The Butler Bulldogs welcome the 6th-ranked Villanova Wildcats to Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday afternoon at noon. The Wildcats are currently favored by 12-point for this contest.
The Wildcats won their 2nd-straight contest versus St. John's Red Storm last Tuesday in blowout fashion as they jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead and never looked back en route to their 15th win on the year. The team boasted 4 starters in double-digits while the team shot 49% along with making 11 of 26 treys, 4 by Caleb Daniels who led with 17 points on 6-8 shooting. The defense was solid in allowing just 58 points on 32% shooting, including 13% from deep. And while Villanova was able to cover as 11-point favorites in the contest, they are just 2-3-1 ATS in their last 6 outings.
The Bulldogs were able to halt a 3-game skid in their last matchup versus the Seton Hall Pirates at home last Wednesday as they were able to pull away in the 2nd-half thanks to a very solid defensive effort which gave up less than 40% shooting along with a strong performance from leading scorer Jair Bolden along with a double-double from Bryce Nze as the team picked up just their 8th win of the season. Butler was also able to cover the spread as 7.5-point underdogs and are just 1-3 against the number in their last 4 outings, overall.
The Wildcats have had a slight edge SU versus the Bulldogs in recent matchups winning 6 of 10, overall, with Butler taking 3 of 4 at home. And while Villanova is 6-3-1 ATS in their last 10 meetings, they are just 1-2-1 against the number in their last 4 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Red Storm no matchup for WildcatsVillanova rolled to a record of 15-3 on the year after a dominant performance on both ends of the floor versus St. Johns last Tuesday. They enter this game winners of 4 of their last 5, overall, and have recovered nicely from a 16-point road loss versus the Creighton Blue Jays earlier in the month. In fact, since allowing 86 points to the Blue Jays, the defense has surrendered an average of 59 points in 2 outings. Furthermore, the Wildcats have had tons of success on the defensive end versus the Bulldogs as of late giving up an average of less than 65 points in their last 4 meetings.
The Bulldogs could only muster 66 points in a 19-point road loss December of last year. And while the Wildcats gave up 49% shooting in the contest, they were also able to force 15 turnovers, 3 by leading scorer Golden. However, their offense looked unstoppable throughout the contest connecting on half of their shots while making 43% of their attempts from deep with Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (15 ppg, 7 rebs) along with Collin Gillespie (14 ppg) each posting 18 points on efficient shooting nights.
Villanova has posted 80 or more in 2 of 3 at Hinkle Fieldhouse; However, their most recent visit in February of last year turned out to be a 3-point loss despite the team getting 28 points from Gillespie. Robinson-Earl finished 2-6 from the floor for just 9 points. And while the Wildcats shot well as a team, the defense also gave up just under 60% shooting to Butler with Golden and Nze going a combined 14-20 FG with 18 and 12 points, respectively.
Butler clamp down on offense for Pirates in winThe Bulldogs' defense failed to allowing 65 points for their 2nd-straight contest as they held Seton Hall to only 52 points on 38% shooting as they connected on just 6 of 27 of their 3-pointers. On the other hand, Butler shot just well enough (46%) to outlast the Pirates in the 2nd-half thanks to 16 from leading scorer Bolden while Nze added 11 points and 13 boards. Important to add that Bolden went 3-6 from long-range in the win while Chuck Harris, who has come up big for Butler as of late finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds, along with 5 assists while playing 39 minutes.
Harris and Bolden combined for 6 of Butler's 7 3-pointers last December despite shooting a combined 9 of 23 from the floor in the double-digit road loss. Nze finished with 9 points and 8 boards on 3-5 shooting as the Bulldogs did well for themselves from the floor. However, they were unable to limit the effectiveness of Villanova's playmakers throughout the contest and were never able to cut into the Wildcat's lead.
The Bulldogs have had their fair share of issues on the offensive end all season averaging just 63 points per on a dismal 40% shooting. However, their offense has perked up at home versus the Wildcats posting an average of 77 points in their last 4 versus their conference foe. Worth noting that guards Aaron Thompson (11 ppg) along with Bo Hodges (10 ppg) are each questionable for this contest and may miss their 3rd-straight game.
Stats & Trends
- Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
- Road team is 0-3 ATS in last 3 meetings.
- Bulldogs are 3-1 ATS in last 4 home games.
While the Wildcats have the better squad amongst these 2 in my view, 12-points may be a bit much for a Villanova team that has struggled to cover on the road in recent matchups. Furthermore, the Bulldogs have not only played the Wildcats well at home in recent outings picking up outright wins in 3 of 4, overall, but has won against the number in 3 of their last 4 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. I like the road team and the points in this instance.