By Skip Charles in Vegas
Villanova is 26-7 and finished 16-4 in the Big East.
So, it’s not surprising the Cats are a 15 1/2-fave today against Delaware in a Madness match-up in Pittsburgh.
Collin Gillespie is putting up 15.9 points per game with a team-best 6.6 Offensive Box Plus/Minus, and he’s the leader of a Villanova team that is full of experience and coached by arguably the best in the NCAA today in the form of Jay Wright.
The Wildcats bring a terrific offense and a solid defense to the tournament.
They are eighth in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and 20th in 3-point makes per game (9.3).
Defensively, Villanova is allowing only 63.1 points per contest and is 11th in Division 1 with a 6.3 steals rate. That’s not good to hear for a Delaware team that is averaging 12.5 turnovers per game and comes with a 16.3 turnover rate.
Villanova is 14-3 against the spread in its last 17 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
Delaware is 22-12 overall and 10-8 in the CAA.
Delaware’s chances of topping its conference tourney did not look remotely good when the Blue Hens ended the regular season with three losses in a row but got hot at just the right time. Two of the teams that beat Delaware towards the end of the regular season suffered losses in the CAA tourney at the hands of the Blue Hens.
The Blue Hens’ key to an upset in the first round is in the hands of Jameer Nelson Jr., who is leading the team with 13.7 points per game. There aren’t a lot of dangerous outside shooters for the Blue Hens, but if Ebby Asamoah gets hot, watch out. Asamoah is averaging just 7.2 points per game but he can really stretch the floor. He shot 41.1 percent from deep (51/124) in the regular season.
Delaware is 15-6 against the spread in its last 21 neutral site contests.