Houston Cougars vs. Villanova Wildcats Game Info
Houston Cougars (32-5, 15-3 AAC) vs. Villanova Wildcats (29-7, 16-4 Big East)
- Date: Saturday, Mar. 26, 2022
- Start Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
- Location: AT&T Center — San Antonio, TX
- Coverage: TBS
- Last Meeting: November 23, 1991 — Houston defeated Villanova 79-49 in Houston.
Houston vs. Villanova Betting Odds
Odds courtesy of BetMGM
- Moneyline: HOU: (-135) | VILL: (+110)
- Point Spread: HOU: -2.5 (-105) | VILL: +2.5 (-115)
- Total: 128.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)
- Houston 2021-22 Betting Trends: 25-12 ATS; 16-21 to the Over
- Villanova 2021-22 Betting Trends: 19-15-2 ATS; 17-18-1 to the Over
- Houston is 6-0 ATS in their last six games
- Houston is 26-9 ATS in its last 35 neutral site games
- Houston is 39-19 in its last 58 games overall
- Villanova is 4-1 ATS in its last five games
- Villanova is 20-6 ATS in its last 26 NCAA Tournament games
- The under is 7-2-1 in Houston’s last ten games
- The under is 4-1 in Houston’s last five NCAA Tournament games as favorites
- The under is 5-1 in Villanova’s last six games
- The under is 7-1 in Villanova’s last eight neutral site games
Each year entering the NCAA Tournament, many bettors will use age and experience as a deciding factor when predicting a game’s outcome. Not many teams are older or have more collective NCAA Tournament experience than Houston and Villanova. The Cougars search for a second consecutive trip to the Final Four and seventh in school history. The Wildcats are looking for a third Final Four appearance in the last six NCAA Tournaments. Villanova aims to repeat what it did in 2016, winning the national championship as a No. 2 seed. Houston will try to keep a streak alive with at least one No. 5 seed or lower reaching the Final Four since 2013.
Houston Cougars Betting Preview
Six consecutive wins, six consecutive covers. It does not get much better than that lately if you are a Houston Cougars backer. Houston’s 72-60 win over Arizona in the Sweet 16 was its 60th over the last two seasons, which is the most in Division I. In addition, it was the Cougars’ 32nd win of the season, which is tied for the second-most in school history with the 1983-84 team. With a win over Villanova, the Cougars would match the 2018-19 team’s win total for the most wins in school history.
Entering Friday, FiveThirtyEight gives Houston the best chance of any team remaining to win the national championship.
Villanova Wildcats Betting Preview
The Villanova Wildcats have won their three NCAA Tournament games by an average of 12.7 points, and no win was by fewer than eight. However, Villanova’s run is not viewed as impressive as Houston’s, considering the Wildcats defeated teams seeded seventh or worse (including two double-digit seeds). In comparison, the Cougars beat two top-four seeds in that span. That is not to say Villanova has not been impressive in its wins, as the Wildcats have not trailed in the second half of their three NCAA Tournament games. In addition, it has continued to use historic free-throw shooting (82.6% team free-throw shooting percentage is on pace to break the Division I record) to close out games.
Houston Cougars vs. Villanova Wildcats Betting Pick and Prediction
It is no secret that Houston is still alive in the NCAA Tournament thanks to a rock-solid defense, holding opponents to the third-lowest scoring average in Division I. Houston narrowly missed holding Arizona to fewer than 60 points (‘Zona scored exactly 60), which would have tied the Cougars with San Diego State and North Texas for the most amount of games (20) holding an opponent under 60. The Cougars successfully mucked up its game against Arizona, holding the Wildcats to 63 possessions, as their previous low of possessions in a game this season was 64 against USC.
While Houston’s physical, slow-paced, and methodical approach was the perfect foil for Arizona, that is precisely the type of game that Jay Wright’s Wildcats prefer. Though Villanova never led by more than nine against Michigan, such a lead seems more insurmountable when playing the Wildcats because they are comfortable running offense late in the shot clock, make their free throws, and do not beat themselves.
Part of what makes Villanova so unflappable is their leader, Collin Gillespie. In 206 minutes played in the NCAA Tournament, Gillespie has six turnovers. Another encouraging note is that Villanova’s first two tournament opponents, Delaware and Ohio State, combined to shoot 55% inside the arc against the Wildcats. However, Villanova held Michigan to 34.9% from 2-point range on Thursday, and that solid defense will come in handy against a Houston team that out-scored a much bigger Arizona team in the paint.
Houston will have the homecourt advantage in its home state, but nothing fazes Villanova. Led by Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels, two experienced graduate students, we look for them to get back to the Final Four, which is the goal Gillespie and Samuels had in mind when deciding to take advantage of their extra year of eligibility.
Pick: Villanova +2.5 (-115 at BetMGM)
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