Welcome back to PAND’s coverage of Villanova Basketball. This past weekend, the Villanova Wildcats advanced past everyone’s favorite “12 over 5” upset pick of the day, Winthrop.
In round two, we anticipated a tough matchup with Purdue, but instead, we were treated to a relatively easy matchup against the #13 seed, North Texas.
So many analysts and “experts” predicted Winthrop to beat Villanova in the opener. After all, 12 seeds are close to 50% against 5 seeds over the past eight years. However, we stayed the course and went with Villanova against the little-known Winthrop Eagles.
Coming in, we knew the rebounding may be an issue, and we knew Chandler Vaudrin would be heavily involved. We also knew Winthrop hadn’t played a defense like Villanova all season, nor do they take care of the ball. As it turned out, the game turned out just as we expected, with Villanova winning the turnover battle.
Chandler Vaudrin did everything for Winthrop (especially turning the ball over), and Villanova successfully slowed this game down. Winthrop tried to keep the pace going, but Vaudrin was sloppy and the Eagles shot terribly. Villanova only needed to stay the course and use their size and athleticism around the basket. For the game, the Wildcats were +4 on turnover differential and shot the ball 8% better than Winthrop from the field.
Villanova handles Perdue
While previewing the tournament, we were very concerned with a potential second-round matchup with Purdue. As luck would have it, North Texas played their best game of the year at the perfect time, and the stage was set for a matchup between the Mean Green and the Wildcats.
Villanova wasn’t heavily favored in the game, but it sure looked as if they should’ve been. For a good part of the first half, the Mean Green looked like the intense, pacey team we saw against Purdue. Halfway through the first, North Texas led by as much as eight.
From that point, Villanova seized control, going on a 34-6 run to close the half. Over that stretch, the Wildcats hit five of their fifteen threes in the game. The inside-out game was on point, as the Wildcats racked up 19 assists and shot 50% from long range.
The second half was more of the same from Villanova, as the shots just kept falling. We’ve seen this kind of performance a few times this season, but it’s nice to see it happen when it matters most.
Baylor -6.5 over Villanova
Baylor is a 6.5 favorite according to the DraftKings Online Sportsbook. Can Villanova cover?
It was a roller coaster ride for Villanova and its fans this season. However, the loss of Collin Gillespie will really expose the Wildcats in this one. Baylor has a slight edge in rebounding, they’re a little better defensively, and they shoot much better from three.
Unless Villanova comes out shooting hot like they did against North Texas, this game is likely to get away from them. All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for Villanova, the end might be here in the Sweet 16.