After a relatively quiet Monday evening of College Basketball, the action kicks back into high gear on Tuesday. We have a number of intriguing matchups to consider for our viewing and handicapping pleasure, several of which involve ranked teams.
Our focus is on this Big East showdown between a pair of teams who are off to vastly different starts in conference play. The DePaul Blue Demons have dropped three straight to begin the Big East season and are at the bottom of the standings as a result. They’ll head to Villanova to take on a Wildcats team which has opened conference play at 3-1.
The hosts are big favorites for this one. Part of that can be attributed to the disparity in recent play for the two sides, but another big factor is the Wildcats recent dominance over the Blue Demons. We’ll cover that in more detail during our breakdown, just know for now that it hasn’t been pretty. Let’s take a look at the matchup in full detail, starting with the current game lines.
DePaul Blue Demons vs. Villanova Wildcats, 8:30 PM EST, FS1
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
DePaul vs. Villanova Pick:
DePaul was last in action on Saturday for a road game at St. John’s. They were 3-point underdogs at tipoff, and the game was close at the half with the Red Storm holding a 39-34 lead. The contest remained tight the rest of the way, but St. John’s managed to hang on for a 74-67 win. It was the third straight loss in conference play for the Blue Demons, as they previously fell at home to Providence and Seton Hall.
Villanova’s last game also came on Saturday as they were home to welcome Georgetown to campus. They were favored by eight points at tipoff, but the game was close at the half with the Wildcats holding onto a 3-point lead. Villanova took control after the break and cruised to an 80-66 victory. This was the second straight victory for the Wildcats as they picked up a 64-59 road win over Creighton last week.
While the Blue Demons are struggling of late, that wasn’t the case earlier this season. The team opened things up by ripping off nine straight wins, a span which included victories over Iowa and Texas Tech. The streak was snapped with a loss to Buffalo, but DePaul got back on track and won its next three in a row. The club hasn’t been able to put it together in Big East play and is in the midst of a three-game skid.
It was a slower start to the year for the Wildcats. The team opened up at 4-2 with losses coming to ranked Ohio State and Baylor squads. The switch was flipped from there as the team won six straight, a span which included an upset of top-ranked Kansas. Villanova is 3-1 in conference play thus far, opening up with a win over Xavier before falling to Marquette ahead of its current two-game run.
These two squads are in range statistically, but there are a couple of notable differences. On a points for and points against basis, they’re a near mirror image. DePaul is doing a better job of getting after the ball, but they are also turning it over more often than Villanova. The clubs are close in overall field goal shooting and three-point percentage, but the Blue Demons have been poor at the line.
Charlie Moore leads the way on offense for DePaul. He’s averaging 15.8 points and 6.8 assists per game. Paul Reed is next up with averages of 15.4 points and 11.4 boards per contest. Moore tops in steals at 1.9, while Reed leads in blocks at 3.1. The two stars top the rotation and are averaging 30+ minutes per game. Four other DePaul players are averaging at least 20 minutes per contest.
Saddiq Bey is the top scoring option for Villanova with an average of 15.3 points per game. Collin Gillespie is next up with averages of 14.7 points and 4.6 assists per game. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl tops the team in boards with an average of 9.5, and he’s also chipping in 10.6 points per game. Those three players are averaging 30+ minutes per game, while a trio of other Wildcats are averaging 20+.
Villanova has dominated the head-to-head series with DePaul in recent years, winning 18 straight matchups. In last season’s two meetings, the Wildcats picked up a 73-68 home win and followed that up with an 86-74 road victory. The last 10 times these two clubs have hooked up, the Wildcats have won eight times by double digits.
For the season to date, DePaul is 8-7 against the spread and 7-8 on the Over/Under. Villanova is 7-7-1 ATS and 7-8 on totals.
Since 2017, the Blue Demons are 8-17 straight-up as road underdogs and 12-12-1 ATS. The Wildcats are 31-3 overall as home favorites over that span and 22-12 ATS.
Recent play and the historical matchup point to a Villanova win, and oddsmakers have christened the game with a hefty spread in favor of the hosts.
The Wildcats have impressed thus far and have to be considered a favorite to take down the Big East. That said, the conference shapes up to be competitive and relatively open as a result. There’s still time for the Blue Demons to be a factor, but the clock is starting to tick after three straight losses.
DePaul has been struggling of late, but we’ll expect a better effort this time around with their backs against the wall versus one of their biggest nemesis. Villanova gets the home win, but the Blue Demons keep it closer than expected.