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The #1 seeded Villanova Wildcats will collide with the #3 seeded Seton Hall Pirates in the Big East Tournament Championship game Saturday evening from Madison Square Garden. The Pirates beat Georgetown and Marquette in their two Big East Tourney wins, and the Wildcats defeated Butler and Xavier in their path to this contest. Villanova collected an 80-52 home win against Seton Hall in the first meeting this season, and Seton Hall replied with a 79-75 home win in the second battle.
Pirates Overcome 4 Technical Fouls in Win vs. Marquette
The Seton Hall Pirates persevered for a wild 81-79 win against 23rd ranked Marquette in the semifinals on Friday night in a game that saw multiple technical fouls and ejections. The Pirates only shot 41% from the field, although they limited Marquette to a 35% efficiency. Pirates’ top scorer Myles Powell was terrific, collecting 22 points on a 5 for 10 performance from three-point range. The junior guard is consistently producing, scoring at least 20 points in six consecutive games, and he is averaging 22.9 PPG on 44% shooting. Powell scored 3 and 20 points respectively in two games against Villanova this season.
Michael Nzei made his presence felt in Friday’s triumph, scoring 14 points paired with 15 rebounds for the double-double after scoring seven points in the quarterfinal game on Thursday. The senior forward has accumulated 23 rebounds in his last two games, and he is averaging 9 PPG and 5 RPG.
We were picked 8th in the preseason.
— Seton Hall Basketball (@SetonHallMBB) March 16, 2019
The Pirates have now won four consecutive games which included a home win against Villanova in that stretch. They are currently placed at 54th in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. Seton Hall is projected as a #10 seed for the NCAA Tournament in ESPN’s Bracketology, and they are scoring an average of 73.8 points, ranking them 141st overall. The Pirates are conceding an average of 71.2 points, positioning them 175th in the country.
Villanova’s Defense Shines in Decisive Win Over Friars
The #25 Villanova Wildcats tallied a convincing 73-62 win against Providence in their quarterfinal round, and they showed great poise in Friday’s win against Xavier. Villanova erased a late seven-point deficit in their exciting 71-67 overtime semifinal win over the Musketeers on Friday night. The Wildcats converted on 41% of their field goals while limiting Xavier to 43% shooting. Villanova’s leading scorer Phil Booth came through in the clutch on Friday, sinking 28 points along with seven rebounds. The senior guard is 14 for 31 from the field for a combined 41 points in two games in this tournament, and he is averaging 18.7 points on the season. Booth tallied 25 and 16 points in two games against Seton Hall this season.
Saddiq Bey also played a big role in Friday’s semifinal win, netting 10 points on a 5 for 8 mark from the field to go along with 7 boards. The freshman forward has scored at least 10 points in three out of his last four games, and he is averaging 8.2 PPG and 5.2 RPG on the season.
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) March 16, 2019
The Wildcats have now won four out of their last five games overall with their only loss in that span occurring on the road against Seton Hall. Villanova is projected as a #6 seed for the NCAA Tourney in ESPN’s Bracketology, and they are scoring an average of 74.5 points, ranking them 123rd overall. The Wildcats have played excellent defense in each of their Big East Tournament wins, and they are holding opponents to 66.9 points, good for 59th in the country.
The Villanova Wildcats are:
- 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games.
- 43-19 ATS in their last 62 games against a team with a winning record.
- 29-14 ATS in their last 43 games overall.
The Seton Hall Pirates are:
- under is 4-1 in their last 5 Saturday games.
- under is 10-4 in their last 14 games against a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking Villanova in the title game. Villanova is playing stellar defense in the Big East Tournament, allowing only 62 points against Providence, and 67 points against Xavier in their two wins. Also, Villanova was productive against Seton Hall this season, scoring 80 and 75 points in two meetings.
Furthermore, Seton Hall has not been efficient from an offensive perspective in this tournament, shooting 41% in both games, and they are only a combined 15 for 46 from three-point range in those two contests. Villanova is clutch in tournament time, and I expect them to come away with a decisive win.
Prediction: Villanova Wildcats
Full-Game Total Pick
I am opting with the under in this contest. Villanova is playing solid defense, and offensively they have only scored 73 and 71 points respectively in their two wins, plus Seton Hall held a high-scoring Marquette team to a 35% clip from the field on Friday night. Also, the under is 15-5-2 in Villanova’s last 22 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600.
In addition, the Pirates offense did not fare well against Villanova this season, shooting below 40% in both meetings, and the under is 5-1 in their last six games overall.
Full-Game Prop Bet
I expect Villanova to shut down the Pirates offense. Seton Hall is only shooting 44.2% as a team, and only 32.5% from three-point range. Villanova is defending well, and they have limited their last two opponents to 10 for 44 shooting from three-point territory in their two Big East Tourney games.
Prediction: Seton Hall Team Total: Under
Half-Time Side Pick
I am siding with Seton Hall on the halftime line. Seton Hall is no stranger to fast starts. They are averaging 41.7 points in the first half in their last three games, compared to only 29 points from Villanova in their last three games. Also, Seton Hall has held their opponents to an average of 30.7 points in the first half in their last three games.
Prediction: Seton Hall