There’s little separating the #6 Villanova Wildcats (22-9) and the #3 Purdue Boilermakers (23-8) according to oddsmakers. The spread for Saturday’s second-round March Madness game (8:40 pm at XL Center) opened at Boilermakers -4 with a total of 137 O/U.
The Wildcats, defending national champions, aren’t anywhere close to the team they were last season, but Jay Wright’s group still has an elite offense, all things considered. Nova comes into today’s game scoring 75 points per game, which ranks number 122 in the nation, and is shooting 41-percent from the floor and 36-percent from three (109th). Per 40 minutes, they are 16th in the country in offensive rating.
The defense has not been as strong, however, sitting 162nd in defensive rating and surrendering 67 PPG (61st in the America). The only reason they are holding opponents under 70, on average, is because of their methodical face at the offensive end which reduces the number of possessions in a game. Altogether, opponents are shooting 44-percent from the field.
Offensively, they are paced by veteran leader Phil Booth, who’s pouring in a team-best 19 points per game. On the glass, Eric Paschall, another significant part of last year’s title-winning team, has led the way with 6 rebounds a night.
The Wildcats won’t crush you in terms of rebounding, but they aren’t the worst of the worst. They are currently 194th in the nation, hauling in 32 rebounds per night.
Villanova is coming off a 61-57 win over St. Mary’s in the first round. They trailed by two at the half, but steadily distanced the #11 Gaels in the second stanza. As has been the case most of the season, Booth came up big in the W, leading the charge with 20 points and 6 assists. Paschall added 14 points and 6 rebounds.
The Wildcats will be facing a Purdue team that is deft offensively, currently 10th in offensive rating. That’s translated to the Boilermakers averaging 76 points per contest, 88th overall.
The Boilermakers aren’t as good defensively, sitting 114th in defensive rating while conceding 67 points per game.
Prolific junior guard Carsen Edwards leads the team on offense, averaging 23 PPG, while Nojel Eastern leads the Boilermakers on the boards, grabbing 6 rebounds per game.
Eastern missed Purdue’s opening-round game against Old Dominion due to an ankle injury he suffered in warmup, but he is expected to be fully healthy for Saturday.
As a team, Purdue is better than Villanova on the glass and pretty strong generally, averaging 34 RPG, which ranks 76th overall.
The Boilermakers are coming off an easy 61-48 win over #14 ODU in the first round. They won the rebounding battle 45-41 and cruised to victory despite only going 9/30 from the three-point line (30%) and 12/18 from the free-throw line (67%).
Edwards led the team in scoring, as usual, pouring in 26 points while adding 7 rebounds and 4 dimes.
Against the number, Purdue has rewarded its backers, going 18-14-1 ATS. But don’t add them to your bet slip too quickly because Villanova has been even better, going 21-14-0 ATS, as well. Both squads have been better than expected this year, as both were able to overcome huge personnel losses in the offseason.
See the most recent odds, line movement, and our proprietary projection system’s score prediction for Villanova vs Purdue above. As always, good luck betting.