NCAA Basketball Pick: Villanova Wildcats +3 over South Florida

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

In a game that may very well be decided by a large free throw differential, look for the hot Villanova Wildcats to stay hot in a possible upset over the South Florida Bulls Wednesday.

There could very well be an upset on Wednesday night when the hot Villanova Wildcats (10-4, 3-1 away) pay a visit to the South Florida Bulls (9-4, 7-2 home) at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, FL at 8:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Villanova as a small road underdog for this contest with the current line at +3 with odds of -105.

Villanova is a hot basketball team right now as the Wildcats have won six games in a row since beginning the year at 4-4, and they have not minded travelling either, winning three of their four true road games. Their sixth straight win came in the Big East opener at home in their last game last Wednesday vs. St. John’s where they won 98-86 in overtime, outscoring the Red Storm 15-3 during the extra session.

What really stands out about that contest is that Villanova shot 34-of-42 from the foul line, with those 34 makes being more foul shots than St. John’s attempted (12-20). So was this a case of some home cooking by the officials? Well, maybe partly but mostly not!

You see, Villanova has made going to the foul line an art form as it leads the country in FTA/FGA percentage at 54.0 percent. To give you an idea of how amazing that is, consider that the national average is only 35.6 percent. All of those trips to the foul line are the reason that a team that ranks just 92nd in the nation in offensive efficiency and 185th in effective field goal percentage at 47.8 percent is averaging a commendable 72.5 points per game.

Of course, it also helps that the Wildcats are shooting 72.8 percent from the foul line once they get there. To give you an idea of how important those free throws have been, consider that Villanova is shooting only 41.0 percent from the field over the last five games of its winning streak, and yet it is averaging 78.2 points in those games.
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So is this just a matter of luck? Well, probably not since the Cats have been going to the line a lot all year, and not just over the course of a few games. Rather, it is the sign of an aggressive team that drives to the basket to draw fouls a lot.

Now, South Florida is 9-4 but the Bulls have lost their only two games this season vs. Pomeroy Top 100 teams while not beating a single team ranked higher than 105th. Furthermore, their other two losses came to 175th ranked Western Michigan and 107th ranks UCF.

South Florida is not a good shooting team either, ranking 170th in the land with an effective field goal percentage of 48.2 percent, and unlike Villanova the Bulls do not make up for it by making a lot of trips to the foul line, in fact ranking only 210th in FGA/FTA percentage at a below average 34.0 percent.

Thus look for a typical Villanova game here where the Wildcats will probably have more free throws made than South Florida will have free throws attempted on Wednesday.

[gameodds]14/194660/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Villanova +3 (-105)

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