Delaware vs. Villanova Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back the Dog in 2022 NCAA Tournament First Round
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Jermaine Samuels.
- The 2022 NCAA Tournament first round rolls on Friday with No. 2 Villanova as a huge favorite over No. 15 Delaware in the South Region.
- These nearby schools will matchup with local bragging rights on the line, but can the Blue Hens actually keep this thing close as such a big dog?
- Get our full Villanova vs. Delaware preview below.
Delaware vs. Villanova Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Fresh off a CAA Title, the Hens are ready to compete in the NCAA Tournament. Jameer Nelson Jr. is breaking out onto the college hoops scene.
Meanwhile, Villanova clinched a 2-seed after a convincing Big East title run. Jay Wright and Collin Gillespie captain the smoothest offense in the nation.
How far can Villanova go in the tournament? Well, the Cats’ draw isn’t perfect, and that starts with Delaware on Friday.
Villanova is laying about 16 points in this first-round matchup. But is that too many for the Fighting Hens?
By Doug Ziefel
The Blue Hens were finally able to put it all together when they needed it, as they toppled the three best teams in the Colonial to earn an automatic bid.
Delaware was arguably the best offensive team in its conference, as it was first in effective field goal percentage and second in both 2- and 3-point percentage.
On offense, the Blue Hens have a trio of guys who can score from anywhere. That includes leading scorer Nelson and stretch forward Dylan Painter.
However, the same praise cannot be said for their rebounding and defensive numbers. It certainly doesn’t help that they face a team in Villanova that is vastly better than them in those areas.
It will take a near perfect performance for the Blue Hens to hang around in this one.
It seems odd for Wright to have a Villanova team with such glaring flaws during this era of Wildcat basketball.
Don’t get me wrong: Villanova is still a very good basketball team. The Wildcats balance strengths and flaws in a way that works out profitably for them, resulting in the most wins in Big East play and the Big East Tournament title.
The primary issue for this team is depth. Wright really only has six players he trusts on the floor, with two or three more sneaking in for spurts as needed. Of those six players, four are guards. All three of the emergency valve players off the bench are guards, as well.
This leaves a ton on the plates of the frontcourt pairing of Jermaine Samuels and Eric Dixon.
Samuels is forced to play a variety of positions and roles, using his athleticism and experience to make up for any shortcomings. Dixon has come on as a major surprise this season, though he took a step back last week as he fought flu-like symptoms in New York.
In the end, the lack of size and depth don’t sting Villanova like it would other teams. Wright schemes around a lot of the issues, and having the best backcourt in college basketball in Gillespie and Justin Moore covers a lot of warts.
Villanova shoots a ton of 3s, makes a lot of them and is on pace to be the best free throw shooting team in NCAA history.
The worry for Villanova harkens back to Wright’s pre-championship teams. What happens when the 3s don’t fall for 40 minutes or the free throws bounce the wrong way for once? Villanova will be tested with that scenario in the coming weeks or even this weekend.
Delaware vs. Villanova Betting Pick
Villanova plays at one of the slowest paces nationally, ranking 347th in average length of possession. Despite how many high-quality 3-point shots the Wildcats take, it’s going to be tough to get past that number with so few possessions.
Moreover, we’re getting a Delaware team that can post-up efficiently and cut off of those sets. That’s something Villanova struggles with on defense, especially because Wright likes to play small ball.
But I also don’t foresee Delaware trading interior offense for perimeter defense. The 3-point defensive metrics aren’t great, but Nelson and Ryan Allen have the length and athleticism to stay with the Nova shooters.
Give me the Hens to stay within the number here.