#3 Villanova Wildcats (16-1; 10-6 ATS: 6-10 O/U) vs. St. John’s Red Storm (8-10 ATS; 8-9 ATS; 10-7 O/U)
NCAAB: Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 12:00pm EST
Line: Villanova -13.5
The third ranked Villanova Wildcats will take on the St. John’s Red Storm in a Big 12 battle Saturday afternoon from Madison Square Garden. Villanova is coming off a solid 79-54 win over Xavier on Tuesday night, and St. John’s struggled in an 83-55 thumping from Georgetown in their latest action. Villanova won both meetings easily last season.
Villanova Cruises Past 15th Ranked Xavier
The Villanova Wildcats flexed their offensive muscle in a convincing 79-54 home win over 15th ranked Xavier on Tuesday night. The Wildcats went 28 for 52 good for 52% shooting from the field, and held a strong Xavier team to only 29% shooting. Kris Jenkins was outstanding, sinking 20 points and made four three-pointers in the win. The senior forward has now scored 20 or more points in three out of his last four games, and is third in team scoring averaging 14.2 points per game. Josh Hart also continued his strong play in the victory, scoring 20 points on 7 for 16 shooting. Hart is one of the best players in the Big East, leading the conference in scoring with an average of 19.8 points per game, and also leads his team with 6.7 rebounds per game. The Wildcats have rebounded nicely from their loss to Butler last week, winning two straight against two strong teams, and could move back into the first spot in the Top 25 with a loss to number one ranked Baylor.
Villanova features a strong scoring punch, averaging 79.3 points per game, ranking them 64th overall, and are shooting a sizzling 50.7% as a team. The Wildcats play strong defense, allowing an average of 62.9 points per game, placing them 23rd overall.
Red Storm Struggle Offensively in Loss to Georgetown
The St. John’s Red Storm went cold in the second half in a 83-55 road loss to Georgetown on Monday night. The Red Storm finished the night shooting a weak 27.6% from the field, and were out-rebounded by a wide 50-30 margin in the loss. Shamorie Ponds led St. John’s with 12 points in the loss, making just 3 of 11 shots from the field. The freshman guard has been phenomenal this season, averaging 17.5 points per game, and is a prime candidate for Big East rookie of the year along with Marcus LoVett who leads the Red Storm in scoring. LoVett added 10 points in the losing cause on Monday night. LoVett is a solid three-point shooter, posting a 43% efficiency from three point range. The freshman guard is averaging a team-leading 17.6 points per game, and the future is definitely looking bright for St. John’s with their talented freshmen tandem. The Red Storm have now lost three in a row after winning their first two conference games, and are currently ranked 101st overall in Ken Pomeroy’s College Basketball Rankings.
St. John’s is scoring an average of 77.1 points per game, ranking them 102nd overall, and are shooting 43.2% from the field. The Red Storm are conceding an average of 74.4 points per game, placing them 243rd overall.
The Villanova Wildcats are:
- 6-0 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games.
- 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games at St. John’s.
The St. John’s Red Storm are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games.
I am taking Villanova in this contest. St. John’s has struggled big time defensively, allowing 83 or more points in three straight games, and they are not efficient at defending the three. Villanova is shooting a solid 39% from three-point range so I think St. John’s is in for a rough one. Also, the Wildcats defense is outstanding, they defend the perimeter well and are only allowing allowing 25 rebounds per game so I think this young St. John’s squad will be overwhelmed in this one.
Pick: Villanova -13.5
Villanova is going to score a lot of points against the weak defense of the Red Storm, however St. John’s is likely going to have a tough time on offense. Villanova’s defense is too strong as they consistently shut down the weaker opposition with ease, and the under is 4-0 in the Wildcats last four road games against a team with a winning home record. The Wildcats have a solid offense, however the under has been a safe bet as it has hit in six out of Villanova’s last seven games.