Saint Louis Bilikens (20-12) (14-18 ATS) vs. Dayton Flyers (21-10) (14-15-2 ATS)
NCAA BB: Friday, March 15th, 2019 at 8:30 pm ET (Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY)
Line and Odds: Dayton -4.5, O/U 131
The winner gets Davidson or St. Joseph’s in the next round of the Atlantic 10 playoffs. This will be the third time #3 Dayton has collided with #6 Saint Louis.
Saint Louis has moved on from the second round in the A10 tourney beating Richmond, 71-68, yesterday. This after being down by an unhealthy margin and Javon Bess (15.16 PPG, 6.69 RPG) rebounding from a seven point effort in his last out. He threw in 14 points and snatched six boards in the finale. With Bess in the backcourt is Tremaine Isabell (13.45 PPG, 4.39 RPG). The lead rebounder, however, is who helped ignite the comeback win. Hasahn Fench (9.53 PPG, 8.47 RPG) added a team-high 22 points and drew in 12 rebounds.
French’s rebounding is a great sign because the team is far from being an offensive juggernaut. If French can help bolster the team’s offense with rebounding, where the Billikens rank 13th nationally, their chances, especially second chances increase. Otherwise, it’s the defense that Saint Louis is going to have to rely on. Because they’re ranked near the bottom in the A10 throughout almost every offensive category. Defending the ball, Kenpom ranks Saint Louis #63 in adjusted defensive efficiency allowing a healthy 97.7 points per 100 possessions. They also render teams ineffective shooting the ball (47.5%), great for 38th in the nation. Finally, the Billikens are the 31st best team in opponent FGM/game.
Dayton closed out the season in fashion and cemented themselves for 3rd place in the A10. The team seems locked in as they shot over 50% in the final stretch. They defeated La Salle by 31 on senior night and finished out the season downing Duquesne. This is worthy of note because the first time they encountered Saint Louis, a match with Duquesne, which Dayton won, preceded it. Forward Josh Cunningham (13.79 PPG, 6.38 RPG) and Obadiah Toppin (14.42 PPG, 5.65 RPG) lead the crew.
Dayton surely remembers the Saint Louis Billikens, having faced off twice with them. Saint Louis had built the lead in the first game and never half-stepped from there forward. Game two told a different story. The Flyers hit 10 3’s and held the Billikens to four on the game. Dayton puts up points with accuracy. They’re #2 collegiately in shooting percentage and #11 in effective field goal percentage. On the season, they threw together 73.5 PPG with an average scoring margin of +7.6 over their opponents, good for 43rd, nationally. If they shoot well, Saint Louis isn’t going to have a chance to crash the glass and get out on the break for offensive plays. Helping create the offense is a defense to match. 24th in opponent shooting efficiency and 43rd in opponent 3-point percentage are the Dayton Flyers.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Saint Louis’s last 6 games
Saint Louis is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Dayton
Saint Louis is 2-9 SU in its last 11 games when playing Dayton
Billikens are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games
Dayton is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Dayton is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Dayton’s last 5 games when playing Saint Louis
Flyers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
Dayton missed last year’s March Madness tourney after previously making the tourney four straight years prior. I think they’ll want to get back and first order of business is Saint Louis. The Billikens are somewhat lucky to be here and Dayton has a few things Saint Louis won’t contend well against. First is the high-powered Dayton offense. Dayton will make their shots and the Billikens will have to match them possession for possession. As we covered already, Saint Louis isn’t good offensively and needs rebounding opportunities to pull it out. That’s the second part. Thirdly, I’m looking at the trends and this game goes over. And when it goes over, you don’t want to trade baskets with Dayton.