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First Four 2018: Aaron Holiday needs to shine vs St. Bonaventure

13 March 2018

Tuesday's victor will play sixth-seeded Florida in an East Region first-round game Thursday in Dallas.

Saint Bonaventure (+3½) over UCLA: First off, the St. needs to be spelled out now, following the cruel scare thrown into the good people of Olean, N.Y. - so Mike Vaccaro says - because of TBS' infuriating decision to mess with one of the few universally beloved American traditions, and reveal the teams in alphabetical order, only to screw up and list Seton Hall before Saint Bonaventure.

"Would we like to be playing two games instead of three?" St. Bonaventure beating UCLA wouldn't be the biggest upset we've ever seen by any means, but it can happen simply on the fact that they're the kind of team that could get overlooked.

UCLA had a game with Montana called off because of wildfires in early December, adding to the Bruins' unusual start. Crosstown rival USC played in one last season, beating Providence and then defeating Southern Methodist in the first round before losing to Baylor in the second round.

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies cheerleaders perform in the game against the Saint Joseph's Hawks during the Semifinals of the 2014 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 15, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

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"We couldn't be happier".

The UCLA Bruins have advanced to and been eliminated in the Sweet Sixteen three times in the last four seasons. He got the Blackbirds to the NCAA Tournament in his first season and will be playing in an arena that was a regular A-10 stop during his nine seasons with UMass.

The Bonnies strengthened their bid after starting the Atlantic 10 with a 2-4 record. The Bonnies qualify because they have one of the best backcourts in the country with seniors Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. Nate Jones averages 11 minutes and 2.2 points per game.

The Bonnies have a slight bit of tournament history. With AP Photos.With 48 previous NCAA Tournament appearances behind them, the UCLA Bruins (21-11) make their debut in a First Four play-in game.

The Bruins are second in the Pac-12 in scoring at 81.9 points per game and lead the conference in rebounding (38.8 per game, including 28.5 defensive rebounds per game) and 3-point field goal percentage (38.3).

First Four 2018: Aaron Holiday needs to shine vs St. Bonaventure