March Madness Expert Picks: Saint Mary’s vs. Villanova

The XL Center in Hartford, CT will play host to NCAA Tournament South Region first-round games
on Wednesday. One of the primetime affairs will see the #11 Saint Mary’s Gaels face the #6 Villanova Wildcats.

Our series of March Madness Predictions continues as we take a look at this matchup in full detail.

Date/Time/TV: Thur. March 21, 4:00 PM EST, TNT

Vegas Odds March Madness

Spread: Villanova Wildcats -5 (-110)

Total: 130.5

Game Preview

The Gaels were big 14-point underdogs for last week’s WCC final game versus Gonzaga. They
stunned the Bulldogs and the rest of the basketball world with a 60-47 victory. For the season, Saint
Mary’s is 22-11 (19-14 ATS).

The Wildcats needed OT to handle business versus Xavier in the Big East semifinals, and they found
themselves in another tight affair for the final before defeating Seton Hall by two points. On the year,
the Wildcats are 25-9 (20-14 ATS).

Saint Mary’s Gaels

Saint Mary’s closed out the regular season with an 11-5 record in WCC play, which left them five
games behind 1st place Gonzaga, a team which they went down to twice during the regular season.
For their last 10 outings, the Gaels are 8-2 (4-6 ATS).

Team totals have been Under for eight of the last nine and skew that way for the year at 13-19-1.
Jordan Ford is the top threat on offense for Saint Mary’s with 21.3 ppg. Malik Fitts contributes 15.3
ppg and 7.6 boards. Ford led the way in the upset over Gonzaga with 17 points.

Villanova Wildcats

When Villanova suffered through a three-game losing streak, it looked like their hopes for a Big East
regular season crown were finished. However, 1st place Marquette struggled down the stretch while
the Wildcats took advantage. Over the last 10 games, the team is 6-4 (4-6 ATS).

Totals stand at 12-19-2 for the season with the Over being the correct call for the last four in a row.
Phil Booth is tops on the team with 18.6 ppg and 3.8 dimes. Eric Paschall chips in with 16.5 ppg and
6.2 boards. He was the top scorer versus Seton Hall with 17 points.

Saint Mary’s vs. Villanova March Madness Prediction

Saint Mary’s was last in the tournament back in 2017. They made it to round two before being
bounced by Arizona by a score of 69-60. Villanova is the defending national champion and winners
of two of the last three titles. In between, they lost in the second round to Wisconsin in 2017.

Villanova has the edge in scoring and rebounding, but Saint Mary’s is the stronger defensive team
and holds a slight edge in true shooting percentage. This is one of the more intriguing first-round
matchups on Thursday. We’re expecting Villanova to get the win, but we like Saint Mary’s to make
them work for it.

Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. Villanova Wildcats NCAA Tournament Pick: Saint Mary’s +5 (-110)

Christopher Feery

    A freelance writer by trade and lifelong sports fan, Chris got off the fence and entered the world of sports betting content when his home state of New Jersey finally legalized wagering in the summer of 2018. This quickly became his full-time focus, and he absolutely loves sharing information with loyal readers and subscribers. He subscribes to the theory that numbers don't lie, but he also knows they don't always tell the whole story. Chris likes to keep it simple to avoid paralysis by analysis, but he's not shy about digging deep to find the answers he seeks. A two-time nominee and one-time winner of Fantasy Sports Writers Association year-end awards for football content, Chris will gladly discuss fantasy pigskin all year long, as well as anything else to do with the NFL or CFB. While football tops his list, he also has quite the affinity for other fields of play, priding himself on delivering exceptional content with actionable information that provides positive results.

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