We know it, we know it. You’re looking at the field of the 2021 NCAA Tournament and wondering, what the hell am I going to do with these 9-8 matchups? Every year those coin toss games give people a lot of trouble as they fill out their chart and participate in March Madness competitions and office groups.
This year, games 9-8 are no exception, and one of the hardest to pick is the St. Bonaventure vs. LSU. The two teams are polar opposites in their playing style, so the team that is capable of executing its game plan the best is likely to emerge victorious. But how do you know what it will be?
St. Bonaventure (16-4, 11-4 A-10) is coming off a great season that saw them play very well against the Atlantic 10 competition. However, are the LSU Tigers (18-9, 11-6 SEC) peaking at the right time? And is seed number 8 too low for them? It’s certainly possible, and his offense can certainly keep up with anyone on the field.
With that, here’s everything you need to know about the St. Bonaventure vs. LSU showdown, including rankings, key players, season breakdowns, and more:
EXPERT SUPPORT PICTURES:
DeCourcy (Gonzaga) | Bender (Illinois) | Fagan (Gonzaga) | Lutovsky (Baylor)
LSU vs St. Bonaventure odds
St. Bonaventure vs. LSU will be the 20th overall game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament and will take place on Saturday afternoon as one of the first games of the day. According to FanDuel sports betting, LSU is the lightweight favorite in the contest. Below are the details of your game, including betting odds, time, TV, and venue.
- Odd: LSU (-1.5)
- Date: Saturday March 20
- Time: 1:45 pm ET
- TELEVISION: TNT
- Sand: Assembly Hall Simon Skjodt
San Buenaventura (16-4, 11-4 Atlantic 10)
Over the past decade, St. Bonaventure has steadily become one of the most consistent teams in the Atlantic 10. They have done the NCAA Tournament three times since 2012 and saw one of the best players in team history. , Andrew Nicholson, become a first player. Orlando Magic round pick in 2012.
During the 2020-21 season, St. Bonaventure was one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10 conference. They crossed to a 16-4 record on the year and the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament. They won each of their three games in that tournament by at least nine points and capped a 6-1 record in their last seven games. His only loss was by three points to Dayton.
The Bonnies posted a 2-0 record against VCU, the only other A-10 team to make it to the tournament, and were 1-1 against St. Louis, one of the first four teams to leave the tournament field this year. So while they don’t have major wins, per se, they performed well against the highest level of competition they faced. That’s part of why both the NET rankings and the KenPom rankings appear to be bullish on balanced Bonnies.
- NET Ranking: 2. 3
- KenPom Classification: 25
- Quad register 1: 4-2
- Quad register 2: 3-1
- Quad register 3: 5-1
- Quad register 4: 4-0
- Offensive efficiency ranking: 38th
- Defensive efficiency: 17
Key players. Main players
Kyle Lofton (6-3, 195-pound junior guard)
14.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.5 apg
Jaren Holmes (6-4 junior guard, 215 pounds)
13.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.0 apg
Jalen Adaway (6-5 pound red jersey junior guard, 210 pounds)
12.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.5 apg
Dominick Welch (6-5 junior guard, 200 pounds)
11.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.2 apg
Osun Osunniyi (6-10, 220-pound junior forward)
10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.4 apg
BREAKDOWN OF REGIONS:
WEST | EAST | SOUTH | MIDWEST
LSU (18-9, 11-6 SEC)
LSU was almost able to win the SEC Tournament, but Alabama walked away from them for a one-point victory. During their tournament career, they beat No. 8 ranked Arkansas, a 3 seed in March Madness, and Bill Bender of Sporting News projected LSU to be a No. 5 seed in the tournament. So, needless to say, they are not seeded.
LSU had victories over 16th-ranked Tennessee and the aforementioned Arkansas Razorbacks, but losses to Kentucky 9-16 and Saint Louis must have dropped them in the eyes of the committee. That and a pretty impressive non-lecture program. However, LSU has a dynamic offense, as they rank fifth in offensive efficiency, and they will be looking to defeat the seasoned Bonnies and their solid defense.
