LSU basketball vs. St. Bonaventure in NCAA Tournament: Here's my prediction and TV time
The Bonnies are coming for LSU basketball.
Yes, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (16-4, 11-4 Atlantic 10 Conference) will likely be no bunny hop for the Tigers (18-9), SEC Tournament runners-up on Sunday.
The Bonnies beat LSU coach Will Wade's old school, Virginia Commonwealth, in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament on Sunday, 74-65, and that was a quality win. VCU (19-7, 10-4) was a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. St. Bonaventure won the Atlantic 10 regular season title as well.
The game will be on TNT television at 12:45 p.m. CT Saturday at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana.
How LSU can beat St. Bonaventure
If the Tigers play anything like they did on Sunday in an 80-79 loss to eventual NCAA Tournament No. 2 seed Alabama in the SEC Tournament title game, the Tigers will most likely win.
Forward Trendon Watford and guards Cameron Thomas and Javonte Smart are three of the best players on the same team in the nation. And Watford, in particular, has been coming on with a vengeance of late.
Had LSU beaten Alabama, Watford would have been the tournament MVP. St. Bonaventure has some very talented players and excellent coach in Mark Schmidt, but they have not played the type of schedule LSU has. And it has not seen many players on the level of Watford or Thomas.
The Bonnies are not prolific scorers, as they rank 198th in the nation in points a game at 70.3.
How St. Bonaventure can beat LSU
If LSU is not prepared for the defense it will see against St. Bonaventure, an upset could happen. The Bonnies are No. 4 in the nation in points allowed at just 60.1 per game. They will meet their match as LSU is No. 8 in scoring with 82.2 a game.
St. Bonaventure center Osun Osunniyi, a 6-foot-10 junior, is ninth in the nation with 2.8 blocked shots a game, and he is averaging 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds a game. Osunniyi is one of the reasons opponents have trouble scoring against the Bonnies.
One key factor
St. Bonaventure does not score a lot, but it scores efficiently and with balance, which plays to its stud defense. The Bonnies have two big guards shooting better than 40% from 3-point range — 6-foot-4 Jaren Holmes, who averages 13.8 points and has hit 37 of 88 from 3-point range, and 6-5 Dominick Welch, who averages 11.6 points and has hit 48 of 116 from 3-point range.
In all, the Bonnies have five players averaging double figures in scoring.
LSU 74, St. Bonaventure 70: The Tigers will be a tad rusty and shoot poorly, allowing the Bonnies to hang close for most of the game. In the end, LSU's newfound muscle inside with Watford and an improving defense will hold off an upset-minded team.
Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @LSUBeatTweet. If you enjoy Glenn's coverage, consider a digital subscription for all access.