Providence vs #3 Villanova

Providence vs #3 Villanova | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on January 22, 2021

After a long COVID layoff, Villanova returned to the court finally on Tuesday with a close win over Seton Hall. On Saturday, the Wildcats will be favored on the NCAAB odds against a middling but upset capable Providence side in Big East action.

How to Bet Providence at Villanova NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

The teams split last season. The one at Villanova was a 58-54 Friars upset when they were unranked and the Wildcats were 12th. Luwane Pipkins scored 27 points to lead PC; he’s no longer with the team. In trailing 30-18 at the half, Villanova missed 12 of 14 3s, made five turnovers and missed seven of nine from the free-throw line. The Friars at one point missed seven straight shots and 12 of 15 overall in the second half and still led by 10.

Why Bet on Providence? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Providence (8-6) pulled off a 74-70 upset at No. 11 Creighton on Wednesday. The Friars built an early 17-point lead before Creighton battled back to 39-34 at halftime. The Bluejays fell behind by double digits again in the second half and then made late runs that fell short.

Creighton was within two points four times in the final six minutes, the last two occasions in the last 57 seconds. The teams traded free throws before Marcus Zegarowski banked in a one-handed 3 of his own with 5.6 seconds left. David Duke put the game out of reach with two free throws at the end.

Nate Watson finished with a career-high 29 points in the game for PC. The Friars had four players in double-figures, in Watson, Alvyn Breed (15 points), Duke (12 points), and Jimmy Nichols (10 points). The quartet certainly carried Providence on offense, as nobody on the team scored more than four points on the night.

Duke finished with a game-high five assists. He leads the Friars and ranks third in the Big East in scoring (19.9 ppg). He also leads the team in assists (4.8 apg). Reeves pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. The Friars never trailed in the game, as well as out-rebounded the Bluejays by eight.

“You have to continue to drive hope and inspiration into your guys,” Coach Ed Cooley said. “When you have players like Nate and David on the floor, you are going to give yourself an opportunity night in and night out.”

Providence finished 25-56 (44.6%) from the field, 5-18 (27.8%) from three, and 19-26 (73.1%) from the free throw line. Creighton finished 25-58 (43.1%) from the field, 4-23 (17.4%) from three, and 16-24 (66.7%) from the free throw line.

The Friars have posted a 122-270 mark all-time versus top-25 teams, including 1-1 this season.

Why Bet on Villanova? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Wildcats returned from a long COVID break on Tuesday with a 76-74 home win over Seton Hall. The game was tied at 74 with Seton Hall in possession as the clock wound under 10 seconds. The Wildcats forced a missed 3-pointer by Shavar Reynolds Jr. Junior Cole Swider grabbed the key defensive rebound and sank one of two free throw attempts with 1.9 seconds left. A Jeremiah Robinson-Earl free throw after a Seton Hall turnover provided the final margin of victory.

The Pirates’ last-gasp desperation pass was bobbled out of bounds by Sandro Mamukelashvili. The 6-foot-11 Mamukelashvili had an open look and could have dunked home the go-ahead bucket with a clean catch.

Villanova (9-1 overall, 4-0 Big East) was carried by seniors Collin Gillespie (22 points) and Jermaine Samuels (20 points and nine rebounds). Samuels was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, finished several impressive drives, and was key to slowing down Jared Rhoden in the second half.

“I am truly amazed by Jermaine Samuels,” Coach Jay Wright said. “He literally practiced one day. Had Covid and couldn’t practice until (Monday). To come out and be able to play like that is truly incredible. Collin Gillespie had four days of practice and played 38 minutes. Those guys’ stamina and Cole hitting a big free throw at the end was huge.”

Wright decided to bring Samuels and Caleb Daniels off the bench, the first time in 10 games he has gone with a different starting lineup. Brandon Slater and Cole Swider started in their place.

Nova was cleared to practice on Jan. 3, only for another series of positive tests to arrive the following day. The Wildcats weren’t allowed to practice again until last week and got the roster cleared on Monday. Villanova had four games postponed since it beat Marquette on Dec. 23.

Expert Prediction

  • Villanova 77, Providence 68

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