Villanova vs. South Florida Pick Against Spread – March 7th

Villanova Wildcats vs South Florida Bulls -2  — Big East Conference Tournament Second Round

It’s been a long time since South Florida was a favorite over Villanova in a basketball game.  USF, long the conference doormat since joining the Big East nearly a decade ago, and Villanova, a perennial Final Four candidate, rarely were on any thing approaching equal footing in terms of their perceived ability level.

One could argue they aren’t on the same level this year either.  Only it is because USF is clearly head and shoulders above the Wildcats. So how then are they only 2-point favorites on a neutral floor tonight in the Big East Tournament second round??  In fact, the line jumped out so loud, I decided to take a deeper look into some numbers and investigate if this was the great value it appears to be from a wagering perspective.

Villanova is wrapping up a season that Jay Wright would just assume soon forget.  At 13-18 and just 5-13 in conference play (yesterday’s opening round win moves them to 6-13), it is easily the worst season Nova has endured in several decades.  They finished the season losers of seven of ten games, and were just 2-7-1 ATS.  However, I will say one thing on the Wildcats behalf; they were definitely still fighting and competing.  They forced overtime in both losses to UConn and Notre Dame in back-to-back games.  They fell to Marquette and Cincinnati by just four points each.  So perhaps there are some signs of life…

Not so fast.  If you eliminate “Rutgers” from the schedule, Villanova has beaten only Providence (by two points at home) in the last six weeks.  They have been pummeled by Georgetown and Notre Dame and also pummeled twice by…. South Florida!

The Bulls have owned Villanova this season, winning by 14 and again by 17.  The win on Feb 17th was AT Villanova, and a game in which USF was favored by 3.5.  Again, the question… how are they only a two-point favorite on a neutral floor??

South Florida is the epitome of a bubble team who absolutely must have a win tonight.  They know it.  Coach Stan Heath knows it. And I think they play with the appropriate focus.  Not only do I not see them having any trouble covering this spread, I’d be surprised if this game is a single-digit contest.  Give me the South Florida Bulls tonight, and give me the Bulls BIG.

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Chris Scheeren / Author