Villanova vs. Xavier - Big East Championship Final - 3/14/15Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Xavier Musketeers (21-12) at Villanova Wildcats (31-2)
College Basketball: Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 8:00 pm (Madison Square Garden)
The Line: Villanova Wildcats -7.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: Fox Sports 1
The Xavier Musketeers and Villanova Wildcats will face off at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament this Saturday night.
The 4th-ranked Villanova Wildcats (31-2) won a close 63-61 game against the Providence Friars to continue their goal to get a number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova earned the 1-seed in the Big East Tournament with a 16-2 conference record. Villanova shot 42.3% from the field and 30.4% (7-23) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Wildcats was Josh Hart who had 18 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Villanova is ranked 6th in the RPI Standings and has played the 57th ranked SOS. On the season, Villanova has been led by Darrun Hilliard II (14.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.2 apg) and Ryan Arcidiacono (10.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.6 apg). Villanova averages 76.9 ppg (ranked 19th) on 47.0% shooting (ranked 38th). The Wildcats have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.48 (ranked 6th) and average 9.1 three-pointers per game (ranked 12th). Defensively, Villanova is holding their opponents to an average of 61.2 ppg (ranked 47th) on 40.8% shooting (ranked 77th). The Wildcats average 7.9 spg (ranked 25th) and have a turnover margin of 3.7 (ranked 11th).
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The Xavier Musketeers (21-12) were able to hang on after almost blowing a 20 point lead with under eight minutes to defeat the Georgetown Hoyas 65-63 last night. Xavier entered the Big East Tournament as the 6-seed with a conference record of 21-12, however, have been able to defeat both Butler and Georgetown to not only make it to the finals but might have also have secured the Musketeers an at-large big if they don’t win the championship. Xavier shot 47.6% from the field and held Georgetown to just 26.3% (5-19) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Musketeers was Matt Stainbrook who had 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals. Xavier is ranked 31st in the RPI Standings and has played the 16th ranked SOS. On the season, the Musketeers have been led by Trevon Bluiett (12.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.9 apg) and Matt Stainbrook (12.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.5 apg). Xavier is averaging 74.5 ppg (ranked 30th) on 47.6% shooting (ranked 25th). The Musketeers average 16.7 apg (ranked 7th) and commit 12.2 turnovers per game (ranked 141st). Defensively, Xavier is allowing their opponents to average 67.8 ppg (ranked 213th) on 43.7% shooting (ranked 210th). The Musketeers pull down 35.06 total rpg (ranked 137th) and have a rebound margin of 3.9 (ranked 60th).
The Musketeers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. win and 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win. The Wildcats are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games following a ATS loss and 44-18 ATS in their last 62 games overall.
Villanova was able to handle Xavier in both their matchups this season (88-75 @ Home, 78-66 @ Xavier) and have won 14 straight games. Xavier was struggling losing 3 of 5 games going into the Big East Tournament but has really picked up their defense during tournament play as they are allowing just 62 ppg. With Duke losing, Villanova has to feel if they can win this game, they’ll lock up one of the top seeds in the tournament. Although Xavier has played better on the defensive end and can put of points when they need to, Villanova is one of the best teams in the country as they are able to execute as good as anyone in all aspects of the game. I think Xavier will hang around early in this one but Villanova will pull away in the second and half and will win the Big East Championship and cover this spread. Take Villanova to cover.