UConn and Villanova will clash for the third time this season in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. The winner of this game will face the winner between Creighton and Providence for the conference title.
These teams will also be putting their national rankings on the line as the Wildcats are ranked eighth in the country in the AP Top-25. The Huskies currently hold the number 20 ranking.
Villanova is coming into this game with victories in eight of their last nine games, with their only loss during that stretch being to the Huskies on February 22.
The Huskies have also been hot lately, winning seven of their last eight games and finishing third in the conference at the end of the regular season. The teams split their two meetings this season and should have another exciting game in store tonight.
In last night’s quarterfinals, Connecticut started its quest for the championship with a 62-52 victory over the Seton Hall Pirates. Tyrese Martin and R.J. Cole scored 17 to lead the Huskies, and Isaiah Whaley scored 10 points and added seven rebounds. Adama Sanogo grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in the victory for Connecticut.
All season, the leader on this Huskies team has been senior guard R.J. Cole, who’s averaged 15.8 points, four assists, and 1.2 steals per game. In addition, Sanogo is the team’s leader in rebounds with 8.7 per game, and Whaley is first in blocks with 2.1 per contest.
The Wildcats hope to have a better showing in this season’s Big East Tournament than last season when they lost to the eighth seed Georgetown, who went on to win the title. They’re also hoping to bounce back from their loss to UConn three weeks ago, as they have won three straight since the defeat.
Villanova had to come from 17 points behind last night to get the victory against St. John’s 66-65 to reach the semifinals. Brandon Slater sank two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining to complete the comeback victory. Caleb Daniels scored 19 points for the Wildcats.
Justin Moore had 15 points, and Colin Gillespie added 14 to keep Villanova from being knocked out of the tournament early for the second straight year.
The Huskies are 1-4-1 against the spread in their last six games against Villanova, and the total has gone under in four of the previous six games vs. the Wildcats. Villanova is 5-1 straight up in their last six games against the Huskies.
The Wildcats are favored in this crucial matchup to move on to tomorrow’s championship game. Connecticut Huskies haven’t won a Big East Tournament since 2011 when they went on to win the National Championship and will have to come up big tonight if they hope to move on to the finals.
Godds Pick/Prediction: Villanova will win, and the total goes over.