Winthrop vs Villanova Prediction
Winthrop vs Villanova Prediction: The Villanova Wildcats will face the Winthrop Eagles in the final game of the South region’s field round on Friday night. This 5 vs. 12 seed matchup has all of the makings of an upset.
Can Winthrop Pull It Off?
Winthrop (23-1, 17-1) opened the season, winning 16 in a row, and after a slip up to UNC Asheville, they entered the tournament as winners of seven straight. They cruised to a Big South title, and with timing and history on their side, they’re in prime position to pull off an upset.
Winthrop is a veteran team led by versatile swingman Chandler Vaudrin. He serves as the Eagles swiss army knife, and he leads the team in scoring (12.2), rebounds (7.2), and assists (6.9). Vaudrin recorded a triple-double in the first round of the Big South tournament against High Point, and he will be the key to Winthrop’s success.
Senior guards Adonis Arms and Charles Falden start in the backcourt. Arms averages 10.5 ppg, and he grabs 4.8 rpg, while Falden adds 10.1 ppg. D.J. Burns Jr. is the man in the middle, and he’s coming off of a big 22-point game against Campbell. Junior Michael Anumba rounds out the starting lineup, and he scores 6.9 ppg.
Wildcats Looking to Avoid Upset
Villanova (16-6, 11-4) entered the month of February as the casual contenders they’ve grown into. Jay Wright has built a powerhouse in Philadelphia after winning two of the last four championships. They looked like they’d be heading for another high seed, but things went left fast. It began with road losses to St. John’s and Creighton and then came the alarming blowing loss to an underwhelming Butler team. Eyebrows were raised, but then the Wildcats lost senior guard Collin Gillespie.
That may have been the knockout blow to Jay Wright’s team, as they ended the regular season with two nail-biting losses to Providence and Georgetown.
Timing really matters when it comes to the Big Dance, and timing really isn’t on Villanova’s side right now. The Wildcats will really need Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Jermaine Samuels to step up in his absence. Robinson-Earl leads the team in both scoring (15.7) and rebounding (8.3). He’s coming off of a 26-point performance, and he recorded three double-doubles in a row prior to the Big East tournament.
With Gillespie out, Samuels remains the final holdover from the 2018 championship team. He averages 11.8 points per game, grabs 6.3 rebounds per game, and he’s coming off of two 20-point performances in Gillespie’s absence. Sophomore guard Justin Moore is third on the team in scoring with 12.6 ppg. Chris Arcidiacono finds himself in a position he’s witnessed before.
His brother was former two-time national champion Ryan, who headed both Villanova teams. He’ll have to grow fast, and he’s only turned the ball over once in two starts.
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Winthrop vs Villanova Prediction & Pick
The element of an upset is imminent, but let’s not be so fast to write off the Wildcats. The possibility of an upset will be very enticing here, given the circumstances, but be cautious. If there’s any team to trust amongst the storm, it’s Villanova. They enter with a size advantage, and they’ll need to play through both Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Jermaine Samuels. Despite missing Colin Gillespie, the Wildcats only lost both of those games by two points or less. Look for Villanova to defeat Winthrop and move on to the second round.
PICK: Villanova -6.00 points
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