NCAA Tournament: Villanova vs. Saint Mary’s fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Thursday, March 21
Game Time: 7:20 ET
Venue: XL Center, Hartford, CT
All You Really Need To Know About Villanova (25-9)
(Big East), NCAA NET Rank: 26. South 6-seed
This might not be the team of the last few seasons, but it still managed to win five of its last six games and took the Big East title. The veterans are good enough to carry all of the youth – to a point. Phil Booth and Eric Paschall are experienced and should be reliable, but this isn’t a deep team.
It’s Villanova – it’s amazing from three. If it’s lights out from beyond the arc, it wins. But there’s not a lot of size and there isn’t enough happening on the boards. The explosion and big runs aren’t there, but as long as the games are in the 70s and the threes are falling, look out.
All You Really Need To Know About Saint Mary’s (22-11)
(WCC), NCAA NET Rank: 32. South 11-seed
The Gaels were right there on the bubble, right up until they ripped apart Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament title game. From February on, they’re 9-2, with the two losses coming to Gonzaga, and they’ve got the make-up to be dangerous in the early rounds.
It’s a big team, but the star is 6-1 guard Jordan Ford for an offense that likes to slowwwww things down if possible. The Gaels don’t move the ball around, and they don’t block enough shots considering their overall length, but they hit just about everything from the field, nail their free throws, and they don’t screw up.
What’s Going To Happen
Saint Mary’s is going to be a big, big, literally big problem for Villanova. The Gaels’ size will matter, and the perimeter defense will be just good enough to not let the Wildcat offense go off. However, the West Coast Conference tournament champions won’t force enough mistakes when the defending national champs are whipping the ball around, and the offense won’t be sharp enough. It’ll be a fight with both defenses doing a nice job, but Villanova will survive and advance on the free throw line.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Villanova 71, Saint Mary’s 64
Line: Villanova -5.5, o/u: 130.5
ATS Confidence: 1.5
5: Watching games by Vegas pool working on fruity drink No. 3
1: Watching game online while doing TPS reports in your cubicle