South Region: Saint Mary’s vs Villanova Prediction
Saint Mary’s vs Villanova Preview
The reigning National Champs were very business-like (except that one guy) when they were given a No.6 seed in the South region against a very hot No.11 Saint Mary’s Gaels team that is fresh off a win in the WCC Tournament finals against then-No.1 Gonzaga.
Cats are heading to Hartford! 📍 pic.twitter.com/jGtgJr0xZ4
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) March 17, 2019
Besides the one player who didn’t realize–but Nova does not celebrate 6-seeds and they hope this NCAA Tournament is just like last year’s (outside of seeding).
Three players are key to Villanova’s success in the Tournament this season:
Phil Booth- 18.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists per game.
Eric Paschall- 16.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game.
Collin Gillespie- 11.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists per game.
Booth and Paschall were crucial members of last year’s championship squad and as seniors, they provide experience you can’t measure in March. With those two on the floor, no moment will be too large. Gillespie can get hot from anywhere on the floor and shoot Villanova back in a game, or way ahead of an opponent.
For Saint Mary’s they are here because they received an automatic berth–they would not have been an at-large candidate this season.
Winners of seven of their last eight games, the Gaels are hot and feature two players who will need to be cooled if Villanova wants to repeat.
Jordan Ford- 21.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists—he shoots over 41 percent from three-point range.
Malik Fitts- 15.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals per game.
The upset isn’t likely–but if the Gaels have any magic left, Ford and Fitts will need to have career nights.
70 is the magic number
Villanova is 19-4 this season when scoring 70 or more points in a game (.826). When it fails to reach that threshold, it is 5-5 (.500).
The Wildcats are 1-2 all-time vs. the Gaels with the last meeting taking place in the 2010 NCAA Tournament (St. Mary’s won 75-68).
LINE: -5 Villanova
Dan’s Bet: -5 Villanova
Bracket Pick: Villanova
Score Prediction: Villanova 74 Saint Mary’s 62