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GAMBLING AND PREDICTIONS
Spread: Villanova -3
Ken Pomeroy: Villanova W, 76-70 (71% confidence)
The Friars will return to action on Wednesday, February 4 versus 17th-ranked Villanova at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Friars have posted a 34-48 mark all-time versus the Wildcats. The Friars are 21-16 at home, 11-25 on the road and 2-7 on neutral courts all-time against Villanova. The two teams fi rst met on February 15, 1926 with the Friars earning a 46-37 win in Providence. Last season, Villanova defeated the Friars, 73-63, in Providence. The Wildcats have won the last five games between the two teams. PC’s last win over Villanova was a 100-74 victory on February 11, 2004 at Villanova.
Davis said that he’s more than pleased with his team’s trip halfway through the Big East (6-3 record) but realizes that matching those results will not be easy. The Friars play four ranked teams (‘Nova twice, Louisville, Pittsburgh) and as well as two games against Rutgers, one at South Florida, one at West Virginia and a home date against Notre Dame.
If anyone can speak to the plusses and minuses of the expanded, devilishly deep Big East, it’s Villanova coach Jay Wright.
Wright has survived the first three seasons of the 16-team Big East better than most. His Wildcats have played in three straight NCAA Tournaments, advancing as far as the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 rounds. He’s survived the brutal stretches that can take you from Freedom Hall one night to the Carrier Dome the next, maybe with a home game against Pittsburgh thrown in as well.
According to calculations, this game should go for about 71 possessions, with the ‘Cats taking a 5 point decision. If the possessions are that high, look for both teams to struggle, as Nova’s record when the pace is that high is 3-3, while Providence, which has played 13 games with the pace > 70 is 7-6. I suspect that the ‘Cats will want to see that a possession or two lower.
The Wildcats are just always there. They may not look pretty at times. They won’t always dazzle you with individual talent. But, under Jay Wright, they are always in the game.