Villanova vs. North Texas Odds, Picks & Predictions: Mean Green Can Pull Upset in NCAA Tournament (March 21)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Javion Hamlet.
- Updated Villanova vs. North Texas odds list the Wildcats as a 6-point favorite over the Mean Green in the 2021 NCAA Tournament second round.
- Nova is still banged up and will be without guard Collin Gillespie, while North Texas looked for real in a win over Purdue in the first round.
- Get our Villanova vs. North Texas pick and preview below.
Villanova vs. North Texas Odds
Despite the loss of Villanova’s best player in Collin Gillespie, the Wildcats moved on past the trendy underdog in Winthrop.
The health of Justin Moore was paramount after he suffered an ankle injury at the end of the regular season. Moore went for 15 points in 37 minutes as Villanova limited Winthrop to 36% shooting from the field.
North Texas pulled off the unlikely upset over Purdue in overtime. The Mean Green outscored the Boilermakers, 17-8, in the extra period and capped the game off with an 11-0 run.
North Texas came out in OT with its foot on the GAS.
Upset watch in full effect. pic.twitter.com/e3afrmHlUB
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 20, 2021
Despite 20 offensive rebounds, the Boilermakers shot just 41% from 2-point range. Purdue was just as cold from the perimeter.
North Texas stayed consistent in its hot shooting from the outside, hitting 9-of-21 shots from long distance. This is head coach Grant McCasland’s first NCAA Tournament and North Texas’ first second-round game in program history.
When North Texas Has the Ball
The Mean Green love a slow pace, ranking 327th in adjusted tempo on offense.
North Texas is 26th in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage and has the highest point distribution from long distance. The key player to watch is Javion Hamlet, as the senior is top 100 nationally in assist rate and free-throw shooting percentage.
Zachary Simmons may be the player to target in props, as Villanova does not have a true rim protector.
While North Texas owns one of the best effective field goal numbers in the nation, the Mean Green do not get to the free-throw line very often. They rank 283rd in free-throw rate but have a decent charity stripe shooting percentage of 74%.
McCasland’s squad must continue to catch fire from the outside to survive and advance.
When Villanova Has the Ball
The Wildcats are looking for additional offensive identity in the post-Gillespie world.
Four players scored double-digits against Winthrop, but a sagging 3-point and free-throw percentage persist. The interior offense did not disappoint, with Jeremiah Robinson-Earl leading all scorers.
This footwork by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl 👀 pic.twitter.com/HHvYEl4xm9
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 20, 2021
Feeding the post was the strategy for head coach Jay Wright, and that will continue against a North Texas team that stands 155th in average height.
Villanova finished the season with a heavy distribution of points coming from beyond the arc, as Jermaine Samuels and Caleb Daniels may continue to have more attempts in the tweaked offense.
Villanova is the top team in the nation in offensive turnovers, as evidenced by Winthrop recording no steals or blocks.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Villanova is 267th in defensive steal rate, making this a game Hamlet can have maximum efficiency.
There should be no issues for the Mean Green offense to run the slow half-court tempo and look for a clean 3-point shot. North Texas was red-hot from the outside against Purdue, and that should continue against the Wildcats.
Villanova is 242nd on the season in 3-point shooting defense and 328th in blocks. This will equate to a high number in the shot-quality department for North Texas.
As Villanova continues to hit the high post with Robinson-Earl, the Mean Green do have fouls to give with Abou Ousmane in relief of Simmons.
North Texas is 13th in 2-point defense, and that spells trouble for a Villanova team that will rely on the interior in the wake of the Gillespie injury.
North Texas will keep this one close in its attempt to make its first-ever Sweet 16.
Pick: North Texas +6.5 (Play to +6).