The 2016 Villanova Wildcats face a nearly identical situation to the one that the now legendary 1985 team faced.
You see, way back then, (and yes, my old ass remembers it like it was yesterday) the Ed Pinckney-led Wildcats faced what looked like the virtually impossible task of taking down Patrick Ewing and the mighty Georgetown Hoyas in a contest that no one outside of their own locker room believed they would win. As college hoops fans everywhere now know, those 1985 Wildcats pulled off the impossible by shooting an insane percentage from the field in what is now viewed as the ‘perfect’ game and benefited in the College Basketball betting odds.
The 2016 Wildcats now face a nearly identical task as their predecessors as they try to take down a North Carolina team that is brimming with elite athletic talent. While many prognosticators are picking the Tar Heels to beat the Wildcats, there’s clearly a lesson to be learned from those 1985 Wildcats.
Now, let’s find out if Villanova can pull off the big-time ‘upset’.
Sure Pick for the NCAA Basketball Championship Game and TV Info
Why Bet Villanova +2 Points
The second-seeded Wildcats (34-5 SU, 20-17-1 ATS) have been playing some insane defense and that alone makes them a great wager in this contest.
Villanova limited No. 15 UNC Asheville to just 56 points in the first round while holding No. 7 Iowa to 68 points in the second round. The Wildcats then held No. 3 Miami to just 69 points in the Sweet 16 before shutting down No. 1 overall seed Kansas in the Elite Eight by holding the Jayhawks to just 59 points. Villanova looked even better in their next game, shutting down Oklahoma superstar shooting guard Buddy Hield while limiting the Sooners to just 51 points in a record-setting 44-point win.
If that isn’t enough, you should also know the Wildcats are collectively, pretty much making every shot they take. Villanova has great balance offensively and remind me of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs in the way they always have five players on the floor that can put the ball in the hole.
Why Bet North Carolina -2 Points
The Tar Heels (33-6 SU, 20-18-1 ATS) look like a great pick in this contest mostly because they have superior athletic talent and a big edge in the height department. North Carolina has basically been overwhelming their opponents with a blitz-like offense that features waves of lanky high fliers.
Through five games, North Carolina is averaging a stellar 88.0 points per game during their March Madness run while limiting their opponents to an average of just 71.8 points per game.
The Heels are led by All-American forward Brice Johnson (17.1 ppg), but North Carolina also has two heady guards in Marcus Paige (12.3 ppg) and Joel Berry II (12.7 ppg) and a trio of freakishly athletic forwards in Isaiah Hicks (9.1 ppg), Justin Jackson (12.2 ppg) and Kennedy Meeks (9.2 ppg).
Expert Betting Prediction and Pick
While it may seem like there’s no good reason to believe the Villanova Wildcats can overcome North Carolina’s athleticism and length, I believe the Wildcats are going to do just that, much like their predecessors did back in 1985.
Villanova gets double figure scoring from four players with two of them being backcourt mates Josh Hart (15.3 ppg) and Ryan Arcidiacono (12.3 ppg) while the other two are frontcourt starters Kris Jenkins (13.5 ppg) and Daniel Ochefu (10.1 ppg).
I know that Carolina’s Brice Johnson has proven to be almost unstoppable in putting up 20.0 points per game during their March Madness run, but I expect Ochefu to virtually cancel out Johnson’s contributions while sweet-shooting small forward Kris Jenkins beats Carolina’s other bigs by pulling them away from the basket.
The Cats are averaging a healthy 84.8 points per game during the tournament, but it is on the defensive end of the floor where the Wildcats really excel. Villanova has held their five tourney opponents to a mind-boggling average of just 60.6 points per game and it is that kind of defense that will help the Wildcats get the huge win in the 2016 national championship.
While North Carolina has gone 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall and 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 neutral site games, Villanova has gone 4-0 ATS in their last four NCAA Tournament games and an insane 34-15-2 ATS in their last 51 non-conference games.
My final score prediction is Villanova 78 North Carolina 75