Get off to a hot start by backing hot St. Bonaventure

Time is of the essence as Gators prepare for NCAA opener against St. Bonaventure | Miami Herald

Time is of the essence as Gators prepare for NCAA opener against St. Bonaventure | Miami Herald

The victor will be the No. 11 seed in the East Region and face No. 6 Florida (20-12) on Thursday in Dallas.

"Would we like to be playing two games instead of three?" This will be the 7th season that St. Bonaventure will play in the Big Dance.

However, UCLA needs to be aware of the fact that St. Bonaventure has an offense that likes to have the game take off at a fast pace and not slow down for anything. They'll face St. Bonaventure (25-7), an Atlantic 10 team that tied the school record for wins and has three-straight 20-win seasons.

"We couldn't be happier".

Schmidt, who told fans in St. Bonaventure's gym that his team is "going to Dayton to beat UCLA", has coached the Bonnies to three consecutive 20-win seasons. Most recently, UCLA upended Stanford, 88-77, last Thursday before losing in overtime to top-seed Arizona, 78-67, in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.

The Bruins have lost in the Sweet 16 in 2014, 2015 and 2017 under Alford, who has not survived past that round in his 22 years of coaching at the Division I level. The Atlantic 10 regular-season victor has victories this season over Maryland, Syracuse and Rhode Island.

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The Bonnies strengthened their bid after starting the Atlantic 10 with a 2-4 record.

LIU Brooklyn (+4¹/₂) over Radford: The Blackbirds just pulled off an even tougher win than this, knocking off NEC regular-season champion Wagner - a defense-first team like Radford - in Staten Island, where the crowd was against them, and the Seahawks were undefeated all season.

BONNIES BELONG: St. Bonaventure is driven by the guard play of seniors Jaylen Adams (19.8 points per game) and Matt Mobley (18.5). Nate Jones averages 11 minutes and 2.2 points per game.

St. Bonaventure has made the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in program history and twice under Schmidt. With AP Photos.With 48 previous NCAA Tournament appearances behind them, the UCLA Bruins (21-11) make their debut in a First Four play-in game.

UCLA's junior guard Aaron Holiday averages a Pac 12-best 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and drains 43.3 percent from 3-point range, while the senior duo of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley for the Bonnies combined to score nearly 40 per contest and have connected on 177 tries behind the arc between them.

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