Season recap: St. Bonaventure's Cinderella hopes start and end with its dynamic backcourt featuring first-team Atlantic 10 honorees Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. The Bonnies fell in the second round to Florida State in 2012, their last tournament appearance.
No 11 UCLA fought to stay in the top half of the Pac-12 standings, finishing the regular season 11-7 in conference and 21-11 overall. The Bruins and Bonnies are the late game Tuesday in Dayton.
How they falter: The Bonnies get overwhelmed with a size mismatch, and Adams and Mobley can not convert enough 3-pointers to get out of its play-in game. Nate Jones averages 11 minutes and 2.2 points per game. But it's close, because Adams is a distributor who scores first, averaging 19.8 points and 5.4 assists in 2017-18. The Sun Devils really fell apart in Pac-12 play, but if they can get back to an early-season form that saw them beat both Kansas and Xavier, they're obviously really risky.
The Bonnies have a slight bit of tournament history. Former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly also attended St. Bonaventure for one year. The 6-foot-8 guard owns a four-inch advantage over his matchup, Taqqee, who's more of a three-and-D player than a scorer.
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FILE - In this February 22, 2018, file photo, UCLA coach Steve Alford watches the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Utah in Salt Lake City.
Although this was the first time Wilkes ever watched the selection show, it was the last time Thomas Welsh got to take in selection Sunday as a Bruin. The Bonnies are led by a pair of high-scoring guards, while UCLA relies on junior guard Aaron Holliday for a big chunk of the offense. "And now we're in the NCAA Tournament, and that's a very good accomplishment". UConn is, again, the heavy favorite to win the national title. While UCLA has talent elsewhere, Holiday is their engine, their lynchpin.
Before the field of 64 games get underway, we have the First Four.
BOTTOM LINE: UCLA makes its 49th tournament appearance but its debut in the First Four. If it remains where it is at - UCLA -3, then bet the Bruins. Limiting St. Bonaventure's second-chance opportunities is an obvious key, but the Bruins have the players to do it. Making it a focus should ensure a victory for UCLA. If the Bruins crash the boards against the Bonnies they'll be moving on.