If you’re looking to make Super Bowl Sunday a full day’s worth of action, there is a good hoops game tipping at noon that you can catch on Fox Sports 1. The #1 team in the land, Villanova, hosts Seton Hall in a matchup of two top-three teams in the Big East that will both be dancing in just over a month. I see the value with the Pirates, who are getting the big points on the road.
Seton Hall is going to be one of those upper-mid seeds that I liken to make a run and win a couple games in the NCAA Tournament, if it gets a decent draw. The Pirates are 17–5 and 6–3 in conference. They have lost to Rhode Island by one, at Rutgers by six, at Marquette, at Creighton and versus Xavier. They’ve crushed Indiana, beaten Texas Tech by ten, Louisville, Creighton and won at Butler.
But all results aside, what I like about this team is the balance and the senior leadership. Four guys score in double-figures and three of them are seniors who got to campus at the same time and have played significant minutes ever since. Desi Rodriguez is a 6’6″ slashing forward who can shoot from the outside and finish at at the rim; Khadeen Carrington has sacrificed some scoring this season as the point guard in order to get more guys involved, but when the time calls for a big bucket, he has it; Angel Delgado averages 13 and 12 at center and is the NCAA all-time leading rebounder among active players. Those three guys, along with sophomore Myles Powell, the team’s most dangerous three-point shooter combine to average about 60 points per game.
Seton Hall is top-heavy, which is also how Villanova is built. I wrote about Phil Booth’s absence in Thursday’s write-up, which was a loser. With Booth gone, Donte DiVincenzo can step in and come close to doing everything he does. Of course, that means DiVincenzo isn’t available as one of the very best sixth men in the entire country. Jay Wright really only has two guys he trusts off his bench, including Booth’s replacement Connor Gillespie, a freshman who was only playing about ten minutes a game when Booth was healthy.
So Villanova won’t outlast you with its depth; it will, however, overwhelm you with talent if you can’t matchup. Carrington will hold his own against Jalen Brunson like few point guards across the country can; Rodriguez will check Mikal Bridges and Delgado may even win his matchup with freshman sensation Omari Spellman. Powell and DiVincenzo are similar type players that we can only expect to play similar type games, unless one is significantly hotter from outside than the other.
Seton Hall matches up. It is going to give ‘Nova its best shot because that’s what you do against the #1 team in the country. And I expect this game to be very close.
Free Pick: Seton Hall +13