College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for Villanova vs. Providence (Tuesday, February 15)
Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images. Pictured: Jay Wright (Villanova)
- In what will be the biggest Big East game this season to date, No. 10 Villanova travels to The Dunk to take on No. 8 Providence in a massive matchup.
- The Friars lead the Big East by 0.5 games, and this will be the first of two matchups vs. the Wildcats to end the season.
- Doug Ziefel breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Villanova vs. Providence Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Villanova Wildcats and Providence Friars will meet twice over that stretch.
The Friars will enter this first matchup with a half-game lead atop the Big East, and with every other team essentially out of contention, the winners of these meetings will take home the regular season conference crown.
The Friars are entering this game on a roll. They have won eight straight, and their most recent victory was a sentiment to the heart and skill of this team.
Providence erased a 13-point deficit to force overtime vs. DePaul, and then got the best of the Blue Demons in the extra period. That effort, while valiant, may have an impact on this matchup, as it will be hard to get up again against the Wildcats.
Speaking of the Wildcats, they are on a bit of a run of their own. Villanova has won six of its last seven and is looking as if it has rounded into form at the right time.
We know that Jay Wright and his boys are well-coached, and going into a tough environment is not going to rattle the Wildcats.
So, with a title potentially in the balance, we may get the perfect combination of Villanova’s best effort and a sluggish Providence team.
The Wildcats’ offense has been one of the best in the nation, as the unit is sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. However, the Wildcats have gotten there by using the same formula from years past.
Villanova has always been a team that is reliant on the 3-point shot under Wright, and this year is no different. Nova is 64th in the nation in 3-point percentage and it attempts the 36th-most 3s per game.
The reason why the 3-point shot needs to be highlighted is not only because it is a crucial part of Villanova’s offense but because it’s part of the formula to defeat the Friars.
In Providence’s last loss to Marquette — which came just after the new year — the Golden Eagles not only shot effectively from the field, but they buried 42% of their 3-point attempts. Conversely, Marquette only attempted 23 3s, which is about half of what Villanova averages
Collin Gillespie is the leading man for the Wildcats’ attack. The senior guard is the team’s emotional leader and its top scorer.
In addition, Gillespie is having the best shooting year of his career. He averages over 16 points per game on 45% shooting, including 42.7% from behind the arc. All of those numbers are career highs.
I highlighted the Friars’ run in the intro, but I did not mention who was an integral part of it.
Just like Gillespie is the leader of the Wildcats, Nate Watson plays the same role for Providence. Watson is a rare breed of a big man as he is a true back-to-the-basket player who uses his size and skill to control the paint.
That skill set will be a significant edge against this Villanova team. The Wildcats are generally undersized, as their tallest player is two inches shorter and five pounds lighter than Watson.
Getting the ball inside is the way to attack this Nova defense, as its lack of size leads to many quality looks. The Wildcats are also 252nd in block rate.
Unfortunately, another thing that those inside looks have led to is fouls. The Wildcats have allowed opponents to get to the line at a reasonably high rate, and have surrendered nearly 17 points a game from the charity stripe, which is 234th nationally.
The Villanova defense may be rated highly, but it does have chinks in its armor. Getting the ball to Watson on the low block and penetrating off of the pick-and-roll could lead to consistent success on the offensive end for Providence.
Villanova vs. Providence Betting Pick
The magnitude of this matchup will undoubtedly play into the effort that we see from Villanova on the road here.
In the end, the Wildcats have the elite shooting to potentially open this game up if the Friars come out flat.
I’m taking the reigning Big East champs to get the job done and reclaim their spot at the top of the conference.
Pick: Villanova -4.5
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