- NET Ranking: 28
- KenPom Classification: 29
- Quad register 1: 5-8
- Quad register 2: 3-1
- Quad register 3: 6-0
- Quad register 4: 4-0
- Offensive efficiency ranking: Fifth
- Defensive efficiency: 125
Key players. Main players
Cameron Thomas (6-4 freshman guard, 210 pounds)
22.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.4 apg
Trendon Watford (6-9 sophomore forward, 240 pounds)
16.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.0 apg
Ja’Vonte Smart (6-4 junior guard, 205 pounds)
15.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.0 apg
Darius Days (6-7, 245-pound junior forward)
11.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 0.7 apg
Aundre Hyatt (6-6 sophomore guard, 225 pounds)
3.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.3 apg
SUPPORT TIPS: KenPom | Play the odds | Idiots guide
LSU vs St. Bonaventure prediction
This confrontation is going to be a clash of different styles. LSU is a fast-paced, high-octane offense that likes to fire quickly and increase scores. They’re not great on defense and rank 49th in pace, which shows how quick they are to find options on offense.
Meanwhile, the Bonnies operate at a significantly slower pace. St. Bonaventure is ranked 329th in pace this season out of 347 teams. They grab the ball and look for the perfect shot. The veteran-laden team that plays primarily juniors is well-balanced and their defense is strong thanks in large part to Osun Osunniyi, a shot-blocking machine that averaged 2.9 rejections per game last season, tied for eighth in the NCAA. .
Due to the opposing styles, this game will focus on who can control the pace. If the Bonnies can slow down the Tigers’ offense and get them to operate out of rhythm, they will have a chance to win this one. Conversely, if LSU can run their fast-paced offense, they could rack up an advantage that may prove insurmountable for a St. Bonaventure team averaging just 66.8 possessions per game.
It’s also worth noting that neither of these teams is particularly deep. St. Bonaventure tends to stick to a seven-man rotation, while LSU relies on four players for the majority of its scoring. That could create a lot of volatility in this game, as if either team has a player off pace, it could significantly hamper their scoring potential.
8v9 matchup history in the NCAA Tournament
In truth, throughout the history of the NCAA Tournament, the 9th and 8th seeded matchup has been relatively even. It’s the biggest coin flip on any bracket, and it’s the only one of the typical first-round matchups in which the underdog has an advantage over the most-seeded team. No. 9 seeds have a slight 72-68 lead.
If you’re looking at recent history, the No. 8 seed has had a slight edge of late. They have posted a 24-20 record in the last 11 NCAA tournaments, but it’s worth noting that the No. 9 seeds won every matchup 9-8 last year.
For this game, LSU should probably be preferred. They were under-seeded and their recent performance indicates that their offense is firing on full steam. St. Bonaventure may not be able to keep up with LSU if its offense comes out hot, or even warm.
Below is a breakdown of the victories that 9 seeds have enjoyed over 8 seeds in the last 10 tournaments:
|2019||UCF 73, VCU 58|
|Baylor 78, Syracuse 69|
|Oklahoma 95, Ole Miss 72|
|Washington 78, Utah 61|
|2018||Alabama 86, Virginia Tech 83|
|Kansas State 69, Creighton 59|
|State of Florida 67, Missouri 54|
|2017||Michigan State 78, Miami 58|
|2016||Butler 71, Texas Tech 61|
|Providence 70, USC 69|
|Uconn 74, Colorado 67|
|2014||Pittsburgh 77, Colorado 48|
|2013||Temple 76, State of North Carolina 72|
|Wichita State 73, Pittsburgh 55|
|2012||St. Louis 61, Memphis 54|
|2011||Illinois 73, UNLV 62|
|2010||Wake Forest 81, Texas 80|
|Northern Iowa 69, UNLV 66|
|2009||Siena 74, Ohio State 72|
|Texas A&M 79, BYU 66|
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.