NCAA Basketball Picks: Take Villanova To Cover ATS vs. Hobbled Providence Team

Jay Pryce

Saturday, February 6, 2016 12:21 AM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 12:21 AM GMT

Two of the Big East's best clash on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET) when No.3 Villanova and No. 11 Providence tangle in the Dunkin' Donuts Center. The Wildcats hope to avenge a 82-76 overtime defeat to the Friars as 12.5-point home chalk two weeks ago.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Villanova -4.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Two of the Big East's best clash on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET) when No.3 Villanova and No. 11 Providence tangle in the Dunkin' Donuts Center. The Wildcats hope to avenge a 82-76 overtime defeat to the Friars as 12.5-point home chalk two weeks ago.

 

Villanova Wildcats (19-3 SU, 10-11 ATS)
Coach Jay Wright's squad is Final Four material. It ranks in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, scoring 115.2 points (20th) and allowing a paltry 90.5 per 100 possessions (sixth).

The offense is led by a trio of guards that love to shoot the three: Josh Hart (15.5 ppg), Kris Jenkins (11.0 ppg), and freshman Jalen Brunson (10.3 ppg). Their 26.0 attempts per game is 16th most in the nation. But Providence, with its big, physical guards, is one of the best at covering the arc. It holds teams to a 31.2 success rate from behind the three-point line, 38th best in NCAAB.

The Friars got the better of Villanova in the area in the first matchup, holding it to 9-for-31 from downtown. When the Wildcats fail to shoot 30 percent or better, they are 7-2 SU, 2-6 ATS on the year, failing to reach their team total by an average of 11.7 points per game. Since December 1, the Wildcats are 5-3, 2-6 ATS against defenses yielding 33 percent or less from the three-point land.

 

Providence Friars (18-5 SU, 13-9 ATS)
The Friars fell to DePaul 77-70 in Chicago on Tuesday after sophomore forward and Big East leading scorer Ben Bentil (19.7 ppg) exited with an ankle injury in the first half. Bentil, one of the nation's most improved players, was held to a season-low 6 points in just 14 minutes after putting up double digits in 19 straight.

Results of his X-rays were negative and he is officially listed as day-to-day. If he does play, it will surely be on a limited basis--he can't be 100 percent. Not the best news for the Friars, as he is carrying the load on both ends of the hardwood right now. Bentil had a huge night in the first meeting, posting a double-double with 31 points and 13 rebounds on 11-of-19 shooting. Kris Dunn (17.2 ppg), a future NBA'er and the favorite for the Bob Cousy Award designating the NCAA's top point guard, can makeup for the loss versus most opponents, but may struggle against one of the nation's most talented backcourts.

Providence has been punching above its weight this season, to be honest. It's defense is stifling, holding teams to 94.2 points per 100 possessions, 20th best efficiency in the nation. But the offense goes missing in many games, particularly since the New Year. The cold weather in New England must be affecting the team's shooting, as the Friars average 38.3 percent from the field in nine games during this span.

 

Final Analysis
The Friars are at a huge disadvantage with Bentil hobbled, as it showed in the Depaul game. Their defense will still give the Wildcats tough matchups across the floor, and will be energized by the home crowd. The unit should keep it close. Nonetheless, points may be hard to come by, making Villanova at -4.5 NCAA Basketball odds the play for your NCAA Basketball picks.

comment here