Villanova Week In Review: With 5 Straight Wins, Is Villanova Poised For A Big East Conference Title?

Villanova Week In Review: With 5 Straight Wins, Is Villanova Poised For A Big East Conference Title?

Villanova Big East Conference Betting Odds For 2020

Last week, we addressed just how good Villanova was playing following consecutive 20-point victories over Temple and DePaul.

In a strange turn of events, Seton Hall dropped two straight games, suddenly putting them just a game ahead of both Villanova and Creighton in the conference. Over the past seven days, Villanova has kept their good form going, winning against both Xavier and St John’s.

Villanova has now won five straight and they’re positioned nicely to make a push for the conference title. The Wildcats will play Providence, Seton Hall, and Georgetown to close out the season and control their destiny in the conference.

A recap of last week

Last Saturday, Villanova made it four in a row with a win at Xavier in a game the Wildcats led from tip to the final horn. Villanova built a nine-point halftime lead before comfortably controlling the game the rest of the way. Saddiq Bey had more threes (4) than the entire Xavier team (3). The story of this game was that of bad math and poor shooting by both teams. Xavier outrebounded Villanova (+3) but turned the ball over 13 times to Villanova’s nine.

The Musketeers shot just 36% from the field and 3-12 from three, but Villanova wasn’t much better; shooting 41% and going 7-29 from deep. It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing game, but Villanova was aggressive enough and played some fairly solid defense. The win completed the season sweep for Villanova over Xavier.

In their two games, Xavier went just 4-23 from deep. With the loss, Xavier is now in danger of being on the cusp of the NCAA tournament. They have one victory over a ranked opponent (Seton Hall) and are currently likely going to be somewhere close to a 10-seed in the tournament if it started today. Xavier has big games against Providence and Butler coming up, as they’ll likely need to win one of those to ensure their place in the tournament.

On Wednesday, Villanova hosted another run of the mill Big East team in St John’s. Their first meeting at St John’s was a complete beatdown, as Collin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey combined for 40 points and 8-15 from three. This time around, Villanova was able to complete the season sweep, controlling the game throughout.

At the half, St John’s closed the Villanova lead to two, but a pair of threes from Villanova boosted the Wildcats lead early in the second half and they were able to ride the early scoring wave to victory. Justin Moore and Saddiq Bey combined for 44 points and 9-15 shooting from three. Villanova dominated the boards (+13). Despite the rebounding advantage, Villanova was a little sloppy offensively, turning the ball over 11 times to St John’s four. Four Villanova players had at least six rebounds in the win. Villanova was fairly average in the shooting department, going 43% from the field and 36% from three.

The 2020 Villanova schedule so far

NOV 5 (W) – Army 97-54

NOV 13 (L) – Ohio State 76-51

NOV 16 (W) – Ohio 78-54

NOV 21 (W) – MTSU 98-69

NOV 22 (W) – Mississippi St 83-76

NOV 24 (L) – Baylor 87-78

DEC 1 (W) – La Salle 83-72

DEC 4 (W) – Penn 80-69

DEC 7 (W) – Saint Joseph’s 78-66

DEC 14 (W) – Deleware 78-70

DEC 21 (W) – Kansas 56-55

DEC 30 (W) – Xavier 68-62

JAN 4 (L) – Marquette 71-60

JAN 7 (W) – Creighton 64-59

JAN 11 (W) – Georgetown 80-66

JAN 14 (W) – DePaul 79-75

JAN 18 (W) – UConn 61-55

JAN 21 (W) – Butler 76-61

JAN 25 (W) – Providence 64-60

JAN 28 (W) – St. John’s 79-59

FEB 1 (L) – Creighton 76-61

FEB 5 (L) – Butler 79-76

FEB 8 (L) – Seton Hall 70-64

FEB 12 (W) – Marquette 72-71

FEB 16 (W) – Temple 76-56

FEB 19 (W) – DePaul 91-71

FEB 22 (W) – Xavier 64-55

FEB 26 (W) – St John’s 71-60

Preview for this week

This Saturday, Villanova will host Providence in Philadelphia. The Friars are 16-12 on the season and need to finish strong to ensure a spot in the tournament. They are currently fourth in the Big East and are a full two games behind Villanova in the conference standings. In their first meeting on January 25th, Villanova traveled to the Dunkin Donuts Center and shut down the Friars on their home court, limiting them to 31% shooting from the field and 13% from three.

The Friars crushed Villanova on the boards (+12) but it wasn’t enough to overcome such a horrendous shooting day. I think Providence has a real shot to upset Villanova here. It’s imperative the Wildcats get more aggressive on the boards in this game, because Providence isn’t likely going to shoot as poorly as they did last time around. Though Villanova is a better shooting team across the board, Providence has the leg-up in two areas: rebounding and steals.

The Friars are ranked 26th in the country in steals (8.36 per game). I think this game is going to be a tough one for Villanova, but I like the way the team has been playing lately, so I like them to win this one at home and sweep the season series.

Next Wednesday, Villanova will head to Seton Hall, looking for revenge and a chance to win the Big East. In their first meeting, Seton Hall used a tremendous rebounding advantage (+11) and an abnormally strong three-point performance from Mamukelashvili (3-5) to surge in the second half and upend Villanova in Philadelphia.

Myles Powell shot his usual nine threes and connected with three (above his season average in that department). Villanova shot horribly in the game (36% from the field). The Wildcats absolutely need to get more aggressive on the glass this time around. They rely too often on their shooting and low-turnover offense and never as much on the boards. There’s only so much you can do about size, but Villanova can change the narrative of their inept rebounding by at least blocking out and crashing the glass more.

Villanova is +250 to win the conference tournament

The PlaySugarHouse PA odds are a little strange to me, since Seton Hall actually doesn’t have any odds listed in the conference tournament:

Villanova +250

Creighton +300

Butler +350

Marquette +450

Xavier +800

Providence +1200

Georgetown +2200

St John’s +2500

DePaul +3000

This is an interesting spread, but I’m not liking the odds for Villanova here. I don’t think it would be much of a surprise if Villanova, Seton Hall, Creighton, Butler, Marquette, or Providence win the conference tournament.

With such parity in the Big East, I’d be more of a fan taking a stab at Creighton +300 to win the conference, given their run of play lately. Villanova and Creighton are built as the best to thrive in a condensed schedule environment, but the parity is so clear, I just don’t feel confident in taking anyone at the top.

I think it’s worth a shot to take Providence at +1200 simply because of the incredible odds they’re getting. The Friars rebound well and if they get hot shooting at the right time, they could use it to carry themselves to a title.

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