Four of the top teams in the Nation will meet in Connecticut to play a two-game tournament. The #5 Villanova Wildcats will take on the #17 Tennessee Volunteers, followed by the #6 Purdue Boilermakers taking on the #19 North Carolina Tar Heels.
Both of these games have the potential to be great. Let’s take a look at both matchups and discuss the betting strategies for both games.
Wildcats vs. Volunteers
The Villanova Wildcats are looking for a redemption game after falling to the Bruins of UCLA in their second game of the season. It was an overtime thriller, that saw the Wildcats come up just short against the #2 team in the nation. The Volunteers have yet to be truly tested as they have started their season 2-0, but have not played any top competition.
Justin Moore, a junior guard for Villanova, is off to a great start, averaging 19 points and four rebounds per game. If there was one thing his game is missing, it is his lack of assists, averaging just one per game. Fifth-year senior, and captain of the Villanova team, Collin Gillespie is off to a streaky start, averaging 17 points per game. The Wildcats have shot exceptionally well from the three-point line, shooting 48.8% in three games.
The Volunteers feature one of the best bigs in the NCAA in Olivier Nkamhoua. Through two games, Nkamhoua is averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Volunteers also have one of the best freshmen in the country in Kennedy Chandler. He is averaging 18 points and five assists.
Boilermakers vs. Tar Heels
Purdue is off to a 3-0 start and has won all three games handily. While they have yet to be tested, they have won all three games in dominant fashion, scoring over 90 points in all three games.
The Tar Heels are 3-0 to start their 2021 campaign, with two wins against much lesser skilled teams. The Tar Heels did have a close call in their last game as they were only able to defeat Charleston University by 11 points.
Purdue’s big man, the 7’4” Zach Edey, has looked great to start the season. He is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds, while also adding two blocks per game. The sophomore guard Jaden Ivey has been playing a utility role so far this season, averaging 15 points, three assists, and six rebounds per game. Purdue’s offense is one of the best in the nation, averaging over 94 points per game.
The Tar Heels are led by sophomore Caleb Love and fifth-year senior Bray Manek. Love is averaging over 17 points a game and adding three assists. Manek is also averaging 17 points a game while also adding six rebounds per game. While North Carolina may not have the most skilled team in recent years, they do have depth, with two or three players able to come off the bench and add scoring options.
Villanova already playing a top-ranked team will help them go up against the Volunteers. While Villanova is usually known for its defense, this team seems to bring an offensive mindset, unlike previous teams. It will be a real test for the freshman Chandler and could play a huge role in the future for the Volunteers. I predict the Wildcats should win by six or more points.
The Tar Heels have some clear problems defensively. Yes, they will match up with anyone offensively, but can they play defense against one of the best teams in the country? This Purdue team is very young and very skilled, this will be their first true test of the season. I like the Boilermakers to win a close one, by three points or less.