Mount St. Mary’s vs. Villanova Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet the Under in Tuesday’s Season Opener (Nov. 9)
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- Mount St. Mary's travels to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to take on Villanova.
- The Mountaineers and Wildcats play at two of the slowest paces nationally, putting value on the over/under.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down the game below and shares his top bet.
Mount St. Mary’s vs. Villanova Odds
|Mount St. Mary’s Odds|
-107o / -113u
-107o / -113u
After a 218-day drought, the college basketball season is finally upon us.
The season tips off with two teams that both made it to the NCAA Tournament last year as Villanova hosts Mount St. Mary’s.
Mount St. Mary’s won the NEC Tournament, defeating the top two seeds in Wagner and Bryant to make it to the Big Dance. The Mount lost to Texas Southern in the First Four of the tourney after being outscored, 40-22, in the second half.
Mount St. Mary’s played at the 356th-slowest tempo last season and relied on its physicality and size to grind through games. The program enters this season without point guard Damian Chong Qui, who was the heartbeat of the Mountaineers’ offense.
Replacing his offensive production is a monumental challenge for this program.
That will be no easy feat, especially against a Villanova Wildcats team that is a real threat to win it all.
The Wildcats had to finish the 2020-21 season without point guard Collin Gillespie, who tore his MCL late in the season. Villanova still managed to win the Big East and make it to the Sweet 16, losing to the eventual champion in Baylor.
Thanks to the NCAA’s new COVID-19 policy regarding an extra year of eligibility, Villanova welcomes back Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels for their super-senior seasons.
The offense will miss Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, though, as the big man was drafted 32nd in the 2021 NBA draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Can the Mount pull off the improbable against Villanova, which could be looking ahead to its matchup with UCLA on Friday night?
Mount St. Mary’s is one of the biggest teams in the NEC and won’t be outmatched physically by Nova.
The Mountaineers own one of the top frontcourts in the conference, as Mezie Offurum, Nana Opoku and Malik Jefferson all stand at 6-foot-8 or taller.
|Nana Opoku||R. Senior||6’9″||1.4||9.2||2.1|
The trio was pivotal to the Mount’s top-ranked defensive efficiency mark in the conference. The Mountaineers ranked 10th in the nation in field goal percentage, holding opponents to 45%. They ranked ninth nationally in field goal percentage at the rim, while sitting at 24th in 2-point percentage.
Much of that success goes to the big three, which is highlighted by the reigning NEC Defensive Player of the Year in Opoku.
The Mount’s offensive identity last year was to set non-stop picks for Chong Qui and let him make a play. With Chong Qui hitting the transfer portal, the Mountaineers will need someone to step up.
They welcome in junior point guard Jalen Benjamin, who averaged 9.2 points with UAB last season.
The frontcourt options were dominant defensively but haven’t shown the ability to create their own shots at a high percentage.
Jay Wright’s squad owned the sixth-most efficient offense in the country, according to KenPom.
Although the group played at the 336th adjusted tempo in the nation, it wasn’t afraid to fire away from deep, ranking first in the Big East in 3-point attempts. In what is no surprise, the Wildcats took care of the basketball owning a 14% turnover rate — which ranked fourth nationally.
The loss of Robinson-Earl is immense for the Wildcats. He was a mismatch nightmare that flew past opposing centers and bullied smaller wings. Without him in the lineup, we should see more pick-and-roll offense that centralizes around the three guards in Gillespie, Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels.
The three accounted for nearly half of the Villanova 3-point attempts last season and connected on 35%. They will be matched up against a versatile Mount St. Mary’s man-to-man defense that won’t allow many easy buckets.
Defensively, the Wildcats were a mediocre group that allowed 67 points per game. They owned an effective field goal percentage of 51% that ranked outside the top 200 in the country.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see Wright elect to play a zone to test the shooting woes of the Mount without Chong Qui on the roster.
Mount St. Mary’s vs. Villanova Betting Pick
This matchup includes two teams who both will be without their top playmakers from last season.
Chong Qui didn’t come out of the game once in his final six contests for a good reason. The offense was significantly worse when he wasn’t on the floor and who picks up the offensive slack for Mount this season remains to be seen.
Villanova will be moving on without Robinson-Earl, who averaged 15.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. That leaves the majority of the scoring to Gillespie, Moore and Samuels.
The Mount’s methodical pace and dominant defense will attempt to slow down the game and grind out possessions. Villanova has no problem playing at a slow pace, especially in Gillespie’s first game back from injury.
Villanova ranks 336th in the nation in tempo, while Mount St. Mary’s ranks 356th in the same category, according to KenPom. This will be the slowest-paced game of the opening week and we should see extended scoring droughts from both sides.