- The Connecticut Huskies (10-5, 7-5 Big East) take on the Villanova Wildcats (13-3, 8-2 Big East) on Saturday, February 20th
- The Wildcats are looking to get back on track after losing just their third game of the season in their last outing
- See the odds, spread, analysis, and best bet below
Two of the top five teams in the Big East will get it on when the Connecticut Huskies head to Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to take on the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday at The Pavillion (1:00 pm ET).
UConn is has turned its month around winning its last two games after losing the first two in February. The Huskies got revenge 73-61 over Providence last Saturday after the Friars beat them earlier in the week.
Villanova is coming into this one with their tails between their legs. In their last game, they were absolutely annihilated by the Creighton Blue Jays 86-70 in Omaha.
This series has been pretty one-sided recently with the Wildcats winning five of the last six meetings including a 61-55 win last March. The current odds are showing Villanova as eight-point favorites in this matchup.
UConn vs #10 Villanova Odds
|Connecticut Huskies||+8 (-110)||+295||Over 138 (-110)|
|Villanova Wildcats||-8 (-110)||-370||Under 138 (-110)|
Odds as of Feb 19th at FanDuel.
James Bouknight is Back
The Huskies were picked in the pre-season to finish fourth in the Big East this season in the coaches’ poll. Right now they sit fourth in the standings which is exactly as expected but one thing that was not expected was that they would do it without James Bouknight. Bouknight injured his elbow against Marquette on January 5th but was back in action in their last game against Providence.
James Bouknight didn't skip a beat in his return for @UConnMBB last night.
Silky smooth lay-ins, thunderous dunks and a red-hot shooting stroke helped Bouknight and the Huskies power past Providence, making him our @LewisEstate Key Player of the Game! pic.twitter.com/whkIJcyrmK
— UConn Huskies (@UConnHuskies) February 17, 2021
When Bouknight went down, the Huskies were 4-1 with their only loss coming against number nine at the time, Creighton 76-74. It was an overtime loss and the only reason the game went to overtime was because of a Damien Jefferson buzzer beater at the end of regulation. Bouknight scored 40 points in that game and was the only reason the Huskies were competitive. He’s difference maker as he showed in his return against Providence by scoring 18 points in 25 minutes off the bench.
Villanova Needs a Win
The Wildcats are number ten in the country and hold the top spot in the Big East. They have the fifth best offense in terms of efficiency in the nation (adjusted for opponent) according to KenPom. That’s why it was surprising to see them get the brakes beaten off of them in their last outing against Creighton.
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) February 14, 2021
The Achilles heel of the Wildcats all season has been three-point defense. They rank 323rd of 357 teams in the nation in opponent three-point percentage allowing a 37.7% success rate. Creighton was able to take advantage hitting 46% of their attempts from deep and ultimately cruised to an easy win.
Best Betting Angle
The thing that stands out the most when looking over the lines of this one is the total. The number looks to be a little low for teams that have been as efficient as these two recently. As mentioned Villanova has the fifth most efficient offense in the country while Connecticut comes in at 37th. Given that Bouknight is back, it stands to reason that the Huskies should only get better on the offensive side of the ball.
The reason the total is low, is because both teams play at a snail’s pace. The Wildcats aren’t quite “Virginia slow” but at 64.2 possessions per game, they look a lot alike. Connecticut is not much faster at 64.9 possessions per game. Even with the turtle race that could break out, the over is firmly in play given the return of Bouknight and the efficient offensive play in general. Villanova’s last couple games have flown over the total and it’s tough to make the argument that this one won’t follow suit.
The pick: Over 138 (-110)