Date: March 15
Time: ~ 9:57 p.m. ET
TV Channel: truTV
Location: Dallas, TX
The 6-seed Florida Gators (20-12) will face 11-seed St. Bonaventure (26-7) on Thursday night at 9:57 ET in Dallas. St. Bonaventure is fresh off of their rousing First Four victory over UCLA last night. Check out Nicolas Lewis’s recap here. It St. Bonaventure’s first tournament win since 1970.
That year is important because it’s the year Bob Lanier led the Bonnies all the way to the Final Four, where they faced…you guessed it: UCLA. Head coach Mark Schmidt dedicated the win to former Bonnie Bob Lanier. The St. Bonaventure alum and Basketball Hall of Famer Lanier was unable to play in the 1970 due to injury.
Now they face two-time champions Florida. Florida has made five Final Fours and ten Elite Eights in programs history. Not an easy out for the Bonnies.
(Full-disclosure, I grew up a Florida fan, my father went there, I lived in Gainesville as a kid. I’m very familiar with Gator Basketball.)
But the Gators are beatable this year. They have had stretches where they look like the best team in the SEC, others where they get lose to basement-dwellers like UGA or Ole Miss. Florida has a talented quartet of guards led by PG Chris Chiozza and KeyVaughn Allen, but little depth inside. They are excellent at taking care of the ball, 3rd least turnovers in the country, but only middle of the road in every other major category.
Similarly, St. Bonaventure is a guard-led team with Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams as their two leading scorers. Courtney Stockard, who usually okays the three for the Bonnies, put up 26 points in the win over UCLA. They don’t attempt a lot of threes (243rd) but the ones they atrtempt, they usually make (26th in 3P%). They are also adept at making it to the free-throw line, 16th in the nation in free throws made, 34th in free throws attempted.
Florida is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance under White, looking to build on its Elite Eight run last season.
PG Chris Chiozza (6-0 160) 11.2 PPG, 6.1 AST, 4.4 RPG, 35.9 3P%
G Jalen Hudson (6-5 195) 15.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 40.9 3P%
G Egor Koulechov (6-5 210) 13.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 40.5 3P%
G KeVaughn Allen (6-2 183) 11.3 PPG, 90.1 FT%
St. Bonaventure has won 14 of its last 15 games.
Jaylen Adams (6-3 175) 19.4 PPG, 5.3 AST, 44.4 3P%
Matt Mobley (6-1 180) 18.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 38.1 3P%
Courtney Stockard (6-5 190) 13.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 35.8 3P%
There’s no way I’m jinxing Florida you can just forget about that.
St. Bonaventure 72