Villanova vs. Butler prediction and game preview. The Wildcats seek revenge for an earlier loss to the Bulldogs in Wednesday night’s Big East battle.
Villanova vs. Butler Game Preview
When: Wednesday, Feb. 22 – 9 p.m. ET
Where: The Pavilion, Villanova, Penn.
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 1
Villanova looks every bit the legitimate contender to repeat as national champion with a 26-2 record Big East-leading 13-2 mark. But the Wildcats’ trip to Indianapolis back on Jan. 4 did go so well, as they suffered their first defeat of the season in a 66-58 loss to Butler while shooting a season-worst 37.3 percent from the field.
The Bulldogs neutralized Josh Hart in that contest as he went 3 for 11 from the field, but Hart is averaging 19.4 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 46.5 percent over his last five games. He wasn’t even Villanova’s top player in Saturday’s 92-70 at Seton Hall, though, as Kris Jenkins and Jalen Brunson finished with 22 points apiece, while Brunson also added 10 assists.
Butler struggled to contain Brunson in the first meeting as the sophomore finished with 23 points, but it’ll look to do so this time around and continue its hot shooting. The Bulldogs have shot 57.3 percent while winning back-to-back games over St. John’s on DePaul.
Kelan Martin, who has come off the bench the last four games, finished with 19 points and nine rebounds against the Red Storm and 14 points and eight boards against the Blue Demons.
Villanova Wins If …
… Brunson torches the Bulldogs again. It’s true that Butler beat Villanova despite Brunson having a strong game in the first meeting. But I’m counting on Hart and Jenkins – who went 4 for 11 from the field against the Bulldogs – playing much better. Brunson has averaged 19.0 points and 7.0 assists in his last three games and hit all seven of his field goal attempts against Seton Hall. If he keeps that up, the Wildcats should win easily.
Butler Wins If …
… it continues its hot shooting. It’s extremely likely that Villanova won’t let the Bulldogs shoot roughly 57 percent from the field like their last two games, but they’re still capable of shooting better than the 45.1 percent in the first meeting. Avery Woodson is 10 of 16 from 3-point range over the last two and has been in the starting lineup the last four.
Matchup To Watch
Martin vs. Jenkins
Martin likely won’t start again, but he’ll get plenty of minutes. Part of the reason he was sent to the bench was because of his effort rebounding and defending, and shutting down Jenkins would go a long way in earning that trust back.
Spread: Villanova -10
Villanova vs. Butler Prediction
Hart leads the way with 25 points and Brunson hits double digits in assists as Villanova earns a fairly easy home victory.
Villanova vs. Butler final score prediction: Villanova 82, Butler 71