The No. 1 Villanova Wildcats (11-0) are off to a hot start and will try to stay unbeaten when they go head-to-head with the Butler Bulldogs (11-3, 1-0 Big East) at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 30, 2017.
Villanova Wildcats vs. Butler Bulldogs Free Preview
The last time the Wildcats played, they had no trouble getting past the Hofstra Pride, 95-71. With 19 points and 10 rebounds, Villanova’s Omari Spellman had a good outing. Villanova dominated nearly every facet of the game. They had an extraordinarily low turnover percentage of 8.3 (better than their season average of 14.6) and an offensive rebounding percentage of 35.9 (above their season average of 32.8). Hofstra was 18.5 and 31.0, respectively, for those same stats.
The Bulldogs come in on a high note after edging the Georgetown Hoyas in their last game, 91-89. With 31 points on 12-for-21 shooting, Kamar Baldwin was the top scorer from either team. The Bulldogs forced 21 turnovers and held the Hoyas to an effective field goal percentage of 0.469 (below their season average of 0.554).
Points could be at a premium in this meeting between two of the nations top defenses. Butler currently ranks 58th in defensive efficiency (94.9) and Villanova is 31st (92.3). Also, the Wildcats rank 32nd in turnover percentage (16.2 percent), while the Bulldogs rank 35th in opponents turnover percentage (23.3 percent).
Kelan Martin has really been playing well over the last five games for Butler, averaging 20.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game.
This is the first time these teams will meet this year, after the Bulldogs won both meetings last season. In the last matchup, Butler won 74-66. Butler was lights out from beyond the arc (10-25; 40.0 percent). Villanova, meanwhile, had a better turnover percentage (19.0 vs. 21.5).
Villanova Wildcats vs. Butler Bulldogs Odds Prediction
Predictions: SU Winner – Butler, ATS Winner – Butler, O/U – Under
- The Bulldogs average 7.8 steals per game, which ranks 47th in the nation. The Wildcats rank 29th in steals allowed per game (5.1).
- Villanova ranks 18th in rebounds allowed per game (30.6) while Butler ranks 35th (31.6).
- Villanova ranks 35th in three pointers attempted per game (26.7) while Butler ranks 137th (22.2).
- The Wildcats rank 38th in assists per game (16.9) while the Bulldogs rank 129th (14.0).
- Villanova ranks 56th in blocks per game (4.5) while Butler ranks 104th in blocks allowed per game (3.6).
- The Bulldogs average margin of victory in their last five games has been 18.4, up from 11.1 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Wildcats have scored an average of 88.2 points per game (2.0 above their season average) and allowed an average of 66.2 points per game (1.7 above their season average).