Villanova vs. Mount St. Mary’s prediction and game preview, as the No. 1 overall seed Wildcats take on No. 16 Mountaineers.
Mount St. Mary’s kicked off the NCAA Tournament with a thrilling win over New Orleans in the First Four game held in Dayton. As a reward, the Mountaineers get to square off against the Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, Villanova. A tough draw, not only is Mount St. Mary’s looking to become the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1, they have the unenviable task of facing a defending champion more than capable of a repeat.
Below is a prediction and game preview for the contest.
Villanova vs. Mount St. Mary’s Game Preview
Date: March 16
Venue: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
The most important strength is their championship experience and knowing what it takes to win six in a row in March. Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, Kris Jenkins, etc., all have been there before. The Wildcats won’t beat themselves in this tournament.
Villanova and Kansas are probably the most complete teams, but it’s even tougher to find a Wildcats’ weakness. They play solid defense, knock down their free throws and share the ball. If they can avoid an off shooting night, we could be looking at a repeat national champion.
Mount St. Mary’s Strengths
The most dangerous mid- and low-majors come NCAA Tournament time are those with no fear, and Mount St. Mary’s certainly qualifies. The Mountaineers played their first nine games away from home and faced the likes of West Virginia, Iowa State, Minnesota, Michigan and Arkansas during a 1-11 start. They took those lumps and are now 20-15 and headed to the Big Dance. Elijah Long and Junior Robinson can heat up at a moment’s notice and will have Mount St. Mary’s blitzing its opponent from the opening tip.
Mount St. Mary’s Weaknesses
The Mountaineers got crushed on the boards all season. Of the 347 Division I teams, they finished in a tie for 342nd with a minus-7.4 rebound differential per game. That’s likely not going to change in the Tournament, so knocking down their shots becomes of even more importance if they hope to pull off an upset.
Villanova vs. Mount St. Mary’s By The Numbers
Scoring Margin: 14.5 (11th nationally)
Rebound Margin: 3.7 (71)
Turnover Margin: 1.9 (61)
3-Point Field Goal Percentage: 36.8% (90)
Mount St. Mary’s Statistics
Scoring Margin: -.6 (213)
Rebound Margin: -7.4 (342)
Turnover Margin: 1.5 (84)
3-Point Field Goal Percentage: 35.7% (143)
Villanova vs. Mount St. Mary’s Prediction
Congrats to Mount St. Mary’s for winning a nail-biter against New Orleans in Dayton. And while the fearlessness of this team looks ripe for a Cinderella in the making, alas the slipper will not fit. Villanova is too balanced, too experienced, and simply too talented. The Wildcats will take this one with relative ease.
Villanova vs. Mount St. Mary’s Score Prediction: Villanova 96, Mount St. Mary’s 72