Villanova (21-6) at Connecticut (19-7)
When: Tuesday, February 22nd 2022
Where: XL Center,
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: FS1
Opening Odds: Connecticut -1/135.5
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The Villanova Wildcats survived against the worst team in the Big East Conference on Saturday and will need a much better effort Tuesday when they visit the Connecticut Huskies in Hartford. The Wildcats, who are 1.5 games behind the Providence Friars, held off the lowly Georgetown Hoyas 74-66 at home thanks to a big second half from Junior Justin Moore. The Hoyas came into the contest with a 0-14 record in conference play. The victory was the fifth in a row for Villanova, but they are just 2-3 ATS in that span. The Wildcats are 10-5 away from home this season with a 7-8 ATS mark.
The Huskies are currently a No. 6 seed in the projected NCAA Tournament and a win over the 10th-ranked Wildcats would only improve that. UConn has won three in a row after a 72-61 win over Xavier on Saturday. The Huskies raced out to a 17-point halftime lead thanks to a 14-2 run over the final four minutes of the first half. Xavier got back in the game with a 21-8 spurt to open the second half before the Huskies regained control. The Huskies have not been a great cover team this month, going 2-6 ATS since Jan. 29. Villanova took the first meeting on Feb. 5 with an 85-74 victory at home. This is the first time Connecticut will host the Wildcats since Jan. 20, 2018.
Villanova’s five-game winning streak started with an 85-74 home victory against the Huskies on Feb. 5. Eric Dixon scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Wildcats in the victory, while Collin Gillespie had 19 points and three rebounds. Villanova shot almost 60 percent in that game and lead the Big East with 113.3 points per 100 possessions. After a horrible first half, Moore scored scored 15 of his team-high 19 points after the break against Georgetown. Moore went from hitting 1-of-9 in the first half to 5-of-7 in the second half. The Wildcats also got 11 points from Brandon Slater, plus 10 each from Dixon and reserve Caleb Daniels. Gillespie was 2-for-10 from the field and finished with just nine points. Villanova is ranked 26th in the nation with only 63.1 points allowed per game.
The Huskies used balanced scoring in the win over Xavier on Saturday, getting 16 points each from R.J. Cole and reserve Tyler Polley, plus 15 points and nine rebounds from Adama Sanogo. Tyrese Martin lead the team with 11 rebounds and is averaging 13.6 points a game this season. Cole is UConn’s top scorer and assist man this year with 16.2 points and 4.3 assists, while Sanogo averages 15.1 points and 8.6 rebounds. Cole had 25 points in the first meeting with Villanova and the team shot 50 percent from the field and went 8-of-20 from long range. UConn is top 30 in the nation in both offensive and defensive efficiencies, per KenPom.
Villanova hasn’t been overly impressive recently at covering the number, but neither has UConn. The Huskies shot well in the first meeting, which gives me hope they can pull off the minor upset at home. Minor because oddsmakers have this game pegged at Pickem.
Pick: Connecticut PK
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