Rhode Island Rams (21-3) at St. Bonaventure Bonnies (19-6)
Deandre Ayton ruined my night last night. I was backing the Arizona State Sun Devils at home against Ayton’s Arizona Wildcats team. I mentioned that everything was pointing to the Sun Devils getting revenge on their home court, as long as they could figure out how to contain Ayton.
Well, they couldn’t. Ayton was an unstoppable force and likely had the best game of his short college career. The big man went for 25 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks. He did whatever he wanted, and his presence on the low block was felt even when he didn’t touch the ball as the Wildcats outrebounded the Sun Devils 44-28.
This game was tied at 63-63 with under four minutes to go, but Ayton and Trier were just too much down the stretch, and the Wildcats pulled away for a 77-70 victory. If Ayton can play with this level of intensity in the NCAA tournament, you can pencil the Wildcats into the Final Four right now.
Today I am going to look at the best team in the country that nobody is talking about, the Rhode Island Rams, as they travel to play A-10 rival, St. Bonaventure.
The Rhode Island Rams look to continue what is the nation’s longest winning streak, at 16 games, as they travel to St. Bonaventure to face the Bonnies Friday night. This matchup features the best two teams in the Atlantic 10 conference this year.
The Rams have the regular season conference title all wrapped up as they hold a four-game lead on the second place Bonnies, but this game still means a lot to both teams.
Rhode Island is finally starting to get some national attention as they have moved up to #16 in the rankings and need a strong finish if they want a high seed in the NCAA tournament this year.
For St. Bonaventure, they are playing for their tournament life tonight, as they are sitting squarely on the bubble at the moment. The Rhode Island Rams are -2.5-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 150.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from the Reilly Center.
The Rhode Island Rams are a very good basketball team this year. They have been a victim of what has been a very down A-10 this season, and for that reason, they aren’t getting a lot of national love.
But that doesn’t mean this team isn’t the real deal. The Rams have big wins over Seton Hall, Providence, and this St. Bonaventure team. All three of their losses were to teams that will be dancing in March, Virginia, Nevada, and Alabama.
The Rams have run through the A-10 with relative ease, running up a 13-0 league record while dominating most opponents. Even on the road, the Rams average margin of victory has been in the double digits. They aren’t just the best team in the league, they are by far the best team in the league. But if there is one spot they could slip up, it would be tonight against a Bonnie’s team that badly needs this win on its home floor.
As of this morning, Joe Lunardi has St. Bonaventure in the NCAA tournament as one of the last four teams in and having to play a play-in game to hit the field of 64. A win tonight would be a huge boost to that resume as the Bonnies don’t have many good wins yet this season.
A loss? That could slide the Bonnies to the other side of the bubble with very little opportunity left on the schedule to pick up any wins that matter. Not to be overly dramatic, but the season is on the line tonight for St. Bonaventure.
The Bonnies have been great at home this season. Their lone home loss was to a very good TCU team. They have struggled on the road in league play as all four of their conference losses have been on the road. Including an 87-73 beating at the hands of this Rhode Island team on January 13th.
The Bonnies have two solid leaders in Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. Both are senior guards and comprise one of the best backcourts in the nation. Adams is averaging 20 points, 4 boards, and 5 assists a game. While Mobley is going for 18 points and 5 rebounds a contest.
The scary part for the Bonnies is the last time these teams matched up Adams and Mobley both had solid games, each scoring 19 points in the loss. They will need a transcendent effort out of at least one of those senior leaders tonight if they want a chance to protect their home floor and pull off the upset.
This line opened up at Rhode Island -1.5 points. Almost always the sharps are going to jump on the home underdog in a league game. This time they didn’t. They actually backed the Rams on the road, and this line quickly moved to -2 and now -2.5 points.
It is fairly shocking to see the sharp action come in on the road favorite. I believe this is because the sharps understand that this Rams team is really something special this year, and while the Bonnies are going to put up a fight at home, the Rams are big favorites to win this one.
I’m not sure I would be comfortable laying any more than the -2.5 we are now, so if you like the Rams tonight, and you should, bet them now. This number could continue to move, and it wouldn’t shock me to see it close out at -3 or more.
Give me the Rhode Island Rams on the road laying -2.5-points tonight!