Villanova vs. North Texas Odds: Projected Spread, Total for 2021 NCAA Tournament
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jay Wright
#5 Villanova vs. #13 North Texas Odds
North Texas is looking to pull off a second upset in the 2021 NCAA Tournament when it takes on Villanova. The Mean Green beat Purdue in overtime in the opening round.
We project Villanova as a 5.6-point favorite, with the total at 123.71.
How Villanova & North Texas Match Up
|All stats via KenPom.|
What To Know About Villanova
Villanova endured a three-week COVID-19 pause in early January and has never really regained its early-season form. Head coach Jay Wright’s squad was prolific on offense throughout the season, finishing first in conference play in adjusted-offensive efficiency, first in offensive turnover percentage, and first in free-throw efficiency (78.4%). Then, injuries hit with a torn MCL to Collin Gillespie and an ankle injury to Justin Moore.
Villanova does feature three other players that shoot 38% or better from 3-point range, highlighted by Caleb Daniels (39.4% on 94 attempts) and Cole Swider (38.2% on 76 attempts). It also appears that Justin Moore will be good to go for the tournament.
However, trying to reinvent the wheel for such a complex offense without Gillespie (whose leadership will also be sorely missed) likely lowers the ceiling for this Villanova team tremendously. In the two games since Gillespie went down, Villanova lost to Providence and Georgetown.
I’m sure Jay Wright will cook up some new looks prior to the tournament, but there’s only so much he can do and those two results don’t inspire much hope for any sort of significant run in the dance.
Another concerning issue is the Wildcats’ surprisingly poor defense, ranking last in effective field goal percentage allowed and ninth in both 3-point percentage and 2-point percentage allowed in their 15 Big East games. They are especially vulnerable in the interior against very physical teams. — Mike Randle
What To Know About North Texas
The Mean Green have one of the most experienced rosters in the country and are led by one of the most underrated coaches in Grant McCasland.
North Texas earns its money on the defensive end, where it ranks in the 94th percentile in points per possession allowed in the half court, per Synergy. In three games in the conference tournament, opponents have scored 56, 55 and 48 points. The Mean Green are relentless on that end of the floor, consistently forcing opponents into bad shots.
And while the offense doesn’t put up extremely gaudy numbers, that’s more of a result of their snail-like pace (347th in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom). Ultimately, it’s a fairly efficient unit (especially in transition when they do actually run), led by the inside-out senior duo of guard Javion Hamlet and big man Zachary Simmons. That said, they aren’t a great offensive rebounding team (partly by design) and have been plagued by turnover issues throughout the season. — Stuckey