Villanova vs. Winthrop Opening Odds, Instant Analysis For NCAA Tournament First Round

Villanova vs. Winthrop Opening Odds, Instant Analysis For NCAA Tournament First Round article feature image

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

#5 Villanova vs. #12 Winthrop Odds

Villanova Odds-6
Winthrop Odds+6
TimeFriday, 9:57 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday night and via DraftKings

How Villanova & Winthrop Match Up

All stats via KenPom.

Instant Analysis

It looks like it is going to be another year of 12 seeds running the first round. Villanova is sliding, due to injury, and Winthrop is just getting started.

Without leader and starting point guard Collin Gillespie for the remainder of the season, it’s hard to say whether or not the Wildcats can take down a stellar Winthrop team that was three points away from being undefeated. Villanova has dropped its past two games to Providence and Georgetown. Those are not exactly powerhouse teams this year. Realistically, Villanova is overvalued by the committee this year, and it’s not worth a No. 5 seed, considering the current state of this team.

I underestimated the Eagles; they are the real deal. And their triple-threat senior leader, Chandler Vaudrin, gives this team life. He averages 12.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game and should be considered as one of the most valuable offensive pieces to any team this year. As a matter of fact, he just posted a triple-double against High Point on March 1.

Trust the No. 12 seed Eagles here. They are an extremely talented squad with a knack for closing out games, as their 23-1 record shows. Unfortunately for Villanova, everything has just gone wrong recently. It is incredibly difficult to recover from losing your starting point guard in March. — Andrew Norton

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). And it does appear that Justin Moore will be good to go for the tournament. However, trying to reinvent the wheel for such a complex offense without Gilespie (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.

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What To Know About Winthrop

The Eagles rank 23rd in the nation in points per game, playing with the 12th-fastest tempo in the nation at the same time. Chandler Vaudrin is the biggest name for opponents to stop, as the jack-of-all-trades leads the Eagles in separate statistical categories: points, assists, and rebounds. It's a very ahtletic and versatile group of position-less players that can be dangerous in transition.

In a very uninspiring conference, they have won nine games by fewer than eight points. Despite a 23-1 record, Winthrop is not a team without inconsistencies from a Big South Conference that was ranked 28th by KenPom. The Eagles get to the free-throw line at a healthy rate but also sent opponents to the charity stripe more often, ranking 231st in defensive free-throw rate.

This is one of the most experienced rosters in the nation and takes care of the boards, but it can be exposed in ball security by any aggressive defense. As a potential 12 or 13 seed, they could have loads of success off the dribble against a vulnerable perimeter defense like Texas Tech. On the other hand, they would not want to see the length of Florida State. — Mike Randle

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