The Villanova Wildcats are in Queens on Wednesday night looking to perverse their near perfect record of 11-1 against the St. John’s Red Storm. Villanova heads into Queens on a nine-game winning streak, having won every game since losing on November 28 against Virginia Tech in overtime on a neutral floor. That was a rare instance of Villanova playing undisciplined basketball.
Despite the loss for the Wildcats, it’s their only loss on the season and they’re ranked No. 3 in the nation. The locker room had a long bout with Covid-19 and were sidelined for a while. They beat Marquette on December 23, 85-68, and had to stay off the floor for a few weeks. When Villanova did return, they survived a close one against Seton Hall, 76-74.
They looked rusty, and in three games since returning to action, a blowout over Providence, 71-56, is the only game they’ve shown some evidence of the team from December. Even then, I think Villanova could have beaten Providence by a much larger margin than that if they were playing at full speed.
Villanova is coming off a 80-72 win over Seton Hall on January 30. It was their second win over Seton Hall in three outings. Villanova had to fight hard to earn both of those wins, though they were in the driver’s seat on Saturday. They took a 37-27 lead into halftime, and came out a little sloppier to lose the second-half, 45-43. In any event, Villavona was never in danger of giving up the lead. They are the only team in the Big East that remains undefeated.
St. John’s is just 5-6 in the conference, but solid overall with a record of 11-7. They are playing their best basketball of the season recently. St. John’s enters on a four-game winning streak following a 75-73 road win over Marquette on Sunday. Their most impressive win during this run was a 74-70 victory over the UConn Huskies on January 18 on the road. Head below for our free Villanova vs. St. John’s pick on February 3, 2021.
Villanova Wildcats vs. St. John’s Red Storm NCAA Betting Odds:
Villanova vs. St. John’s Prediction:
This could be a tricky spot on the road for Villanova. They are the more talented team on the floor in this game, no doubt, but if Villanova just goes through the motions, the Wildcats could be in for a battle. Villanova allowed Seton Hall to hang around in a couple of recent meetings against the Pirates.
Now the Wildcats are on the road against a St. John’s team hitting their stride of late. Along with the four-game winning streak for the Red Storm, they’ve been a covering machine since mid-January. St. John’s has covered six straight games, with five straight up wins and a two-point loss against Marquette to cover three points on January 16.
St. John’s has been shooting well and rank in the top-50 offensively now. They’re scoring an average of 79.6 points per game for 44th in the NCAA. Their effort at home has been slightly better with 81.7 points recorded per contest. Julian Champagnie has been tough to contain for opposing defenses. Champagnie has been putting the team on his back and consistently producing for the Red Storm.
If he has a big game Wednesday night, then things might get interesting in Queens. Champagnie has netted 19.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The sophomore forward is shooting 44.7% from the field. If Villanova were lazy in game planning for Champagnie, expect him to put on a nice performance in this one. The Wildcats are slightly behind St. John’s offensively, statistically at least. They’re 46th in the country with an average of 79 points scored a game.
The defensive advantage goes to Villanova, as the ‘Cats have conceded only 67.2 points per game as opposed to 77.1 for the Red Storm. That said, it’s really tough to lay double digits against a Villanova team still trying to shake off the rust from their Covid-19 layoff. They likely aren’t too motivated to travel to Queens, and may very well underestimate St. John’s, who is currently in great form. I’d take the points with the home dog.