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March Madness Team Betting Preview: Villanova Wildcats

by March 19, 2021
Jay Wright

The Villanova Wildcats won the Big East regular-season championship this season before bowing out in their first conference tournament game. Nonetheless, they enter March Madness as the 5-seed in the South Region. 

No program has more championship pedigree and recent NCAA Tournament success than Villanova under Jay Wright. The Wildcats will have to overcome several obstacles if they are to be a factor this year, but they certainly have the coaching and team chemistry to do it. Read on for an overview of the Villanova Wildcats and a prediction for how they’ll fare in the NCAA Tournament.

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Villanova Wildcats Betting Preview

Record: 16-6 overall, 11-4 Big East
ATS: 11-10-1
O/U: 12-10
Points Scored/Game: 75.5 (60th overall, 3rd in Big East)
Points Allowed/Game: 67.1 (76th overall, 5th in Big East)
Outright Odds: +5000 (BettingPros Consensus)

Villanova Wildcats Starters and Key Reserves

Name Position PPG RPG APG SPG BPG
Collin Gillespie G 14.0 3.3 4.6 1.0 0.0
Justin Moore G 12.6 4.1 2.9 0.7 0.3
Caleb Daniels G 9.8 2.0 1.3 0.5 0.0
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl F 15.7 8.3 1.9 1.0 0.5
Jermaine Samuels F 11.8 6.3 2.5 0.6 0.2
Cole Swider F 5.8 3.1 1.1 0.5 0.1
Brandon Slater F 4.0 2.2 0.5 0.8 0.2

 

Team Strengths

Balance, coaching, and a championship pedigree. Villanova will be forced to rely on intangibles and strategy more than ever in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The team featured two of the three Big East Co-Player of the Year Winners in Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Collin Gillespie (more on him below). 

Robinson-Earl came close to averaging a double-double line this season with 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Along with Jermaine Samuels, the Wildcats have a strong frontcourt tandem that will undoubtedly make life difficult on opponents inside. Jay Wright is an x-factor at head coach. Even though the Wildcats will need to overcome some major adversity to succeed in March Madness this year, Wright is certain to get the most out of his players.

Team Weaknesses

Losing a co-Big East Player of the Year is a massive blow that Villanova will be forced to overcome. Collin Gillespie had his season ended early a couple of weeks ago by a torn MCL. As a result, the Wildcats are forced to proceed without their best guard, second-leading scorer, and floor general. Gillespie’s season stats are included in the table above to show the production that Villanova will miss in the NCAA Tournament. Who steps up in his place is anyone’s guess. The Wildcats aren’t a particularly deep team, and they faltered after his injury. The one-and-done Big East Tournament showing only upped the concern.

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Why They’ll Win it All

It’s going to take a whole lot of heart, determination, and coaching wizardry from Jay Wright to get Villanova back to the promised land this season. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will have to go off each game, and some unsung names will have to step up to replace the production that has been vacated in the wake of Collin Gillespie’s injury.

Why They Won’t Win it All

Villanova is facing a whole lot of adversity coming into this year’s NCAA Tournament. If the team’s performance in the final games of the regular season and Big East Tournament without Collin Gillespie was any indication, the Wildcats won’t get a sniff of the title, let alone the second weekend. On top of this, Villanova faces an extremely tough road in the South Region bracket.

Villanova Wildcats March Madness Prediction

At least one 12-5 upset seems to occur in the NCAA Tournament on an annual basis. Given their state coming into this year’s tournament, Villanova has to be considered one of the most vulnerable 5-seeds in the field. A First Round matchup against a talented and experienced Winthrop team is no sure thing. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the Wildcats bow out in the opening round. Even if we give them the benefit of the doubt and say they get past Winthrop, the road likely comes to an end against Purdue in the Second Round. You’d be hard-pressed to convince me that Nova extends its run beyond the first weekend.

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Henry John is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Henry, check out his archive and follow him @HankTimeSports.

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