#3 Villanova vs Seton Hall

#3 Villanova vs Seton Hall Route to March Madness

Written by on January 29, 2021

No. 3 Villanova remains the only team without a loss in Big East play, but the Wildcats are definitely on upset alert when they visit dangerous Seton Hall on Saturday. Nova likely will be a short favorite on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Villanova at Seton Hall NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

These teams just played on Jan. 19 in what was Villanova’s return from a long COVID absence and the Wildcats prevailed 76-74.  Cole Swider hit the winning free throw with 1.9 seconds left. Seton Hall’s last-gasp desperation pass was bobbled out of bounds by Sandro Mamukelashvili. Following the turnover by Mamukelashvili, another free throw by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl for Villanova with a second to go made it 76-74.

Why Bet on Villanova? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Wildcats (10-1) were supposed to play Thursday at UConn but it was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result among the officiating crew that worked Tuesday night’s game between the Huskies and Butler.  No makeup date has been announced.

This week, Villanova’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was announced as one of 10 finalists for the 2021 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. Named after Class of 2010 Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Karl Malone, the annual honor in its seventh year recognizes the top power forwards in Division I men’s college basketball. Dayton’s Obi Toppin won it last year.

Villanova enters weekend action in 10th place in the Big East in Field Goal Percentage Defense (.463). They rank ninth in the league in 3-Point Field Goal Percentage Defense (.366).

“I think Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is one of the best defensive players in the country,” coach Jay Wright said. “He can guard any position and it helps everybody else. Justin Moore is the same kind of guy, believe it or not. Our other teams could do that, but not as well as this team. Other teams were better offensively.”

Were the NCAA Tournament to start today, the Wildcats probably would be the No. 1 seed in the East. Probably a good chance that Nova wins here considering Seton Hall is now 2-36 all-time against foes ranked No. 1, 2 or 3 in the Associated Press Top 25, although the wins were over third-ranked Villanova in the 2014 and 2016 Big East tournaments.

Why Bet on Seton Hall? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Seaton Hall (9-7) has played once since that first Villanova loss and it was Wednesday’s 85-81 home loss to No. 17 Creighton. Mitch Ballock hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 41 seconds to play to cap a season-high 29-point performance and Creighton overcame a 16-point second-half deficit. The Bluejays were at their best in the final 2:57, closing with a 14-2 run to steal one from Seton Hall. The last time Creighton overcame a 15-point deficit to win was on Nov. 18, 2014, in a 65-63 decision over Oklahoma.

Seton Hall had a chance to tie it with eight seconds to play, but Shavar Reynolds‘ off-balance 3-pointer was not close.

“This team has played unselfish all year,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “I said this at the beginning of the year if we’re going to try to outscore (teams), we’re going to have a hard time doing that. We have to dig in and get late stops. We haven’t been able to do that this year.”

Bryce Aiken scored a season-high 21 points, and Myles Cale added 20 in the loss. Aiken was an efficient 7-for-10 shooting from the floor and grabbed four rebounds in only 18 minutes.  Cale tallied his points on 8-for-12 shooting and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Cale reached 20 points for the second time this season and the fifth time in his career.  Additionally, it’s his 11th game reaching double-figures this year and the 34th time of his career.

Seton Hall was 29-for-59 (49.2%) from the floor for the game, while Creighton was 30-for-64 (46.9%).  The Hall was 9-for-25 (36.0%) from three-point range, while the Bluejays were 17-for-35 (48.6%). The Hall out-rebounded Creighton, 40-to-31, with an edge on the offensive glass, 11-to-9.

It was only Seton Hall’s 15th loss since the start of the 2015-16 season when leading the game by seven more points. The Pirates are 109-15 (.879) in those situations. It was also Seton Hall’s ninth loss under head coach Kevin Willard when scoring 80 or more points. The Pirates are 81-9 (.900) when scoring 80 for Willard. Finally, it was only the second time in 11 games this season that Seton Hall has lost despite outshooting its opponent.

Senior Sandro Mamukelashvili has been named one of the top 10 candidates for the 2021 Karl Malone Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate power forward. He is the only player to rank in the Big East top 15 in scoring (4th, 17.9 PPG), rebounding (8th, 6.9 RPG) and assists (13th, 3.3 APG), and he is one of only five players in the Power Six conferences to register multiple 30-point games this season.

Expert Prediction

  • Villanova 73, Seton Hall 72
 
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