The Big East has proven the best to back against the spread in ranked action on home hardwood over the last 10 years. Will No. 1 Villanova take care of business against No. 12 Virginia on Sunday? History says yes, but head coach Tony Bennett's team is revisionist in nature.
No. 1 Villanova hosts No. 12 Virginia Sunday afternoon in the day’s only ranked action, putting a capstone on a weekend of rare, elite non-conference matchups. The Big 12-SEC Challenge served up No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 4 Kentucky yesterday. This matchup is, even more, choice according to Kenpom with the Cavaliers ranked second and ‘Nova fourth. If history is to judge, expect the Wildcats to claw their way to a victory and take care of business in the betting market.
Villanova, a 5-point favorite to defend its perfect 10-0 record at the Wells Fargo Center, Today’s game is a spot elite Big East teams have executed very well in over the last decade. Since 2006, the powerhouse basketball conference is 94-48 SU and 79-60-2 ATS (57 percent) in ranked action on the home hardwood. The Big East’s ATS record tops all conferences with those playing 20 games or more in this stretch. In rare out-of-conference ranked matchups, it is 21-12 ATS winning by 5.6 points per contest. Year in and year out the Big East is one of the most talent-laden divisions in the country with a grueling schedule. Top teams prove their worth and often reward bettors in the process.
An upset in the UVA-Villanova game would be a shocker in the history books. The Cavs, 6-1 on the road this season after a 71-54 victory over No. 14 Notre Dame at South Bend, are 1-28 all-time against the No. 1 team in the nation. They last beat the top-ranked Tar Heels in 1986. UVA, however, is 15-6 ATS on the road against top-25 foes under head coach Tony Bennett. Only three of these matchups were outside of the ACC, where the Wahoos won each outright (Oklahoma, LSU, and Wisconsin).
Ranked action to look out for in the Big East in the coming week is No. 11 Butler vs. No. 16 Creighton at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Tuesday (Jan. 31). The Bulldogs fell to Georgetown 85-81 as 9.5-point chalk yesterday, but will likely remain in the AP Poll. Creighton, on the other hand, will be on the bubble after losing two of its last three with the season-ending loss of star point guard Marcus Watson Jr. to a knee injury. The Blue Jays are 1-2 ATS in their last three trips to Indianapolis.
Creighton hosts No. 24 Xavier next Saturday (Feb. 4). Like the Blue Jays, the Musketeers will flirt with rankings after a 1-1 week in which it topped Georgetown but dropped a tough road game at Cincinnati 86-78 as 5.5-point underdogs. Xavier has lost its last six in a row against the number to Creighton.