Villanova Will Prevail vs. Gonzaga in Jimmy V Classic

Willie Bee

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 2:10 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 2:10 PM UTC

The two winningest teams since the start of the 2014-15 campaign collide at MSG on Tuesday night, and we have a free college basketball pick for the Villanova-Gonzaga contest.

NCAAB Season Record: 8-11 (-3.55)

Free NCAAB Pick: Villanova -5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Villanova vs. Gonzaga

We’re still almost three weeks shy of Christmas Day, but college hoops fans have an early present to unwrap Tuesday in New York City with a couple of excellent matchups at the Jimmy V Classic. We’re focusing on the first contest of the doubleheader, which pits a pair of ranked squads in ESPN’s 7 PM (ET) telecast as the No. 4 Villanova Wildcats meet the No. 12 Gonzaga Bulldogs.

It’s the first time the two perennial powers have met, and the battle will be followed by a clash of longtime rivals when Syracuse takes on UConn. BetOnline has the Wildcats favored by 5 after opening the line -4, and totals are presently running 148-148½.

’Nova Taking 1-Game Break From Philly Big 5 Schedule

Jay Wright brings Villanova to the Garden ranked No. 4 in the two conventional polls and sitting atop the latest Pomeroy Ratings. The Wildcats are once again one of most efficient teams on offense, connecting on better than 50% of their field goals and also among the nation’s leaders allowing opponents less than 62 PPG. Wright’s 8-man rotation features five players averaging double-digits, led by junior guard Mikal Bridges (17.9 ppg).

Villanova spent the last week knocking out half of its Philadelphia Big 5 fixture. The Wildcats had little trouble dispatching both Pennsylvania and Saint Joseph’s, netting at least 50% of their 3-point shots and covering the NCAA basketball odds in both games. Undefeated in the series the last four seasons, Villanova will shoot for their fifth consecutive city title when it completes the schedule after this matchup with contests against LaSalle and Temple.

Kispert A Game-Time Decision For Few & Zags

With just the one double-overtime loss to Florida on their record, Mark Few and the Bulldogs sit 12/13 in the AP and coaches poll, No. 11 according to KenPom. Gonzaga has strung together 3 straight wins since that setback, most recently taking down a solid Creighton crew this past Friday with a 91-74 decision that almost doubled-up a -9 line.

The Bulldogs are even more efficient at putting the ball in the cylinder with a 51.2 field-goal percentage that ranks 11th in the country. Six players are scoring at least 10 per game, but Gonzaga might be without one of those tonight with freshman forward Corey Kispert (ankle) questionable after missing the game with the Bluejays. Few spread Kispert’s minutes around in the win over Creighton, Killian Tillie the biggest benefactor with a game-high 22 points.

Talent abounds on both teams, but two big freshmen could be the keys tonight, Omari Spellman of the Wildcats and the Bulldogs’ Rui Hachimura. I give that edge to the former and my free college basketball pick on the ‘Cats.

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