St. Bonaventure vs. Virginia NIT Odds & Predictions: Bonnies to Win on Road? (Tuesday, March 22)
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Mark Schmidt (St. Bonaventure)
- St. Bonaventure travels to Virginia for an NIT quarterfinal duel.
- The Bonnies have five veterans in their starting lineup, and they've played much better toward the end of the regular season.
- Kyle Remillard previews the game and offers up his best bet.
St. Bonaventure vs. Virginia Odds
|St. Bonaventure Odds|
-114o / -105u
-114o / -105u
The NIT has reached its quarterfinal round, which is set to begin on Tuesday.
St. Bonaventure defeated two Power-Five programs (Colorado and Oklahoma) during its path to reach the quarterfinals. The Bonnies survived with a two-point victory on Sunday over Oklahoma, which was the highest-rated team in the tournament, according to KenPom.
Meanwhile, Virginia has snuck out two one-possession victories in its first two games of the tournament.
First, the Cavaliers narrowly edged out Mississippi State, 60-57. They followed that up by defeating North Texas in a defensive battle that went to overtime. Virginia went scoreless during the final 5:42 of that matchup, but survived in overtime.
Virginia has been prone to scoring droughts this season, and one in this matchup would certainly spell trouble.
The Bonnies are reliant on the production they get from their starting unit. St. Bonaventure’s starting five has contributed to 93% of the team’s total points this season. That’s because the program ranks dead last in the country in bench minutes.
All five of the Bonnies’ starters are seniors, and they have created great cohesion playing together the past few years.
Jalen Adaway leads the team in scoring, putting up 16 points per game while shooting 39% from deep.
Kyle Lofton runs the show at point guard and is complimented by fellow guard Jaren Holmes. The duo has contributed to 65% of the team’s 424 assists this season.
6-foot-11 center Osun Osunniyi is the glue to this program, as he’s putting up 11 points and eight rebounds per game. Osunniyi is hitting 61% of his shot attempts this season and has swatted 86 shots on the season.
The Bonnies are strong at defending the interior thanks to Osunniyi’s rim protection. However, they allow 3-point shots to go up at the 340th-highest rate in the country. That may work in their favor in this matchup, as Virginia ranks 238th in 3-point percentage.
If you’ve seen Virginia play at all this season, you know that the Cavaliers play at a snail’s pace. Virginia ranks 357th in the nation in tempo and as a result, it has produced some of the lowest-scoring games of the season.
Tony Bennett’s offense averages 63 points per game (333rd) and allows just 60 points per game (sixth).
The offense is reliant on scoring inside the paint, as it finds 59% of its total points this season from the interior. The group doesn’t take many outside shots, as the Cavs are connecting on just 33% of their 3s (238th nationally).
Given that Osunniyi will be lurking in the paint, scoring inside won’t be easy against St. Bonaventure.
That will require Kihei Clark and Armaan Franklin to hit some outside shots in this matchup. The duo leads the team in 3-point field goal attempts and has connected on a combined 32% this season.
The offense has great ball movement in its half-court sets until it finds an efficient shot. Virginia has assisted on 60% of its made field goals this season, which is the 17th-highest rate in the country.
The Cavaliers have boasted decent defensive metrics this season. They have allowed opponents to hit 34% from deep (195th) and 48% on 2-point attempts (109th).
St. Bonaventure vs. Virginia Betting Pick
These two teams both rarely utilize their bench and play at a snail’s pace. It’s likely that this game will come down to the final five minutes of play. It will also likely come down to which program can make more plays down the stretch.
Both teams have already had two matchups in the tournament that came down to the wire.
Virginia’s offense is prone to scoring droughts, though. That was highlighted in its last matchup when it didn’t score in the final six minutes of regulation against North Texas. Finding points inside the perimeter will be difficult against one of the top rim protectors in the Atlantic 10 in Osunniyi.
The Cavaliers will need to hit some outside shots to stay relevant in this matchup, something they’ve struggled with all season.
St. Bonaventure’s offense has five legitimate scoring options that have played together for most of their careers. I am backing the Bonnies — who have more reliable offensive weapons — to make it to Madison Square Garden for the NIT final four.