Welcome back to PAND’s coverage of Villanova Basketball. Last week, the Villanova Wildcats took a nose dive off the odds list for the NCAA Tourney.
Following the big win over Creighton to secure the Big East regular-season crown, the Wildcats put up an absolute stinker against Providence and followed that up with a quarterfinal exit in the Big East tournament to Georgetown. In case you’re wondering if the Wildcats and their fans should be in panic mode heading into selection Sunday, the answer is, “absolutely.
On Saturday, Villanova traveled to Rhode Island to face Providence, a middle-of-the-road team the Wildcats handled relatively easily in late January. In their first meeting, the game was tight in the first half, before Villanova blew the doors off the Friars defense in the second half with 47 points.
This time around, Villanova trailed by as much as 20 late in the first half, before mounting a failed effort to rally in the second half. Villanova only allowed 16 second-half points, but their offense just couldn’t muster enough firepower and the Wildcats fell, 54-52.
Villanova was off in nearly every area. The Wildcats went just 14-23 from the line, managed just eight assists, and shot 33% from the field (22% from three). Jermaine Samuels may have been the lone bright spot for the Wildcats, as he went a solid 7-11 from the field and pulled down eight rebounds.
The issue going into this game was the loss of Collin Gillespie and how it would impact the Wildcats on both ends. Unfortunately, the Wildcats lost Justin Moore to an ankle injury after only playing 12 minutes. We thought Villanova may go with a bigger rotation, but they instead opted to roll out Ryan Arcidiacono’s little brother for 25 minutes, along with Brian Antoine for 22 minutes.
I suppose it was an adjustment only made due to the untimely loss of Moore, but Villanova should really consider going with a bigger rotation in the NCAA Tourney going forward.
Big East Quarterfinals
On Thursday, the Wildcats played the Georgetown Hoyas in the quarterfinal of the Big East tournament. At one point midway through the second half, Villanova led by 11. Considering the Wildcats beat the Hoyas by double digits in both previous meetings this season, the game appeared right on schedule.
However, Georgetown went on a 13-1 run to take the lead with just over five minutes to go. Villanova went up by five with a minute and a half to go, but sputtered down the stretch, giving up a go-ahead tip shot with five seconds to go. The Wildcats shot just 30% from deep, and 44% from the field.
Where they lost this game was on the boards (-7) and at the line. Georgetown shot a perfect 23-23 from the line, while Villanova again struggled at 14-22. The loss was another tough blow for the Wildcats, as they have now lost three of their last four and tumbled from a possible two seed to likely a five or six seed.
With the Wildcats now awaiting their fate in the bracket, the selection show on Sunday will be very interesting in determining their fate.
NOV 25 (W) – Boston College 76-67
NOV 26 (W) – Arizona State 83-74
NOV 28 (L) – Virginia Tech 73-81
DEC 1 (W) – Hartford 87-53
DEC 6 (W) – Texas 68-64
DEC 11 (W) – Georgetown 76-63
DEC 16 (W) – Butler 85-63
DEC 19 (W) – Saint Joseph’s 88-68
DEC 23 (W) – Marquette 85-68
JAN 19 (W) – Seton Hall 76-74
JAN 23 (W) – Providence 71-56
JAN 30 (W) – Seton Hall 80-72
FEB 3 (L) – St. John’s 59-70
FEB 7 (W) – Georgetown 84-74
FEB 10 (W) – Marquette 96-64
FEB 13 (L) – Creighton 86-70
FEB 20 (W) – UCONN 68-60
FEB 23 (W) – St. John’s 81-58
FEB 28 (L) – Butler 73-61
MAR 3 (W) – Creighton 72-60
MAR 6 (L) – Providence 54-52
MAR 11 (L) – Georgetown 72-71
Be sure to check back Sunday for Villanova’s NCAA Tourney preview article.
To make Final Four: Gonzaga -315
A brief look at Gonzaga’s value for making this final four next month with odds provided by the DraftKings online sportsbook.
Last week, we went with Gonzaga +250 to win the tournament. This week, those odds have shifted down to +225, so congrats to those of you who got it in on time.
One bet I really like going forward is Gonzaga -315 to make the Final Four. Gonzaga is the best team in the country, without a doubt. Already, we’ve had multiple top programs test positive for Covid, thus jeopardizing their tournament chances.
With the field already watered down, the Bulldogs should face relatively weak opponents within their own bracket. Even though the return isn’t great, this bet is close to a lock, given how strong and talented this Gonzaga team is.