Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#763 Delaware vs.
#764 Villanova
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#763 University of Delaware
#764 Villanova University
9-1
7-2
14-15-2
21-15
19-12
15-20-1
71
73
72
67

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Delaware travels up I-95 just outside of Philadelphia to take on No. 20 Villanova at 2pmET on Saturday. These teams used to meet on a yearly basis since they are close in proximity, but haven't played each other since 2015. This game will be played at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey in the Never Forget Tribute Classic.

The Blue Hens have not played since losing at George Washington, 66-56 on Dec. 7. That was their first loss of the season. Nova has won three straight since losing at Baylor by 11 on Nov. 24. They played last Saturday, beating St. Joe's in Philadelphia, 78-66.

A bump in the road

Delaware had won their first nine games before that loss to George Washington. Their schedule was not exactly loaded, but it was an impressive start for a team that lost three starts. They've been helped by the addition of several quality transfers, including Justyn Mutts (from High Point) and Nate Darling (from UAB). Mutts, a 6-7, 220-pound junior, had eight points and eight boards against the Colonials. Darling added 12 points and six boards, but made just 3-of-14 from the field (1-7 3pt). Senior center Collin Goss (GW transfer) led the BlueHens with 15 points and seven boards.

The Hens shot just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc and were outrebounded by nine. George Washington also shot 45% from the field.

Darling, a 6-5 sophomore, has been sensational for the Hens, averaging 21.3 points per game on 47.2% shooting (44.3% 3pt). Junior guard Ryan Allen (14.3ppg) and Mutts (14.5ppg, 9.5rpg) have also been very productive for Delaware along with Ryan Andreson (11.2ppg, 4.9apg).

The Hens are averaging 75 points per game on 48.1% shooting (36.7% 3pt). They are allowing 63.3 points on 39.5% shooting (31.2% 3pt). A concern right now would be on the boards (+1.3) against a quality Villanova team. They also get very limited production from their bench.

Bey and Gillespie lead Wildcats over Hawks

Saddiq Bey scored 22 points, while Colling Gillespie added 20 to lead the Wildcats over St. Joseph's last Saturday by 12. This was a closer game than the score indicated as the Hawks were down by just three, at 63-60 with 4:54 left in the game. The Wildcats shot 49.1% from the field and 20-of-22 from the free-throw line.

Villanova has certainly taken care of four of the Big Five thus far, beating Penn (80-69), La Salle (83-72) and St. Joe's. But they have not beaten upper-echelon teams, falling to Ohio State (76-51) and to Baylor (87-78).

The Wildcats have an outstanding offensive team as usual, averaging 80.7 points per game (33rd) on 48.6% shooting from the field (26th) and 38.9% three-point shooting (27th). On defense, they allow 69.2 points per game on 43.4% shooting (33.5% 3pt).

Bey (6-8, 215) leads Villanova with 16.7 points per game on 54.5% shooting (43.8% 3pt). Gillespie adds 15.2 points and 5.1 assists on 42.7% shooting (35.8% 3pt). The Wildcats also could use a little more depth as they play eight players and just six double-digit minutes.

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This Villanova team has not really clicked yet. More was expected from this team that hasn't covered in four straight games. Their best win was a road victory over Mississippi State by seven. Delaware has the size to hang with the Wildcats and they have an outstanding shooter in Darling, who is coming off a rough game. Rebounding is the only main concern for the Hens, but they shouldn't get dominated. The fact that this is not a home game for Villanova also helps out Delaware, since they won't be shooting at their own rims.

Prediction: Delaware

Full-Game Total Pick

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One thing Jay Wright teams will always do well and that's play defense. This isn't one of his top defensive squads, but they are playing a team that has not faced a very tough team yet. That's always an adjustment that a CAA team like Delaware has to make. They go from facing a subpar George Washington squad to facing a perennial Top-25 team in Nova. Villanova has gone under in two straight and while the Hens have been an over team, the step up in competition will take those high shooting numbers down.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!