South Regional Final Pits No. 2 vs 5 Seed in Elite 8
The matchup with the Villanova Wildcats and Houston Cougars is intriguing on so many levels, but it is ball security that could determine this game.
Villanova ranks in the top 20 nationally, committing just 10.1 turnovers per game and having only 16 turnovers in the last two contests. Houston thrives on its ability to create turnovers and ranks in the top 40 in both steals and blocked shots. There are few teams in the country that can turn defense into offense more quickly than the athletic Cougars.
Both teams have had relatively drama-free runs to the South Regional final. Houston hasn’t trailed in the second half in its three games in the March Madness brackets while Villanova shook off a rough start against Delaware in the first round to eliminate Big Ten teams Ohio State and Michigan.
Houston (+350) suddenly has the best odds to win the national championship after being tied for the 11th-best odds just a week ago. Villanova isn’t far behind at +700.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and March Madness Odds for Houston vs Villanova. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Houston Gets Defensive to Jolt No. 1 seed Arizona
When the news hit that leading scorer Marcus Sasser was going to miss the rest of the season, the March Madness predictions were not expecting another run to the Final Four for the Houston Cougars. However, Houston is a win away from going back to the Final Four for the second straight season.
— Houston Men’s Hoops 🏀 🐾 (@UHCougarMBK) March 25, 2022
Facing one of the nation’s top offensive teams, Houston held Arizona to 33 percent shooting and just seven 3-pointers in a 12-point win. It was the final time that Houston entered a game as the underdog since a Dec. 11 showdown with Alabama.
It was a five-point game with 11 minutes to play and Arizona was back within seven points with 1:02 remaining before the Wildcats missed their final four shots and became the third No. 1 seed eliminated from the March Madness bracket.
Houston’s defense not only bottled up the Wildcats, but the Cougars had 24 points off 14 Arizona turnovers while the Wildcats managed to convert 12 Houston turnovers into just six points.
Jamal Shead led the way with 21 points, six assists and two steals. Kyler Edwards continued his hot shooting in the NCAA Tournament with five more 3-pointers. He has 15 3-pointers while shooting 52 percent from 3-point range in the tournament.
Houston has covered against the Las Vegas odds in each of its last six games.
Samuels delivers During March Madness for Villanova
The first thing that typically pops into people’s heads when they think of the 2021-22 Villanova men’s basketball team is the veteran backcourt of Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore. While Gillespie and Moore have played a key role in the Wildcats’ postseason, Jermaine Samuels has become a huge factor.
After scoring in single digits in two of Villanova’s three games in the Big East tournament, it wasn’t certain what his impact would be in the NCAAs.
Samuels had a season-high 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting while battling Michigan’s frontcourt as the Wildcats reached the final in the South Region with a 63-55 win. Samuels went 4 for 4 from the foul line in the final 15 seconds to clinch the victory.
Samuels is averaging 18 points on 67 percent shooting to go with eight rebounds per game in the last three games. He has scored in double figures in his last eight NCAA Tournament games and is a win away from being a part of his second Final Four in his five seasons at Villanova.
Villanova is 4-1 against the college basketball spreads in its last five games.
Houston vs Villanova Head-to-Head
It has been awhile since Houston and Villanova have gotten together, so the history between the teams won’t be of much help for those who bet online.
The most recent meeting came on Nov. 23, 1991, with the Cougars winning 79-49. Villanova won a regular-season matchup while the teams split NCAA Tournament showdowns: Houston won 89-71 in 1983 and Villanova advanced in the 1981 March Madness bracket with a 90-72 win.
Villanova has won its last three Elite Eight games and covered in each of them, including victories against Texas Tech in 2018 and Kansas in 2016.
This is Houston’s second straight trip to a regional final, with the Cougars topping Oregon State 67-61 in the 2021 tournament as an eight-point favorite.
Houston vs Villanova Game Information
- Game: Houston (32-5) vs. Villanova (29-7)
- Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
- Day/Time: Saturday, March 26th. 6:09 p.m. ET
- Live stream: TBS.com
- 2022 March Madness bracket
Houston vs Villanova Betting Lines
Houston vs Villanova Prediction
These are two of the top defensive teams in the country and have looked like that during the tournament, so even with a low total of 128, going with the under might not be the worst move.
A piece of advice for Houston: Playing with the lead would be a wise course of action. Villanova leads the country by making 82.5 percent of its foul shots with Gillespie converting more than 90 percent of his foul shots. Expecting the Wildcats to miss from the line late in the game is little more than wishful thinking.
Houston comes into the game as the favorite according to the March Madness odds, but it is hard to go against a team that rarely turns the ball over, makes its free throws and has seniors who have been in this position before.
Pick: Villanova Wildcats +115
Pick: Villanova Wildcats +2 (-110)
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