Seton Hall Pirates vs. Villanova Wildcats NCAAB Free Pick 02/16/15
Play Seton Hall Pirates +16.
Seton Hall visits Villanova for this 7:00 ET tip. It is a battle of two teams headed opposite directions, as they come down the stretch in Big East play. Villanova sits atop the conference at 10-2 SU, holding a 2 game lead for league superiority. Seton Hall, after a promising start, now sits at 5-8 SU in the league, looking to pick up the pieces from a season that “might have been.” These two met earlier this season with Seton Hall a 66-61 winner at the Pru Center as 6 point underdog. Combined with a 64-63 victory in last season’s Big East Conference Tourney, it means top-ranked Villanova is playing this one with double revenge.
On Saturday night, Villanova proved they were the best team in the Big East. The Wildcats went to Hinkle Fieldhouse, home of the Butler Bulldogs, with a 1 game lead over host Butler. The game was tightly contested the entire second half. It was decided in the final moments, when Villanova’s top scorer, Hilliard, hit a triple at the buzzer for a 68-65 Villanova win and narrow one point cover. It was the last of 31 points scored by Hilliard and his 8th 3 pointer of the game. In the last 6 contests, Hilliard has upped his average by averaging 18 PPG. As a result, the Wildcats now enter on a 6-0 SU ATS run, and a record of 5-1 ATS as home chalk with every victory by 12 or more points. As you can see by this impost, in order to gain their double revenge, the Wildcats will have to not only overcome a letdown from that victory (and comfortable 2+ game lead), but they will also have to overcome a line adjustment from the first contest, when they laid a modest 6 points.
Following the 2-0 SU ATS Big East start, highlighted by the win over Villanova, the Pirates have lost their way. A 12-2 SU, 11-1 ATS beginning has dissolved into 15-10 SU, 14-8 ATS. That includes 4 consecutive defeats after a 69-62 loss at Providence on Saturday. That 3-8 SU, 2-7 ATS slide corresponds with internal dissension in the Seton Hall locker room. It culminated when veteran senior guard, Jaren Sina, left the team last week, saying the locker room situation was not for him. In the Seton Hall loss to Georgetown on February 10th, the players nearly came to blows in the huddle during a timeout. It is up to 5th year HC Willard to right the ship and salvage what has become a very disappointing season for the Pirates.
With the help of a generous double digit impost, the value lies with Seton Hall in this. They have the confidence of beating Villanova the last 2 times they played them, the motivation of facing the conference leader, and the advantage of playing the Wildcats in what will surely be a letdown spot following their huge win at Butler, Saturday night.