Villanova vs UConn Basketball Odds, Prediction, Picks (2/22)

Matt Wiesenfeld

With Providence, Villanova, and UConn at the top of the conference standings, the Big East has a retro feel this season, even if Georgetown is at the very bottom of the league.

All three of those top teams are still jockeying for positioning in the standings as the regular season winds down. First-place Providence has only two losses, but one of them came at the hands of Villanova last week.

For the Wildcats to have a shot at the top spot they need to win their next two games before they host the Friars next Tuesday.

UConn is tied for third with Creighton, and with the Big East title all but out of the equation, their mission tonight is revenge and spoiling Villanova’s chances. They did not show well when they played Villanova in Philly earlier this month.

Look for a spirited game on Tuesday night between two longtime rivals.

Villanova Wildcats vs. UConn Huskies College Basketball Matchup Info and Betting Odds

Matchup Information

  • Game Matchup: Villanova Wildcats (21-6, 14-3 Big East, 2nd in the Big East) vs. Connecticut Huskies (19-7, 10-5 Big East, t-3rd in the Big East)
  • Venue & Location: XL Center (Hartford, Connecticut)
  • Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2022
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Betting Odds

  • Spread: Villanova +2.5 (-110), UConn -2.5 (-110)
  • Total: OVER 135.5 (-110), UNDER 135.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Villanova +115, UConn -140

Odds are via BetMGM.

Villanova, Not Providence, Is Big East’s Best Team

With due respect to Providence, who is 22-3 overall and 12-2 in the Big East, Villanova is the best team in the conference.

The metrics bear that out too and the gap between the Wildcats and Friars is significant. Here are the top teams in the Big East according to KenPom.

  • 11. Villanova
  • 18. Connecticut
  • 34. Marquette
  • 36. Seton Hall
  • 37. Xavier
  • 46. Providence

Coach Jay Wright has his team finishing strong with just two losses since December 17th, both to Marquette. If you had to pick a team in the Big East to go to the Final Four or further, the Wildcats are the best bet.

The only downside to Villanova is depth, but that is as not as much of a factor in the college game.

Is UConn Really Next Best in the Big East?

As noted above, the Huskies are the Big East’s second-best team according to KenPom. As you can see there are lots of quality teams in the Big East this season and picking the next best after Villanova is a challenge.

One thing that has helped UConn’s profile is their win over Auburn, but with the Tigers suffering two recent losses, it is not as much of a difference-maker anymore.

UConn is a very good team, but I think their ceiling is lower than a team like Seton Hall which has great depth and size. Also, you can’t overlook that one of the reasons they have a strong league record is that they have gotten fat on the bottom of the Big East, with sweeps of Butler and St. John’s already.

The strength of this team is big man Adama Sanogo. He is underrated nationally, but he is among the best in the country on the offensive glass and blocking shots at the rim. The Huskies get themselves in trouble when they forget to get him involved as much as possible. They should have used him more the first time they played Villanova.

Villanova vs. Connecticut Prediction & Pick

Villanova 74, Connecticut 68 (Villanova -1, Over 135.5)

When these teams met on Feb. 5, Villanova won by 11 points. That in of itself was impressive, but the final score was actually flattering to the Huskies.

With less than 10 minutes to play Villanova was winning by double that margin, but the Huskies made some shots down the stretch to make the final score more respectable.

In the loss, the Huskies' defense disappeared. They allowed the Wildcats to make 61 percent of their two-point shots and more than half of their threes. Combine that with Villanova’s always stellar shooting from the free-throw line–21 of 22 vs. the Huskies and first in the nation for the season–and there was little the Huskies could do to keep up.

UConn actually had a strong offensive game with the trio of Sanogo, lead guard R.J. Cole, and wing shooter Tyrese Martin combining for 53 points. But with the way they were playing defense (or not), they could not afford to miss.

I do expect the Huskies to be more competitive than the last time these teams played. They are not playing on campus but should still have an edge in Hartford.

I do not think it is enough, however. Not because the Huskies are incapable of beating Villanova; they are. The Huskies have gone 4-1 since that loss including back-to-back wins against Seton Hall and Xavier, who are two quality teams.

Tonight, I think we will see improvement but also another acknowledgment that the gap between Villanova and the rest of the Big East is significant. I am not sure why the computers like UConn so much more than the other teams below Villanova right now, but that number is going to take another hit after this matchup.

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