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February 16, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Take Seton Hall at +16.5 spread against Villanova risking 3%

The Villanova Wildcats are 23-2 on the season and currently ranked as the No. 6 team in the country. They are clearly one of the best teams in the nation, there certainly is no doubt about that, however we feel that they are simply getting too much respect from the oddsmakers in this contest as we believe this line has been inflated given the recent performances and perception of both of these teams.  

The Wildcats have been impressive recently having won 6 straight games but come into this contest off an emotional 3 point win on the road this past Saturday against the Butler Bulldogs. In that contest, the Bulldogs actually had the Wildcats on the ropes and appeared ready to pull off the upset. With the game tied and the clock running down, Villanova's Darrun Hilliard hit a game winning 3 pointer with 1.6 seconds left on the clock to steal the win on the road. It was a tough loss for the Bulldogs, but it was also an extremely emotional win for the Wildcats. This is the Cats first game back at home after playing their last couple on the road. It will be interesting to see how that emotional win, coupled in with the recent travel arrangements effect the players in this game, especially against an opponent who will be extremely desperate for a win. 

A month ago the Seton Hall Pirates could have been considered a lock to make the NCAA Tournament this season; however a recent rough stretch has left them on the bubble and currently on the outside looking in. The Pirates head into this contest on a 4 game losing skid and have shown signs of letting their frustrations get the best of them. This is likely why the odds makers have slightly inflated the line to compensate for some of the off court drama in the Seton Hall locker room. While their struggles are evident, they have shown that they are a team that routinely competes on the court and is not easily blown out. Six of the Pirates eight losses in conference play this season have come by 13 points or less, so they have been competitive in just about every game they've played in. Frustration and dissention is common place in sports and while it may be looked at as a negative, it can also be viewed as a positive, showing the passion that the players still have for the game and the team. The players have not given up on this team and have still shown their ability to fight, which should make covering this number tough for Villanova. 

Despite a recent losing streak, something that the Pirates do have going in their favor is the fact that they match up extremely well against Villanova. Villanova has not traditionally been a very good rebounding team, which is an area where the Pirates have excelled. Seton Hall has also managed to defeat Villanova outright in the last two meetings and 3 of the last 5. Last season in the Big East tournament, it was Seton Hall's leading scorer, Sterling Gibbs who hit a buzzer beating jump shot to eliminate the Wildcats from the tournament, ultimately costing them a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Then back on January 3rd, in the Prudential Center, the Pirates jumped out to an early double digit lead over the Wild Cats and ultimately defeated them in overtime when Khadeen Carrington hit some vital shots down the stretch to propel his team to a victory. 

There have been rumors of locker room dissention and a near altercation between Isaiah Whitehead and Sterling Gibbs and while many, including the odds makers likely view that as a negative, both Gibbs and Whitehead put their differences behind them before in their most recent game against the Providence Friars. There is no doubt that the Pirates had hit their low point recently, but we also believe that there really is nowhere to go but up for this team. We believe this team will use their recent struggles as motivation heading into this game and expect to see one of their better performances this season in an attempt to get back to the style of play that made them so successful in the early part of the season. We don't expect Seton Hall to be intimidated heading into this contest, especially since they already know that they have beaten them in the past and realize that they can compete with the best in the country. We believe the worst is behind this team and having a game to adjust without Sina in the lineup should allow the Pirates to play a much more fundamentally sound game tonight. There is no doubt the Seton Hall players will give everything they have in this matchup to end their recent losing streak. 

The Wildcats have been impressive recently. They come into this contest on an impressive win streak and are off of a huge conference win over a Butler team that was challenging them for the lead in the Big East. That was an emotional win, which we believe may leave Villanova in a bit of a letdown spot tonight. There is no doubt that the Wildcats will be looking for double revenge for their recent loss to the Pirates, they may be at a point where they simply want a win too badly. When that happens it often times affects their play on the court causing shots to be slightly off target. Basketball is a game about rhythm and flow and if the Wildcats come out too emotionally charged, it could cause them to struggle with their shot selection early on, allowing the Pirates to settle into their game. Both teams will be looking for the win in tonight’s contest which should make this a fairly competitive game. Even if Villanova does happen to get their revenge, it’s unlikely that they care whether they win this game by 15 or by 5 as long as they get the victory. We feel that this spread is just a couple of baskets too high and the points will likely come into play. Even if Villanova happens to jump out to an early lead, laying this many points almost always leaves teams open to a backdoor cover. If Seton Hall can manage to score 60 points in this contest, which is well below their season average we feel that may be enough to cover this number tonight.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Seton Hall is 21-10 ATS in its last 31 road games overall. 
  • Seton Hall is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. 
  • Seton Hall is 20-8 ATS in their last 28 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • Seton Hall is 9-1 ATS in road games off two straight losses to conference opponents over the last three seasons!

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