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Two of New York's most historic college basketball programs square off Saturday afternoon as the St. Bonaventure Bonnies host the Hofstra Pride. St. Bonaventure has won four of its last five dating back to an upset win over Rutgers on Nov. 16. The one loss in that span was a bad one: the Bonnies lost at Canisius 61-57 despite being five point favorites. St. Bonaventure relies heavily on sophomore guard Kyle Lofton, who was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team last season. The group plays at a very slow tempo ranked 336th nationally according to KenPom.
Hofstra beat Canisius 64-57 on Monday night in the Boca Raton Beach Classic. That marked Hofstra's fifth win in six tries including a major upset of UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. The Pride are one of the highest scoring teams in college basketball with 82 ppg. Senior guard Eli Pemberton leads the team with a 16.9 scoring average. KenPom ranks Hofstra's offensive efficiency as No. 55 in the country.
Hofstra goes for third straight winThe Hofstra Pride are some of college basketball's most experienced travelers having covered over 5,000 miles coast to coast in the last few weeks. A trip upstate to place St. Bonaventure will likely feel like a breeze in comparison. Hofstra is coming off a successful trip to Florida that included a rout of Holy Cross and a close win over Canisius. Senior guards Eli Pemberton and Desure Buie were both named to the all-tournament teams. Buie put together the game of his life last month at UCLA, scoring 29 points and dishing out seven assists.
Pemberton and Buie combine to average 33.2 ppg. Three other players average double figures in scoring including junior guard Jalen Ray. The Hampton, VA native went down with an injury against Canisius. It's unclear whether he will be available to play on Saturday. Senior Tareq Coburn averages another 12.7 ppg. Coburn also leads the team in rebounds (7.1). Hofstra's top big man is six-foot-seven junior forward Isaac Kante. He has five or more rebounds in six straight games.
Bonnies search for fourth straight winThe St. Bonaventure Bonnies are the masters of close wins in the early going of the season. Mark Schmidt's team has won three straight games by nine points or fewer including a 71-64 win over Florida Atlantic in the Boca Raton Classic on Monday (they played in a different bracket of the tournament than Hofstra). Sophomore guards Kyle Lofton and Dominick Welch combined to score 29 points in the win. Both guards have a nice shooting stroke, particularly Welch who shoots 39% from deep.
Sophomore center Osun Osunniyi gives St. Bonaventure plenty of size down low with his six-foot-ten, 215lb frame. He has recorded two double-doubles in his last three games including a 15 point, 10 rebound, six-block performance against San Diego. Look for the Bonnies to give plenty of looks to sophomore guard Jaren English, who missed the first five games of the season with a hand injury. English scored 12 points versus San Diego.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on oddsshark.com, are:
- The Bonnies are 4-2 ATS in their last six games played on a Saturday.
- Pride are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
St. Bonaventure is honoring its 1970 Final Four team on Saturday afternoon so expect a large and invigorated crowd at the Reilly Center. The Bonnies possess two talented guards in leading scorers Kyle Lofton and Dominick Welch. Add in Jaren English and this is a back court that should challenge any in the Atlantic 10. Hofstra's defense, ranked 248th nationally according to KenPom, is too much of a liability against a Bonnies team finding its groove offensively.
Prediction: St. Bonaventure Bonnies -2.5
Full-Game Total Pick
St. Bonaventure plays at one of the slowest tempos in the country, while Hofstra prefers to play more of run-and-gun style. Who dominates tempo in this one could determine whether this game goes over or not. I'm siding with the over here as the total has gone over in four of St. Bonaventure's last six games. The over is 5-2 in Hofstra's last seven games. Both teams boast talented back courts and I expect many shots to fall. Go with the over here.
Prediction: Over 137.5