It's a Trap! Villanova, St. Mary's In Tough Spots Saturday

Jay Pryce

Saturday, February 18, 2017 2:29 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 2:29 PM UTC

No. 2 Villanova, playing its third straight on the road at Seton Hall, is laying 7 points in a meaningful Big East clash for the Pirates. No. 21 St. Mary's, meanwhile, is a road favorite at BYU, where it has lost three straight. It's a trap!

#2 Villanova vs Seton Hall

Analysis: The Prudential Center is not an easy stop for Villanova in recent years. Head coach Jay Wright’s squad has tipped off a 6.1 favorite on average in its last six visits with all but one game decided by more than five points. Seton Hall, in fact, has won two of the last four outright: in 2013 as a 4-point underdog (66-65) and in 2015 spotted 7.5 points (66-61).

Villanova thrashed the Pirates 76-46 in their first meeting back in mid-January, setting a program-record with 47 straight home wins. The Wildcats, coming off three road contests, were flat from the whistle shooting 29.1 percent from the field. Expect better this afternoon.

Seton Hall is a matchup nightmare for the Cats. Guard Khadeen Carrington, coming off a career-high 41 points against Creighton, can score from anywhere and will neutralize at least one in Wright’s dynamic backcourt. Junior center Angel Delgado leads the country in rebounding with a 13.2 average, and has notched a double-double in 18 of his last 19 games. Seton Hall has not allowed a visiting opponent to shoot better than 45 percent from the floor all season. Stingy defense will keep it competitive.

The Pirates are on the NCAA Tournament bubble, and a win here is vital for an invitation. They catch Villanova on the end of a three-game road trip and slightly overvalued in the betting market—the Wildcats are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games. The conditions are there for a big upset. Take the points with Seton Hall and sprinkle a little on the money line, too.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Seton Hall +7, MLBest Lines Offered: at 5Dimes

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#22 Saint Mary’s vs BYU

Analysis: St. Mary’s has entered Marriott Center ranked in the AP Poll in each of its last two visits. It has gone home a loser in both. In 2015, the then-No.21 Gaels fell 70-59 as 1-point underdogs. In 2014, also ranked 21, St. Mary’s was blown out 82-60 as a 5.5-point pup. In each, BYU’s defense proved the difference maker, holding the visitors to 12.5 and 16 points below their projected team total.

St. Mary’s is chalk in this year’s trip to Provo, spotting the Cougars 4.5 points. It easily handled BYU 81-68 at McKeon Pavilion in their Jan. 5 encounter. The contest proved a battle of big men with Cougars forward Eric Mika putting up 28 points, and Gaels center Jock Landale dropping 26 overall. St. Mary’s shot 55.4 percent from the field, slightly better than its 49.3 percent season average, which ranks seventh best nationally. The rims haven’t been as kind at BYU, where the Gaels have shot better than 42 percent once in their last five trips. Expect the Cougars to cover all their bases defensively. St. Mary’s is 1-7-1 ATS when held under 50 percent from the field this season. Its three losses on the year occurred in five games when held under 41 percent from the field. Take the points with the Cougars and a little moneyline action as well.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: BYU +4.5, MLBest Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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