Western Michigan vs. Villanova NCAAB Preview
Where: TD Arena – Charleston, South Carolina
When: Thursday, November 17, 2016, 11:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
Writer’s Pick: Villanova Wildcats (-21.5)
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Betting on the Western Michigan Broncos (+21.5)
The Western Michigan Broncos football team may be pretty good – a perfect 10-0 and still has an outside shot at the College Football Playoff! – but the Broncos basketball team is less so. WMU went just 13-19 last season, and has started 1-1 this year with a win over NAIA Marygrove (90-74) and more recently a loss to Oakland (77-60).
Apart from senior forward A.J. Avery, Western Michigan returns just about their entire rotation from last season. That includes the high-scoring duo of Thomas Wilder and Tucker Haymond, who combined for 34 of the team’s 73 points per game last season. However, Wilder and Haymond were limited to just 25 points on 7-of-25 shooting in their loss to Oakland. The team as a whole shot just 35 percent.
Western Michigan’s best shot at keeping things respectable against Villanova will be to control the paint. With 7-foot sophomore Seth Dugan, the Broncos should be able to crash the boards fairly well against an undersized Wildcats frontcourt. Dugan pulled down 15 rebounds against Oakland, and the Broncos are currently 28th in the country in rebounding (8th in offensive rebounding) through two games.
Betting on the Villanova Wildcats (-21.5)
The Villanova Wildcats don’t appear to be suffering from any post-championship hangover early on. The Wildcats are 2-0 (straight-up and against the spread) through their first two games. They demolished Lafayette 88-48 in their opener, and are coming off a big 79-76 road win over No. 15 Purdue. Josh Hart led the way with 24 points, while Darryl Reynolds had 12 points and 8 rebounds against the Boilermakers.
Villanova shouldn’t have too many problems with Western Michigan. The Wildcats are just so much better on both sides of the ball. Through two games, they are ranked No. 2 overall per KenPom.com’s college basketball ratings.
The Wildcats should have too much firepower on offense, particularly with how well Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Jalen Brunson can shoot the 3-pointer. They went a 15-of-41 against Lafayette, and 7-of-17 against a very good Purdue defense.
They’re now set to face a Western Michigan team which has struggled mightily defending the 3-point line. The Broncos were 295th and 291st in opponents’ 3-pointers made and attempted last season, and are 266th and 279th in those categories through two games.
Villanova (-21.5) rolls to an 86-62 win over Western Michigan.
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