Early 2017 March Madness Final Four Picks

Marquette at Villanova Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

Written by on January 6, 2017

There will be a new No. 1 team in the country in Monday’s polls as top-ranked Villanova enters Saturday’s Big East game off its first loss of the season. Could the Wildcats actually lose again to Marquette? Nova will be a solid favorite on college basketball odds.

Marquette at Villanova Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, Jan. 7, 7:30 PM ETWhere: Wells Fargo Center, PhiladelphiaTV: Fox Sports 1Stream: Fox Sports GoRadioMarquette / VillanovaOpening NCAA Basketball Lines: Villanova favored by TBA

Why Bet On Marquette?

The Golden Eagles (10-4) come off a 69-66 loss at Seton Hall. Khadeen Carrington scored five of his 12 points on one extended possession in the final 30 seconds and Seton Hall pulled it out. Katin Reinhardt, who had five 3s and 15 points in the first half, scored on a backdoor layup for his only points of the second half, putting Marquette up 66-63 with 38 seconds left. After a timeout, Carrington made a driving layup and was fouled with 26.9 seconds remaining.When Carrington missed the free throw, Ismael Sanogo outhustled the Warriors for the rebound and was fouled. Sanogo missed the front end of the 1-and- 1 but in a scramble, Carrington came up with the loose ball in the key and was fouled as he scored. His free throw made it 68-66 with 21.3 seconds to play. Sanogo then made a steal with 10.7 seconds left and Carrington was fouled at 9.5 — making just one free throw. However Marquette turned it over near midcourt and time ran out.Marquette is 1-9 all-time against the top-ranked squad in the land, with the victory coming in the 2003 Elite Eight when the team downed Kentucky 83-69 to earn a trip to the Final Four in New Orleans.Current staff member Travis Diener was the starting point guard on that team. Villanova defeated MU 89-79 on Feb. 27, 2016 in the most recent top-ranked outing. Guards Haanif Cheatham and Jajuan Johnson both had 19 points in the setback for the Golden Eagles, who shot over 50 percent from the field as a team. Marquette has lost eight straight vs. Villanova.The Golden Eagles hosted top-ranked Cincinnati on Jan. 23, 2000 in the only game against the highest- rated squad at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Golden Eagles are 116-187 all-time versus programs in the top-25 at the time of the matchup, including a 43-115 mark against top-10 squads.

Why Bet On Villanova?

The Wildcats’ 20-game winning streak ended in Wednesday’s 66-58 loss at No. 18 Butler. Star Josh Hart was 3 of 11 from the field and 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. He wasn’t the only one having a rough night. Kris Jenkins, the championship game hero, had 11 points. Villanova shot a season-low 37.3 percent from the field and was just 6 of 26 from beyond the arc. Jalen Brunson had 23 points for Villanova, outscored 25-6 in points off the bench.The Bulldogs held Villanova (14-1), who had been averaging 1.20 points per possession on the season, to just 0.97 per trip, and became the first team to hold the defending national champs to under a point per possession since Kansas in the Elite Eight last year.After losing 69-67 to Seton Hall in the Big East championship game, Villanova won six straight in the NCAA Tournament to capture its second national title. Then the Wildcats won their first 14 games this season for the longest winning streak in school history.Even with that lousy game, Hart is the leader for the National Player of the Year Award. Hart considered turning pro last year, but college basketball fans are glad he returned for his senior season. He’s the leading scorer (19.8 points per game) and leading rebounder (6.9 per game) for the defending national champs.Villanova holds a 19-9 advantage over Marquette in an all-time series that dates back to 1960, but over half of the matchups (20) have come since the Golden Eagles joined the Big East Conference in 2005-06. Along with regular season and tournament matchups in league play, the two teams also squared off in the 1963 National Invitation Tournament and the 1980 NCAA Championship. Marquette downed the Wildcats 66-58 in the NIT, but fell 77-59 in the opening round of the NCAA’s in Providence, R.I. MU’s last win over the Wildcats was an 82-78 decision on Jan. 28, 2012 in the Wells Fargo Center.

Marquette at Villanova Expert Pick: Villanova Wildcats

Villanova will play angry and cover this NCAA betting spread.