The Villanova Wildcats have spent quite a bit of time in the #1 position in the polls this season, and there is no doubt of their offensive prowess. They’re always a threat to run a team of the floor, but on Saturday, they may be going up against an Alabama Crimson Tide team that doesn’t mind that kind of pace at all. This game will be part of the East region of the NCAA Tournament, beginning at 12:10 PM ET at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Remember that if you are a VietBet customer, you can place wagers even after the game tips off, using the facilities available through Live Betting Ultra.
2018 NCAA Tournament Betting Lines – Alabama vs Villanova:
In the 2018 NCAA Tournament Betting Lines posted on this game by the folks at VietBet, Villanova is the favorite:
Villanova Wildcats -11
Alabama Crimson Tide +11
Over 148 points -110
Under 148 points -110
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2018 NCAA Tournament Betting Lines: Alabama vs Villanova – CJ’s Take:
Alabama had a tough matchup in its first game, and that’s the way it’s going to be if you are the #9 seed. They had to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies, and they were equal to the task, winning by an 86-83 score. It was no surprise who was the guy driving the ship for Alabama, as freshman point guard Colin Sexton had 25 points and six assists, maximizing his opportunities to go to the free-throw line (shooting 10-14). Sexton, who is going to be an NBA lottery pick up he decides to come out for the draft, has averaged 19 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists this year.
Villanova leads the nation in scoring, and they didn’t have a very hard time with Radford in their first tournament game. When you are the top seed in your region, as they are, you have that kind of luxury, and they cruised to an 87-61 victory over a team that had to play through the First Four just to get into the 64-team field. Jalen Brunson, the Player of the Year candidate, had 16 points, and Villanova shot 60% from the field.
Villanova’s offense is first in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, according to the analytics site KenPom.com. And they have an insane 60% effective field-goal percentage. The Wildcats can, at any given time, have all five players on the floor who have shot 40% from three-point range on the season. That is awesome. Mikal Bridges is eleventh in the nation in Offensive Rating, and he is 43.5% from the arc. When you have to do against the Wildcats is get out there and defend the perimeter. That’s easier said than done, but Alabama might be the kind of team to slow them up a little bit in that department, as they allowed just 32.4% shooting from downtown.
The Tide is not a strong three-point shooting team, residing outside the top 300 in that category. But they have a guy in Sexton who can penetrate and create shots for other players on the floor. One problem that Alabama has, however, is that even though they get to the line pretty often, as it accounts for 21.2% of their total points, they don’t shoot well enough from the charity stripe (only 67.2%), so they are leaving a lot of points on the table. Villanova is 20th best in the nation with 77.2% from the line, and they are second-best from two-point range, just under 60%. Can Alabama deal with the pace here, or rather, can they slow Villanova down? That is a big question right there, as we keep in mind that they have lost 15 games on the season. But in the vastly-improved SEC, they traded blows with a lot of teams, registering victories over the likes of Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and Texas A&M. So this won’t be an easy mark for the Wildcats.
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By Charles Jay
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