4:05 p.m. at Boston
Villanova +2 vs Pittsburgh (141)
It’s Big East vs Big East with the No. 1 seed Pittsburgh losing its previous meeting this year at Villanova by 10. The 67-57 score is indicative of how this game should go down. The 141 total looks high considering that the strength of the Panthers is defense and physical play. The fact that Pittsburgh has failed to cover the spread in four straight games is due in part to a slight breakdown in defense.
Villanova has played back-to-back brilliant games, beating UCLA by 20 and Duke by 23. So clearly the Wildcats are a very live underdog here. Pittsburgh gets in trouble when its space-eater DeJuan Blair is on the bench in foul difficulty. For Pitt to advance, Blair needs to stay in the game. The key matchup is at point guard between Pitt’s Levance Fields and Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds. Fields has had a knack for the dramatic, as evidenced against Xavier, while Reynolds at times is reluctant to shoot.
We see this as a blue-collar battle with Fields and Blair rising late to pull out a close win. PITTSBURGH / UNDER.