Big 4 Rivalry & Ranked Action Among Top Pick On Saturday's Monster NCAAB Card

Jay Pryce

Saturday, December 2, 2017 1:32 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 1:32 PM UTC

Our top college basketball picks for a loaded Saturday card feature St. Bonaventure and Buffalo clashing in the Big 4 rivalry and No. 16 Baylor hosting No. 8 Wichita State in one of two ranked matchups on the day. Predictions and previews this way.

St. Bonaventure vs Buffalo

Buffalo is aiming for its first sweep of the Big 4 rivalry hosting St. Bonaventure on Saturday (2 p.m. ET). The Bulls took care of Canisius (80-75) and Niagara (106-87) earlier. They are 4-2 SU and ATS for the seasons with losses against then-No. 13 Cincinnati (73-67) and a talented South Dakota State squad (94-80).

Led by Nate Oats, Buffalo attacks with a high-octane offense that loves to shoot from deep. It ranks as the 32nd fastest team in tempo per KenPom and drains more than 10 treys per game. Five players average double figures, led by guard CJ Massinburg with 18.8 points per game. There are plenty of scoring options if one or two shooters go cold.

St. Bonaventure, a favorite to repeat as Atlantic 10 champions, is 4-2 SU and 2-2 ATS, its signature win coming against Maryland (63-61). It is playing without Wooden, Oscar Robertson, and Naismith Trophy Awards candidate guard Jaylen Adams. The team’s leading scorer the past two seasons and NBA prospect injured his ankle in an exhibition game and has yet to see regular-season action. Adams is close to a return with head coach Mark Schmidt considering his star a game-time decision. Bonnies beat writer J.P. Butler got a birds-eye view:

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Down at Bona practice. PG Jaylen Adams is out there with the other regular starters going through plays at the start. Moving, cutting well. Going close to full speed.

— J.P. Butler (@JPbutler10) December 1, 2017

This is the eight straight meeting between the Bonnies and Bulls with the former winning six of the last seven. The rivalry is close with each contest determined by single digits. Buffalo is 5-2-1 ATS, going off a 2.8-point underdog on average. Three of the covers occurred in the only trio of games catching more.

St. Bonaventure is a bit more talented, especially if Adams suits up. Look for Schmidt’s men to jump on the Bulls early. The Bonnies have sported a lead into the break in all but one of the last seven meetings, including by more than five in the three matchups dueling Oats. Pick St. Bonaventure at a pick ‘em in the first half for your best bet.

Free NCAAB Pick: +1.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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No. 8 Wichita State and No. 16 Baylor

This ranked matchup will be tough to watch if you like slick-scoring games. Baylor and Wichita State enter 21st and 12th in defensive efficiency. Neither plays above average in pace as well, ranking 342nd and 181st in tempo respectively.

Bears head coach Scott Drew has faced strong opponents at Ferrell Center many times in his 14-year tenure. His modus operandi is to slow the game down to a crawl and force tough shots, particularly in expected close contests. In the last decade, the ‘under’ is 9-2 when Baylor tips off as an underdog or short-priced favorite of less than 3 points against ranked competition in Waco. The combined score is staying 12.7 points south of a 142.5 average total. Both the Bears and their opponents have each scored more than their projected team total in just two games.

Baylor will impose its play style on the Shockers throughout. The outcome is a coin-flip but the path to victory will be physical and well earned. Pick ‘under’ 138 for a value play.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 139Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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