in effective field goal percentage.

The 3-ball has been an issue for the Bonnies on both ends of the floor. St. Bonaventure ranks 270th in 3-point percentage offensively and 225th in 3-point percentage defensively.

Against Colorado, it will be at a disadvantage in that area on both ends.

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Colorado Buffaloes

By Charlie DiSturco

Colorado’s height came at the end of the season with an upset win over Arizona on its home floor. But the Buffs never strung together a strong enough resume to compete for an at-large bid with a weak non-conference schedule stained by a loss to Southern Illinois.

This is an offense that loves to attack the rim and use its physicality to draw fouls. The Buffaloes are by no means an efficient squad when it comes to finishing — ranking 248th in 2-point offense — but they have a high free-throw rate and draw in double teams, which lead to open 3 that Colorado often finishes.

The Buffaloes shoot 37% from the perimeter as a squad. They’re best in catch-and-shoot scenarios and big men Evan Battey and Jabari Walker both have the ability to step out and knock down the long ball. They only attempt 3s on a third of all attempts, but they’re efficient when given the opportunity.

Walker is the star of this offense. The sophomore leads the team in scoring (14.9 points) and ranks first in Pac-12 play in defensive rebounding rate. He draws nearly 5.5 fouls per game and takes 27% of the shots when on the floor. The offense often runs through the 6-foot-9 center.

Battey is the perfect complement to Walker. The veteran of the team, Battey shoots 50% on 3s and is incredibly efficient from the field (57.8 eFG%).

When the duo can get going, Colorado is a hard team to stop.

Defensively, Colorado uses its size to its advantage. Tad Boyle’s starting rotation includes three players at 6-foot-8 or taller, which leads to opponents opting to settle for 3s and mid-range jumpers rather than attacking the rim.

Its only real weakness on the defensive end is turnover rate. Colorado wants opponents to settle into a half-court offense and doesn’t often overstep.

The Buffs stay strong and usually make it hard to get many open looks.

St. Bonaventure vs. Colorado Betting Pick

By Doug Ziefel

The Buffaloes have quite a few edges in this matchup that are glaring issues for the Bonnies.

First, Colorado has a significant size advantage on the inside, which will negate Osunniyi on the inside. That will force the Bonnies to settle for more outside shots, which is not their bread and butter as they rank 270th in 3-point percentage.

However, on the other end of the court, the 3-ball could be a weapon for the Buffaloes. They don’t shoot a lot of 3s, but they go down at a solid clip when they do. In fact, Colorado 3-balls go down at the 30th-highest rate in the country.

In addition, St. Bonaventure has been burned from behind the arc, as it ranks 225th in 3-point percentage allowed and gave up the sixth-highest share of points from deep this season.

In the end, the Buffaloes are the better team on both ends, and if they can get the 3s to fall, they should have no issue covering this number.

Pick: Colorado -4 (Play to -5)

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