Better Chance of Winning the Lottery than Mount St. Mary’s Beating Villanova

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:36 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2017 7:36 PM UTC

Does Mount St. Mary’s have any chance of covering against Villanova? Will Villanova be mentally sharp against a vastly inferior opponent? SBR contributor Ross Benjamin provides those answers and much more.

  Mount St. Mary’s vs. Villanova

First Four, South Region
Thursday, March 16th - 7:10 pm E.T

Top seed Villanova (31-3) begins its quest for a second straight national championship when they take on #16 seed Mount St. Mary’s (20-15) on Thursday at Key Bank Center in Buffalo, New York. Villanova arrived in Buffalo on Monday with the anticipation of possible travel issues due to inclement weather in the northeast. Conversely, Mount St. Mary’s had to jump on a plane last night after escaping with a 67-66 win over New Orleans in Dayton. With current blizzard-like conditions in Buffalo, it had to make for an uncomfortable flight and ride to their downtown Buffalo hotel.

At the time of this writing (3/15), March Madness betting odds indicate that Villanova is a 26.5 to 27.0-point favorite. The total on this contest ranges anywhere from 134.5 to 135.5. I’m sure you’ll hear this numerous times over the next few days, but I would be remiss not to mention it. Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64, and then ultimately a 68-team field, no #16 seed has ever defeated a #1.


Massive Underdog Relies Heavily on Guards

Mount St. Mary’s top 4 scorers are all guards. Their top 2 point getters are 5’5 Junior Robinson and 6’0 Elijah Long. Both Robinson and Long are adept at beating defenders off the dribble. However, they’ll have a difficult time doing so against Villanova’s 3 starting guards which go 6’3, 6’6, and 6’7. Not to mention the fact that Villanova is one of the top defensive teams in the country (62.8 PPG).


Huge Advantage on Boards for Nova

St. Mary’s went up against 5 major conference teams during the non-conference portion of its schedule. They were 0-5 in those contests, and lost by a substantial average of 20.8 points per game. A major reason for those lopsided defeats was their inability to stay competitive on the glass. During those 5 outings, Mount St. Mary’s had a -16.0 rebound per game differential. Although Villanova isn’t a great rebounding team statistically (+3 RPG), the level of competition they’ve faced must be accounted for. Expect very little second chance opportunities for Mount St. Mary’s, and keeping Villanova off the offensive glass will be a monumental task for the Mountaineers.


Final Thoughts and Pick

The only team that’s going to prevent Villanova from covering this enormous point spread is Villanova. That’s highly improbable to happen. Despite being reluctant to lay this many points, I’ll have a very slight lean toward the defending national champions covering for one of my March Madness predictions.


Free NCAAB Pick: Villanova -26.5Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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