Free NCAA Basketball Picks - Villanova Wildcats vs Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue player Vincent Edwards

Monday, November 14, 2016 2:49 PM GMT

Everyone will be out to take down the defending champion Villanova Wildcats, beginning with the Purdue Boilermakers. They are slight home 'dogs on the NCAA basketball odds.

 

With last year's NCAA Men's Basketball Championship comes the proverbial target on their backs for the Villanova Wildcats. They'll get their first real test of this campaign Monday night with a trip to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers.

An overflow crowd is expected at Mackey Arena for the matchup, and anyone not inside the gym will need the Big Ten Network to catch the tip a little past 7 PM (ET). BetOnline, now offering 50% free play bonus, sent the contest out as a pick 'em before action Sunday night pushed the spread to -2 in favor of Villanova. A total has yet to be released, so keep your browsers pointed to SBR's live NCAA basketball odds to catch that number later this morning.

It's the third meeting between the schools, and first not to take place on a neutral court. The most recent collision came almost exactly four years ago at the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. Favored by 1½, Purdue clawed back to force overtime only to prolong a Wildcats 81-80 triumph. That game had already sailed past a 137 point total by the time OT started.

 

Top Recruit Ineligible For 'Nova

Jay Wright and the Wildcats have had plenty of time to bask in last year's title run that culminated with a thrilling, final-shot win over North Carolina, the second No. 1 seed they took down in the tourney. Two of that team's mainstays are gone, Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu, but it may be a new recruit that Villanova misses the most this season.

Omari Spellman was expected to jump right into the power forward position as one of two 5-star recruits for Wright and the 'Cats, but the NCAA ruled the 6-9 freshman ineligible because he was dropped a grade five years ago after transferring between public and private schools.

A big loss, indeed, but one that shouldn't keep 'Nova from contending for the Big East crown and beyond. Fortunately, the Wildcats have last year's top two scorers back, Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins, plus Fordham transfer Eric Paschall is eligible after sitting last season. They've also got freshman Jalen Brunson in the fold, the 6-1 guard from Illinois starting in Friday's 88-48 win and cover over Lafayette while leading the way with 17 points and contributing seven boards without a turnover.

 

Strong Frontcourt For Boilermakers

This may be one of Matt Painter's best groups at Purdue, and that would help ease the pain of last season's 1st-round exit from the NCAA's. Despite the loss of AJ Hammons, the Boilermakers should still have a dominating frontcourt in the trio of Caleb Swanigan, Issac Haas and Vince Edwards.

Swanigan led the threesome in a 109-65 tune-up vs. McNeese State, a game that never made it to the college basketball odds board. The sophomore enjoyed a 23-20 evening on the scoring and rebounding fronts, also chipping in six assists, Carsen Edwards sparked the squad off the bench with 17.

It'll be a battle between Villanova's backcourt and Purdue's frontcourt, and my free college basketball pick will be on the home team plus the points.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: Purdue +2 Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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