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Villanova is the most overrated team in the 2021 NCAA Tournament

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

March 16th, 2021

Betting against Villanova has proven risky in the past several NCAA tournaments. The Wildcats cut down the nets in 2016 and 2018 and looked like a legitimate contender for most of the 2021 campaign…right up until senior point guard Collin Gillespie suffered an injury in early-March.

Villanova can't overcome the loss of Gillespie

The upperclassman was a major cog in the Villanova machine before tearing his MCL in a win over Big East rival Creighton. He averaged 14 points per game before the injury, which ended his season and sent the Wildcats to back-to-back losses ahead of the Big Dance.

Winthrop is no pushover

Despite the defeats to Providence and Georgetown (and another late-season loss to Butler), Villanova was given a No. 5 seed in the 68-team bracket. They’ll face No. 12 seed Winthrop, a squad that went 23-1 during the season and thumped its last three opponents by a total of 77 points (including an 80-53 drubbing of Campbell in the Big South conference tournament).

Sat, March 20 2021, 1:57 AM

Villanova

Moneyline

-286

Spread

-6.5

Total

O 143.5

Winthrop

Moneyline

+230

Spread

+6.5

Total

U 143.5

Villanova shot just 32.7% in the loss to Providence, and while the offense did get better in the loss to eventual Big East tournament champs Georgetown, the Wildcats had a five-point lead with 1:30 to go and watched it slip away. There are genuine question marks surrounding this squad, and it’s tough to justify them at this high a seed given Gillespie’s absence.

Tough matchups loom in the second round

Even if Villanova gets past Winthrop, they may have another very tough matchup in store in the second round. A win would set up a likely date with No. 4 seed Purdue, whose resume includes two wins over Ohio State and Michigan State, plus victories over fellow tournament teams Liberty, Maryland, and Wisconsin.

With all of this in mind, it’s very tough for me to see Villanova advancing past this weekend. By and large, I think the committee got the top several seed lines correct, but between the injury to Gillespie and the matchups involved, they set up the Wildcats for an early exit.

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