The Round of 32 is underway on Sunday on what would typically be the second day of the Second Round. This round will continue on Monday with eight more games scheduled on the docket. Fingers crossed that no team from the Round of 32 is going to get a free pass into the Sweet Sixteen.
Oregon received a free pass after VCU had to exit the tournament because of positive Covid-19 tests. It’s an unfortunate truth that there was a good chance something like this was going to happen. Allowing an extra week for teams to travel to the NCAA Tournament bubble probably would have been a much better idea.
It’s easy to say that Oregon would have easily cleared VCU, but in college basketball now where teams are evenly matched regardless of their conference, there are no guarantees for favorites. The Purdue Boilermakers found out the hard way on Friday. The upset-minded No. 13 North Texas Mean Green got into overtime against Purdue and came out ahead by a score of 78-69.
The Boilermakers needed to come from behind to force overtime. They were down at the half by a score of 32-24 and just couldn’t finish off the comeback. After North Texas blew their halftime lead in the second-half, I think there were plenty of in-game bettors making the call to play Purdue. The Boilermakers had the momentum until overtime tipped off and the Mean Green took control with a 17-8 extra session.
Villanova didn’t look spectacular in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, but they did prevent what many people were calling a potential upset against Winthrop. Winthrop was a fancy upset pick, and they didn’t play that bad, but could never go on a run to overtake the Wildcats.
The Wildcats got it done over Winthrop, 73-63, to win and cover for their backers. Winthrop struggled to hit shots in the second-half, or it would have been interesting down the wire. Head below for our free North Texas vs. Villanova pick on March 21, 2021 in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
North Texas Mean Green (No. 13) vs. Villanova Wildcats (No. 3) NCAA Tournament Betting Odds:
North Texas vs. Villanova Prediction:
Villanova cannot afford to sleep on Javion Hamlet on Sunday night. If they don’t know who he is, then it might already be too late. It’s impossible that Jay Wright didn’t circle him while the team watched film, so don’t worry Villanova fans, the Wildcats are going to at least know this guys number. While Villanova is the better all-around team, Hamlet is going to the best player on the floor on Sunday night.
The Conference USA Player of the Year, Hamlet, recorded 15.3 points and 4.6 assists per game this season. He led North Texas with 24 points and 12 rebounds against Purdue. Hamlet pretty well did it all for the Mean Green, and that could happen against Villanova tonight as well. If Hamlet goes off and the defense does what it’s been doing throughout the season, then North Texas could easily win straight up.
The Mean Green are 21st in the NCAA with an impressive 62.5 points conceded per game. Teams are shooting 41.7% against North Texas, whereas opponents are shooting 44.9% from the field against Villanova. The next level to Villanova’s game has been missing since the injury to Collin Gillespie.
Villanova is down their floor general, who was averaging 14 points and 4.6 assists per game before getting injured against Creighton on March 3 in a 72-60 win. They were upset in the Big East Tournament against Georgetown, 72-71, and may have beat Winthrop, but certainly didn’t play a perfect game. North Texas should provide a much stiffer test defensively than Winthrop did. The Wildcats scored 73 points against a very vanilla Winthrop defense.
They’re going to have to avoid a long dry spell in this game against an aggressive Mean Green team. This is the same Villanova team that has recent losses late in the season against Butler, 73-61, and Providence, 54-52. This isn’t an impossible mountain to climb for North Texas. Definitely not with Hamlet in their corner. I like North Texas and Villanova to play a close one down to the final minute.