An early top 16 reveal by the NCAA tournament selection committee tabbed Villanova as the top team from the Big East, and the Wildcats would like to add to their résumé with a win on Tuesday’s sports betting calendar at the UConn Huskies.
Villanova Wildcats vs. Connecticut Huskies
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at XL Center
Ranked No. 9 in the early reveal, which places the Wildcats as the top No. 3 seed for next month’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Villanova will get a chance to prove it is worthy of that grading if not more when it takes on UConn for a second time this season. Providence is the only other Big East team on the list at No. 15.
It is the Friars who are upsetting things in the Big East after they were picked in the middle by the NCAA basketball futures. Providence has the top spot in the standings by percentage points over Villanova after the Wildcats were the clear favorite in the Big East to begin the season, and UConn is tied for third with Creighton, those two currently 2½-games behind the Friars.
Road Teams 7-2-2 ATS in Last 11 Clashes
There should be a raucous crowd on hand in Hartford where FS1 will have its cameras set up. The Huskies are drawing a 2½-point chalk line at BetMGM, marking the first time in nine years that UConn has been favored to beat the Wildcats, a string of six matchups in the rivalry. Bettors looking to play the scoreboard are facing a total running 135½-136 at various shops.
Villanova hosted UConn 17 days ago and posted an 85-74 victory at Wells Fargo Center. A 12-0 run over a 4½-minute span in the second half helped propel the Wildcats to the winner’s circle in a game that saw both sides shoot at least 50% from the field and combine to sink 35 of their 38 shots from the free-throw line (92.1%).
Eric Dixon grabbed the spotlight for the victorious Wildcats by scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, one of three double-doubles this season for the 6-9 sophomore out of Willow Grove, PA, and the fourth such performance of his collegiate career. RJ Cole of the Huskies led all scorers with 25 points.
That win in Philadelphia marked the fifth in a row for Villanova over UConn. The final went easily ‘over’ a 128½-point total, stopping a run of five consecutive ‘under’ winners that includes the last time the old foes met in the Nutmeg State a little more than four years ago when the Wildcats cruised to an 81-61 triumph as 15½-point chalk.
Could ‘Nova Get Caught in Look-Ahead Spot?
This is the only game of the week for Jay Wright and Villanova, the luxury due in part to the Wildcats not having a major interruption caused by the virus. Still, Wright and his staff are faced with the task of keeping their team from peeking out seven days from now when Villanova will be home for a huge showdown with Providence.
Beating UConn 17 days ago marked the start of a 5-game win streak for the Wildcats. The bad news is they were only able to cover the college basketball odds in two of those victories, and in three of their last seven, with Tuesday night’s tilt marking the first time the Wildcats are lined as the underdogs since they traveled to Xavier on January 12.
While Villanova managed to extend its streak to five wins in a row last Saturday against Georgetown, it was a rather sloppy effort turned in by the Wildcats in the 74-68 final. Villanova was favored by 19 and turned it over 15 times, with Wright also noting his team just got some unlucky bounces on their own rims.
‘Under’ Cashes in UConn’s Last 3
Dan Hurley has his team on a 3-game win streak, with dubyas in four of the last five trips to the floor, but like the Wildcats, the Huskies have also struggled to beat the numbers at top-rated sportsbooks with just two covers in their last eight matchups. One of those ATS wins came last Saturday at home.
Giving up 7 to the visiting Xavier Musketeers, UConn used a huge first half to come away with a 72-61 decision. The Huskies closed the first half on a 14-4 run and dominated the glass with a 42-26 rebounding edge over the Musketeers, and survived a very careless start to the second half when they turned it over 10 times in the first seven minutes.
Villanova’s win at home earlier this season left the Wildcats 38-31 in the rivalry. The Wildcats are primed for another win in the series, making them plus the points the right college basketball pick.
NCAAB Pick: Villanova +2½ (-105) at DraftKings