Gonzaga (7-1) vs Villanova (8-0)
When: Tuesday, December 5th 2017
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Villanova -4
We get an early Christmas present in College Basketball in a game that will have a Final Four-feel to it when the fourth-ranked Villanova Wildcats battle No. 13 the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden – part of the Jimmy V Classic. The Wildcats won the 2016 national championship over North Carolina, while the Bulldogs advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament title game before losing to the Tar Heels. Both teams haven’t been shy offensively so far this season with Villanova averaging 86.4 points per game – 30th-best in the country – and are coming off one of their best shooting games ever, while the Bulldogs are fourth nationally at 92.9 points per game. The Zags have quality wins over Texas and Creighton with their lone loss coming against No. 5 Florida in the PK80 Invitational. The Wildcats’ toughest opponent to date was a win over Tennessee in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas.
Six of the top seven scorers for Villanova this season are shooting at least 39.5% from the 3-point line with Mikal Bridges leading the team in made 3s (21) and points per game (17.9). Jalen Brunson also averages 17.9 points and has a 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio while shooting a blistering 64.6% from the field. Bridges, Phil Booth and Omari Spellman each made four 3-pointers Saturday as Villanova nailed a school-record 19 3-pointers in their 41-point rout of Saint Joseph’s. Booth’s scoring has increased in five straight games – from seven points to eight to 12 to 14 and most recently 17 against the Hawks.
The Bulldogs turned in a sluggish first half on Friday against Creighton, trailing by seven at the break, but stormed back in the second half and cruised to a 91-74 victory. Freshman Zach Norvell Jr. scored all 21 of his points in the second half, while Killian Tillie added 22 points. Guard Silas Melson added 21 and Johnathan Williams chipped in 15 as the team won its third straight game. Williams (15.9) is the team’s leading scorer, while Josh Perkins is second at 14.3 points and has made an eye-popping 54.7% of his 53 three-point attempts. Tillie has shot at least 50% from the field in four straight games and is at 59.1 on the season.
This should be a terrific game and both teams have what it takes to make a deep March run. Villanova really hasn’t been tested this season like Gonzaga, but I still like the experience of the Wildcats in this one.
Pick: Villanova -5
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win.
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Wildcats are 44-20-1 ATS in their last 65 non-conference games.
- Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Bulldogs are 13-2-1 ATS in their last 16 vs. Big East.
- Bulldogs are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 Tuesday games.
- Bulldogs are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Bulldogs are 24-10-2 ATS in their last 36 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Bulldogs are 19-8-2 ATS in their last 29 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Bulldogs are 34-15-2 ATS in their last 51 games overall.
- Bulldogs are 30-14-2 ATS in their last 46 games following a straight up win.
- Bulldogs are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 4-1 in Wildcats last 5 Tuesday games.
- Under is 5-2 in Wildcats last 7 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Under is 16-7 in Wildcats last 23 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 23-11 in Wildcats last 34 overall.
- Under is 5-1 in Bulldogs last 6 vs. Big East.
- Over is 7-2 in Bulldogs last 9 games following a ATS win.