WVU Mountaineers vs. Villanova Wildcats Preview & Free Pick

Hated rivals of the Big East duke it out in college basketball betting action on Saturday afternoon when the West Virginia Mountaineers (23-6, 12-16 ATS) clash with the Villanova Wildcats (24-5, 18-10 ATS).

What's At Stake: The fourth #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament is still up for grabs, and both the Mountaineers and Wildcats would love to stake a claim to it. Villanova has been sliding though, going just 2-3 SU in its L/5 games to fall out of that final #1 slot for the time being. West Virginia has made its case at 23-6, but that loss to the Wildcats on February 8th at home must be avenged in order to move closer. This game takes on a bit extra meaning for the Mountaineers, who can lock up a bye to the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament with a win, while a loss will only advance them through the initial stage of the competition. Villanova has already sewn up the two byes.

College Basketball Odds: Villanova -3.5 at BetUS Sportsbook

West Virginia Notes: The Mountaineers have been a strong offensive team all season, scoring 74.9 points per game. Their shooting percentages are mediocre at best though, as 43.9% from the field at 34.8% from beyond the arc are nothing to write home about. West Virginia does take great care of the basketball and play stifling defense, though. It is only turning the ball over 11.3 times per game and is keeping teams to just 64.8 points per game.

Villanova Notes: WVU may have a great offense, but it pales in comparison to that of the Wildcats. Villanova has the #2 rated offense in the land at 83.3 points per game. They might be allowing 72.8 points per game, but the fact that they run up and down the court with ease for a full 40 minutes and have some of the best guards in the country is more than enough to compensate.

Players to Watch

Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia Mountaineers: Butler had a miserable game against Villanova the first time around, as he shot just 2/12 from the floor and scored 13 points. That was well below his season average, which now sits at a team-high 17.1 points per game. After a string of four sub-par games, the senior is coming off of a strong 22-point showing against Georgetown.

Scottie Reynolds, Villanova Wildcats: The high scorer from that February 8th NCAA basketball betting affair was Reynolds, who put up 21 points. He is the pride and joy for HC Jay Wright, as he is the team's top point man at 18.9 points per game. Reynolds will be playing his final home game at Villanova on Senior Day. He's tallied at least 15 points in all but one Big East game all year.

Trends of Note

-Villanova has covered four straight home games against teams with a winning record.
-Villanova is 7-1 ATS in its L/8 home games against teams with a road winning percentage of at least .600.
-Villanova is 9-4 ATS in its L/13 home games.
-West Virginia is 2-5 ATS in its L/7 road games against teams with a home winning percentage of at least .600.
-West Virginia is 4-2 ATS in its L/6 meetings with Villanova

Final Analysis: The oddsmakers aren't giving nearly enough respect to the Wildcats in this one. They've proven time and time again that they are a worthy team, especially on their home court, and on Senior Day, there's no way that they're going to go out losers no matter how much this angry WVU squad wants to get some payback for the early season loss. Look for Villanova to come out firing on all cylinders offensively, as Reynolds leads the charge of seniors to yet another comfortable win.

Selection: Villanova -3.5

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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