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March Madness: Sweet 16 East Regional Odds and Prediction

West Virginia(26-10) @ Villanova(32-4)

  • Where: TD Garden. Boston, MA
  • When: March 23, 2018 7:26 pm EST
  • Spread: Villanova (+5.5) vs West Virginia (-5.5) / Purdue (-1.5) vs Texas Tech (+1.5)
  • Moneyline: Villanova (EVEN), West Virginia (+375), Purdue (+400), Texas Tech (+450)

Looking for a complete team to pick for a Final Four bid? While there may not be an all-points dynamo in the remaining field of 16 teams, there’s at least one program that appears to have all the tools at hand to challenge for a championship.

It’s not Michigan. The Wolverines are one of the biggest teams in the Big Dance, a combination of prodigious size, speed and ability. But players like Zavier Simpson turn the ball over too often and can’t hit from downtown.

It’s not Duke. Coach K’s collection of outstanding guards and forwards could out-fundamental everyone else to the Final Four, and they’ve got Grayson Allen. Unfortunately, the questions about Allen’s maturity level – and whether his supporting cast is truly title-worthy – are still “Gray” areas.

Xavier, Michigan State, and North Carolina are all out of the tournament. Kansas has just scraped by into the Sweet 16, and Gonzaga is giving up too many points. Who’s left?

Mobile Sports Betting submits that the Villanova Wildcats are the closest thing to sure-shot Final Four futures-bet winners on the odds board.

Want scoring? ‘Nova has it with players like Jalen Brunson and consistent back-court sidekick Donte DiVincenzo. Sharp-shooter Mikal Bridges sank 5 shots from beyond the arc in the squad’s 81-58 demolition of Alabama.

How about power? 255 lb. junior forward Eric Paschall is averaging 10+ points a game. But that’s just the beginning. Front-court teammate Omari Spellman is a killer, a 6’9″ NBA prospect who can drive the lane, play defense, pass the ball, and most-importantly nail shots from beyond the arc when opponents cheat inside.

Wildcat head coach Jay Wright deserves the praise he’s been getting. But with a lineup like that, Sister Jean could take over and win at least a handful of March Madness games.

Sweet 16 East Regional: Villanova (-5.5) vs WVU

Bob Huggins’ West Virginia Mountaineers are a Huggins team. Bob has coached his Huggins team for a while, and Huggins teams like to hug ’em with a full-court press that has been perfected by Bob Huggins. Did we mention WVU is a Huggins team?

Forgive the levity. It seems like no one can write a story about West Virginia basketball without Huggins being front, left, right and center. Coaching is important in basketball, but it’s not as if the press is working wonders this season. The Mountaineers rank in the top half of points-allowed averages in Division 1, but they’re not grabbing 25 steals per game.

If WVU is going to upset Villanova, it will come down to the players. West Virginia has power of its own in sophomore forward Sagaba Konate, but he’s only scored 22 points in the tournament so far. Huggins seems more interested in playing small-ball, and has not given his 2 biggest players, Maciej Bender and Logan Routt, a chance to contribute. Senior guard Javon Carter has been far more effective for WVU, scoring 28 points in the squad’s Round of 32 rout of Marshall.

Without visual evidence of a team bothering West Virginia yet, analysts are forced to make a judgement call. We think the pick is obvious – Villanova has way too much for the Huggineers, er, the Mountaineers to handle. Take the Wildcats to cover.

Click to bet on the Villanova Wildcats to advance in the NCAA Tournament and get a March Madness sign-up bonus from Bovada Sportsbook.

Sweet 16: The forgotten Purdue vs TTU game

A #2 seed Big Ten team (which just beat Butler) is playing a #3 seed Big 12 school (which just knocked-out Florida).

Why isn’t Purdue vs Texas Tech getting more attention?

Maybe because Texas Tech is one of the smallest teams to remain alive and has few advantages athletically or otherwise. Chris Beard is a fine basketball coach, but his name is dwarfed by tacticians still in the field of 16 like Coach K, Boeheim and Self. Keenan Evans is an excellent senior guard, and TTU intends to win by shooting the lights out from the perimeter and gobbling up steals that turn into points.

Purdue might not be the best match-up for the Red Raiders. Boilermaker point guard P.J. Thompson has played 56 minutes of March Madness without giving up a turnover. Senior forward Vincent Edwards scored 20 points against Butler and is capable of bullying the Red Raiders inside.

With a mere (-1.5) point spread, Purdue is an excellent wager ATS or straight-up in this #2 vs #3 Sweet 16 contest.

Villanova: Still solid as a Final Four pick

MSB likes Jay Wright’s talented team to win the NCAA Tournament, and a trip to the Final Four is extremely likely. The Wildcats’ chances of beating WVU are around 80%, and Texas Tech would be out-classed physically against athletes like Spellman.

Purdue would give Villanova a slightly-tougher fight in the Elite Eight, but chances are we’ll still be talking about the kids from eastern Pennsylvania on March 31st.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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