Tuesday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Davidson Wildcats vs. St. Bonaventure Bonnies Betting Preview
Photo by Porter Binks. Pictured: Jaren Holmes (St. Bonaventure)
- Davidson and St. Bonaventure square off in a critical duel in the Atlantic 10.
- The Wildcats were picked in the middle of the pack in the A-10 preseason poll while the Bonnies were projected to win the league after returning all five starters.
- Shane McNichol breaks down this affair and dives into where the value lies.
Davidson vs. St. Bonaventure Odds
-110o / -110u
|St. Bonaventure Odds
-110o / -110u
A few months ago, if you were handicapping this game and saw that one of these two teams was leading the Atlantic 10 and projected as safely in the NCAA Tournament, while the other was having a good but not spectacular start, any reasonable fan would've guessed the squads were in the opposite positions than they've settled into in reality.
St. Bonaventure won the Atlantic 10 last season, earning a nine seed in the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Mark Schmidt stayed in Olean, despite overtures from Boston College, his alma mater.
He was joined by his entire starting five from 2020-21, giving the Bonnies top-30 ranks in the country in experience and minutes continuity. Expectations were high — with the Bonnies voted atop the A-10 preseason poll — but things haven't come together.
Davidson was voted much further down in that poll, placing sixth in the preseason.
The Wildcats' best player, Kellan Grady, had transferred to Kentucky, leaving behind a hole in production. That hole has been filled by Michigan State transfer Foster Loyer, an also ran in the Big Ten playing like a star at this level.
If St. Bonaventure wants to re-capture some of the magic of last season, a win over Davidson could shock the Bonnies back to life.
The way the Wildcats are playing, that is much easier said than done.
In the same way former Davidson star Steph Curry pulls defenders towards him to the perimeter, his alma mater now pulls shooters to campus.
This year's Davidson team is one of the best pure shooting teams in the nation, posting better numbers than even Curry's old college teams. In his 33rd season as the head coach at Davidson, Bob McKillop has built something special offensively.
The Wildcats have four players who have taken more than two shots from outside the arc per game and made better than 39% of those attempts.
We aren't talking about specialists, either. Those four players comprise the majority of the Davidson starting lineup, including center Luka Brajkovic.
Closing out on all of those shooters is a tall task. Any lapse leads to a quality look from 3-point range.
The real game-changer has been the arrival of Loyer from Michigan State. As a Spartan, he was a backup point guard who took the shots that fell his way. At Davidson, he's running the show. He's already taken more shots in 19 games as a Wildcat as he did in 86 games for Michigan State.
Despite the added expectations, he's producing efficiently, creating for others and drawing fouls.
Loyer is operating McKillop's well-crafted motion offense, which dates back throughout his decades at Davidson. Every time down the court, the Wildcats are going to patiently work for the best look at the rim possible.
McKillop prefers a layup, but with this group, currently shooting 41% collectively on 3s, the best look often comes from deep.
Last season, Schmidt trusted his starting five more than almost any other head coach in the country.
Those five players were the only Bonnies to play more than 300 minutes or score more than 100 points on the season. All five averaged more than 33 minutes per game, and the Bonnies ranked in the bottom 15 nationally in percentage of minutes played by bench players.
All five starters returned this season, sparking buzz after the Bonnies were a tournament team last year.
The next three players on Schmidt's bench, the only bench players he used even sparingly last season, all departed. As a result, Schmidt has been even more dependent on his starters, ranking dead last nationally in percentage of minutes played by bench players.
Multiple players who transferred to St. Bonaventure from ACC programs (Abdoul Coulibaly from Pitt and Quadry Adams from Wake Forest) are coming off of the bench for Schmidt, only to play limited minutes and offer very small contributions.
This phenomenon has been a major factor in the Bonnies' disappointing season.
In November, this team was ranked 16th in the AP Poll and looked good in its four wins over top-65 competition. At other times, however, the Bonnies have looked flat and sloppy, especially in first halves.
This has been particularly true on the defensive end, where the Bonnies are allowing opponents to score the fifth-highest percentage of points from outside the arc this season.
That isn't a fluky case of hot shooting either. The Bonnies' opponents are making just 35.2% from 3-point range, 261st highest in DI. The Bonnies' defense has been anemic, allowing opponents to hoist from all over.
I can't say if the Bonnies' lack of depth has worn down the five players that Schmidt has ridden for the last 18 months, but it's clearly an issue. This team is a pitcher that only has a fastball. If the heater isn't working, there is no Plan B.
When the Bonnies go cold or fall behind, there are only so many adjustments that can be made when the lineup is set in stone.
Davidson vs. St. Bonaventure Betting Pick
Boiling down those two team breakdowns into this game feels like there's an obvious outcome.
St. Bonaventure allows opponents to launch a ton of 3s. Davidson works to find open 3s and then buries them at a high rate. Even with St. Bonaventure planting elite shot blocker Osun Osunniyi in the paint, Loyer & Co. should have their way offensively on the perimeter.
If St. Bonaventure is going to win this game, it'll need to light up the scoreboard to do so. That's certainly possible against a Davidson defense that has been very iffy this season.
I think I like Davidson getting a few points on the road, but I know I like the over here. No matter which team wins, the path to victory comes via a shootout.