Sunday College Basketball Odds & Pick for Villanova vs. Butler: Back Wildcats To Cruise Against Bulldogs
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.
- Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats travel to Indianapolis on Sunday to take on LaVall Jordan and the Butler Bulldogs.
- The Wildcats are coming off a big loss to Creighton, but that might have been just what they needed to get focused ahead of the Big East Tournament.
- Check out Kyle Remillard's full betting breakdown complete with updated odds and a pick below.
Villanova vs. Butler Odds
|Time | TV||Sunday, 12 p.m. ET | CBS|
The Villanova Wildcats look to make it three wins in a row as they travel to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on the Butler Bulldogs.
Since allowing 86 points to Creighton on Feb. 13, the Wildcats have responded with two strong defensive efforts, holding Connecticut to 60 points and St. Johns to just 58.
Jay Wright’s Wildcats were forced to pause play for 27 days at the end of December due to COVID-19 protocols. They’ve responded by going 7-2 since that layoff and look to be putting the pieces together just at the right time.
It’s been a tough season for LaVall Jordan’s Bulldogs, who are 8-13 on the year and 7-11 in conference play.
After losing three games in a row, the Bulldogs upset Seton Hall as a seven-point underdog by a score of 61-52.
Offense is not this team’s strong suit, to say the least, as it ranks toward the bottom of the country in multiple offensive statistics. The Bulldogs average 62.7 points per game, second-lowest in the Big East ahead of only DePaul.
They play at a slow pace and try to limit the number of possessions in the game. Villanova doesn’t mind playing at a slow pace as well, but the Cats are astoundingly more efficient offensively compared to Butler.
When Villanova Has the Ball
After its loss to Creighton, people were beginning to question whether or not Villanova could be a national championship contender with its subpar defense.
Jay Wright heard that criticism and responded by shutting down one of the best players in the Big East in James Bouknight. His team then followed that up by holding St. Johns — a fast-paced team that averages 74.6 points per game — to 58 points.
Villanova has five players who average double-digit points per game.
Leading that group is 6-foot-9 forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who is scoring 15.4 points a game and securing 7.4 rebounds per contest. Collin Gillespie is just behind him at 14.4 points a game.
Villanova is the best 3-point shooting team in the Big East, hitting on 38.5% of its attempts in conference games. Not only does it convert at a higher percentage than anyone, but Nova takes more attempts, shooting a 3-pointer on 46.1% of its possessions.
Gillespie is a big reason for that, as he has hit 39 of his 102 attempts. Robinson-Earl has improved his outside shooting in a big way since the beginning of the season.
In the first 11 games, Robinson-Earl was hitting just 26.5% of his 3-point attempts. Over his last seven games, he’s connected on 40.7% of them. This team also has five other players who are shooting above 32%, which doesn’t allow defenses to help on dribble-drives.
Wright’s offense is second to none in the conference.
The Wildcats boast the No. 1 offensive efficiency mark at 116.1 per game, according to KenPom. Compare that to Butler’s 94.1, and it begs the question: How can the Bulldogs stay close to Nova? The simple answer is they can’t.
In Big East play, Villanova shoots 53.9% from the field and turns it over less than any other team. Butler is going to need some voodoo magic in order to keep this game competitive.
When Butler Has the Ball
When Butler has the ball… it isn’t pretty.
It plays with the slowest tempo in the conference and the 327th-ranked tempo in the country, according to KenPom. It owns the second-lowest offensive efficiency in the Big East, scoring just 94.1 points per 100 possessions.
Although those stats may be correlated, the majority of the blame goes to the poor shooting of Butler. The Bulldogs hit just 46.8% of their field goals, 31.9% of their 3-point attempts, and just 64.7% from the charity stripe. They’ve eclipsed the 70-point mark just once over the last 10 games, and that game had to go to overtime in order to reach that number.
Despite all this, Butler has played hard over the last two games. Although the Bulldogs lost to Xavier, 51-63, they hung within one possession for about 35 minutes. Last time out, they upset Seton Hall and held them to just 52 points in the game.
Regardless of this team’s season being all but over, it’s still playing hard for Jordan but just doesn’t have the talent to compete with some of the elite teams in the Big East.
Butler is led by freshman guard Chuck Harris, who averages 11.6 points. He’s complemented by Jair Bolden, who is scoring 11.1 a game.
Bolden is an outside shooter who takes 7.3 3-point attempts per game and converts at a 35.3% clip. He will need to catch fire against a Villanova defense that has picked up its defensive pressure as of late for the Bulldogs to stay competitive.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Villanova’s loss to Creighton is just what it needed to get it fired up in the final few games before the conference tournament.
Wright has this group firing on all cylinders defensively, and it has offensive weapons all over the court. The Wildcats are comfortable playing at the slow pace that Butler will play at while still scoring in the mid-70s at that pace.
I’m taking Villanova laying a dozen. I would also look to target the first half in this game, as the Wildcats should go wire-to-wire with a double-digit lead.
Pick: Villanova -12 (up to -13).