Time to move ahead to Friday for NCAA Tournament action in the South Region and first stop is in Brooklyn for second earlier tip of the day with Villanova and UNC-Asheville.
The Wildcats were borderline top line pick for weeks, but the Big East title game loss to Seton Hall sent them to a two-seed, likely more indicative where they actually belonged. The Bulldogs finished tied for third place in the Big South at 12-6 but upped their game in the conference tournament knocking No.2 High Point 80-69 and top seed Winthrop 77-68. This is Asheville’s fourth trip to the Big Dance and first in four years.
The NCAA basketball odds have Villanova by -17, with a total of 141.5 and truTV has their first of four televised games on this day starting at 12:40 Eastern.
SU and ATS Records – 22-11, 6-0 ATS
Away Record –11-7 and 6-0 ATS
Underdog Record – 2-1 and 3-0 ATS
3 or More Days Rest – 10-5 and 2-0 ATS
Off a SU Win – 12-9 SU and 3-0 ATS
SU and ATS Record – 29-5, 15-17-1 ATS
Away Record – 14-4 and 8-9-1 ATS
Favorite Record – 28-4 and 5-16-1 ATS
3 or More Days Rest – 14-4 and 5-11-1 ATS
Off a SU Loss – 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS
The Big East regular season champions know what is at stake with this team. The upperclassmen have been labeled regular season studs and postseason flops. Coach Jay Wright has said he understands why people might say that and while he disagrees about the accusations, he has stated his team is anxious to prove the critics wrong.
The truth is this a no-win game for Villanova, they pummel the 15th seed, big deal, that is what a No.2 seed is supposed to it will be written in social media. But if the Wildcats ended up winning by a dozen or less points, Twitter and Philadelphia talk radio will be ablaze with negative commentary.
Though coach Wright gives off a persona of cool, when it comes right down to it, his players have played tight in these games, seemingly trying too hard to stay “under control” or were too geared up which caused them to be mechanical, rather than free-flowing. Three players who need to find their emotional sweet spot are Josh Hart (15.5 PPG), Ryan Arcidiacono (12.1 PPG) and Kris Jenkins (13.0 PPG). If this trio settles in early, they will not be fazed or rattle by what UNC-Asheville might offer.
Having gone through the experience should benefit the Wildcats and playing sound defense (63.7 PPG allowed on 40% shooting) can the calming force.