Gambling NewsSports Betting NewsSports Betting Picks

Houston Cougars vs Villanova Wildcats Betting Preview

The Elite Eight gets kicked off Saturday morning with an AAC versus Big East matchup as the No. 5 Houston Cougars (32-5) take on the No. 2 Villanova Wildcats (29-7). The AT&T Center will play host for this matchup, with tipoff scheduled for 6:09 pm ET.

Houston comes into this one absolutely rolling. They have won six in a row, including a 72-60 win over No. 1 Arizona in their last matchup.

In the win over the Wildcats, Jamal Shead led all scorers with 21 points while Kyler Edwards added 19. More impressively, they allowed Arizona, who ranked third in the nation in scoring at 84 points per game, just 60 points.

Villanova has also been on a nice run, winning eight straight. In the Sweet 16, they took down the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines 63-55.

Jermaine Samuels had a game-high 22 points in the win to go along with seven rebounds. Justin Moore and Collin Gillespie combined for 27 in the victory.

Despite being the lower seed, Houston is the slight favorite in this one. They are -134 to win while the Wildcats’ moneyline sits at +112. The spread features Villanova +2 (-110), and the over/under for total points is 128.

By The Numbers

Statistically, Houston has had the better offense to date. They rank 44th in the nation averaging 75.7 points per game. Villanova ranks 105th, averaging 72.5 points.

Defensively, it is again Houston with the advantage. They rank third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 59 points per game. Villanova ranks 21st, allowing 62.7 points.

Houston Looks To Get Back To The Final Four

Last year snapped a 37-year drought for the Houston Cougars between Final Four appearances. On Saturday, they will attempt to make it back-to-back years as head coach Kelvin Sampson and the Cougars attempt to take down Villanova.

Solid on both ends of the floor, the Cougars have leaned on their fantastic defense to this tournament as they have allowed opponents an average of 60.3 points per game. These have not been slouches on offense, either, as two of the teams rank in the top-12 in scoring, with the third-ranked 59th.

Offensively, the team has been led by senior guard Kyler Edwards. He is averaging 14.1 points, six rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.

Other major contributors for the Cougars include Fabian White Jr (12.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.4 blocks), Josh Carlton (11.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks), and Taze Moore (10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals).

Villanova Looks To Continue Hot Streak

For as well as the Cougars have been playing, Villanova has been equally as dominant. They have won eight in a row, including winning their last two regular-season games, rolling through the Big East tournament, and now winning the first three games of the NCAA tournament.

The team has been led by guards Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore. Gillespie is averaging 15.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and a steal per game.

Not to be outdone, Moore is averaging 15 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and a steal.

The Wildcats have two others averaging double digits in Jermaine Samuels (11 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists) and Caleb Daniels (10.2 points, 3.7 rebounds).

Take Villanova And The Points

After knocking out a No. 12, No. 4, and No. 1 seed, Houston is without a doubt flexing its muscles as an underseeded powerhouse in this tournament. For as much fanfare as Houston has been getting, though, Villanova has quietly been taking care of business too.

These two teams are relatively similar in that they don’t have a ton of star power, but they have teams that simply get the job done on both ends of the floor.

One area that Villanova does have a significant advantage in is their free-throw shooting. They rank first in the nation in free throw percentage at 82.6%. The Cougars rank 327th shooting just 66.7%.

When it gets to the Elite Eight, you have to expect these to be close ballgames, and one of the easiest ways to help secure a win in a close game is to knock down your free throws.

Expect this game to be close throughout, and for that reason, take Villanova and the points.

Take Villanova +2.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also