- No. 5 Villanova is a 26.5-point home favorite against Howard
- Howard is 3-0 for the first time in three seasons
- The teams are meeting for the first time
No. 5 Villanova is an overwhelming 26.5-point favorite over visiting Howard at 6:30 pm ET Tuesday on FS2. The Wildcats took No. 2 UCLA to overtime before losing 86-77 in Los Angeles on Friday.
Howard (3-0) beat Missouri Valley foe Bradley on the road Saturday after dispatching NCAA Division II foe the University of the District Columbia and Regent University of Virginia Beach, Va., a member of the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association.
Howard vs Villanova Odds
|Howard Bison||NA||+26.5 (-110)||NA|
|Villanova Wildcats||NA||-26.5 (-110)||NA|
Odds from BetMGM on Nov. 15
Villanova’s Gillespie Back
Villanova preseason AP All-American Collin Gillespie has seemed like his old self in the first two games while returning from a season-ending knee injury he suffered in the final game of the 2020-21 regular season.
Gillespie, a 6’3 senior, had 13 points, five assists and no turnovers in 30 minutes in a 91-51 victory over Mt. Saint Mary’s in the season opener, his first game after suffering a torn medial collateral ligament against Creighton on March 3. He followed that with 18 points, three assists and only two turnovers in 42 minutes against UCLA.
Gillespie has made 7 of 14 three-point attempts in the first two games after shooting 38 percent from distance a year ago. He is a career 37 percent shooter from three-point range and has averaged only 1.3 turnovers per game in his four-plus seasons. Without Gillespie, the Wildcats fell to eventual NCAA tournament champion Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen after advancing with victories over Winthrop and North Texas.
He is not the Wildcats’ only experienced weapon. Jermaine Samuels, a 6’9 senior, averaged 12 points and 6.4 rebounds a year ago and 6’4 junior Justin Moore had 12.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Samuels had 20 against UCLA and Moore had 27 against Mount St. Mary’s.
Villanova and UCLA played the kind of game usually reserved for the national stage of the NCAA Tournament last Friday, when the then-No. 4 Wildcats fell to No. 2 UCLA 86-77 in overtime in front of13,000 at Pauley Pavilion. The Wildcats dropped one spot in this week’s poll.
Villanova rook a 60-50 lead on Gillespie’s 3-pointer with 9:24 remaining, and they led 67-63 on Moore’s layup with 2:13 remaining before missing two field goals and committing a turnover in the final 90 seconds of regulation as UCLA tied it at 67. The Wildcats were 2 of 9 from the field ls in overtime and were outrebounded 46-32.
It was first matchup on nonconference top five teams in Pauley since 1992, and featured two preseason AP All-Americans in Gillespie and UCLA guard Johnny Juzang.
Howard Turns It Around
Howard, 3-0, has made a dramatic course correction behind a mostly veteran group after struggling through a dismal 2019-20 season and a Covid-19-caused suspension25 last year.
Elijah Hawkins (18.5 points) and Kyle Foster (14.7) lead five players in double-figures. Foster is one of the four graduate students on the roster, while Hawkins is a freshman. Foster had made 12 of 18 three-point attempts this season.
— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) November 15, 2021
The Bison were 4-29 in 2019-20, 1 -15 in the MEAC, and played only five games last season, winning one, before suspending and ultimately canceling its season in early February because of the pandemic. They had not played since Dec. 18, 2020.
By the Numbers
Villanova was sixth in KenPom’s final 2020-21 adjusted offensive efficiency ratings, in no small part because it was second in NCAA Division I with only 9.1 turnovers per game.
The NCCAA will not prepare Howard for this. The Bison face a steep mountain to climb here, especially with the Wildcats smarting after losing a 10-point second-half lead to UCLA last time out;.
The pick: Villanova -26.5 (-110)5