Villanova hosts UConn, Florida State at Pitt

Vaughn Dalzell
·8 min read

Florida State (-5.5) at Pitt

Florida State is ACC crown chasing right now and Pitt will be the latest in their way. The spread is only -5.5 in favor of FSU because this is a potential letdown spot coming off the 81-60 win versus Virginia. Florida State certainly flexed their muscles in that game and taking on a Pitt squad that is on a three-game losing streak should not be overlooked.

Florida State is 1-2 SU on the road this season, losing to Clemson and Georgia Tech but beating Louisville. Pitt is 1-3 SU over the last four home games, losing by one, 10 and 26 points. For this matchup, NBC Edge's best trend is the Over for both squads.

The Over is 28-12-2 (70.0%) in Florida State's last 42 games, coming off a rest day. The Over is 12-4 (75.0%) in Pitt's last 16 games against teams with a winning ATS record. While the Over sits at a high 146.0, I will focus on the first half total for Florida State here.

I expect Florida State to jump out to a quick start in this matchup. Over the previous five wins for the Seminoles, they have scored 45 (Virginia), 41 (Wake Forest), 35 (Miami), and 42 (Clemson and Louisville) points in the first half. Florida State lost one game in the 2021 calendar year, at Georgia Tech. The Seminoles lost that game because of a horrific start, only scoring a season-low 26 points in that half before 39 in the second. On the road, Florida State has scored 26 (Georgia Tech), 34 (Clemson) and 42 points (Louisville) in the first half.

Pitt has lost three straight games and their first half of basketball has not been the best. They were down 40-39 to NC State, 31-17 to Georgia Tech and 30-27 to Virginia during that stretch. Pitt's two-point defense ranks 14th of 15 teams with a 53.9% mark in conference play. The Panthers' defensive efficiency ranks 11th (105.4) and the average defensive length of possession is fifth-worst (17.7 seconds). Teams have taken advantage of Pitt early and Florida State's offense can replicate that.

In Pitt's last five ACC home games, they tied or trailed at halftime: 40-39 (NC State), 31-31 (Virginia Tech), 41-29 (Notre Dame) and 34-29 (North Carolina). Pitt led 43-34 (Duke) in half one of the last five home conference home games.

This will be the only meeting of the season between the two teams and Florida State has much more to play for right now. Florida State (8-2) beat Virginia (11-2) and is now in sole possession of second place in the ACC. Pitt sits at 5-7 in conference play and 11th in the standings with three games remaining after this contest versus NC State, Wake Forest and Clemson.

It appears Pitt will finish below .500 in conference play, while Florida State can sweep and take the ACC crown if they win out with five games remaining, including this matchup. Back the Seminoles to score frequently and get off to a quick start. I will also play the Florida State ML in my parlays today as they should roll against a Pitt squad that is 1-6 SU over the last seven games, losing by six or more in four of those matchups.

Bet Locked In: Florida State 1H Team Total Over 35.5 (1u), Florida State -6 (0.5u)

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UConn at Villanova (-6.5)

Villanova is coming off the third loss of the season for the Wildcats. Villanova has won 87-53 (Hartford) and 84-74 (Georgetown), the last two games coming off a SU loss. All of Villanova's losses this season have come on the road or neutral court matchups, and they return home where they are 6-0 SU.

UConn has won two straight, beating Xavier (80-72) and Providence (73-61). Before that, the Huskies were 1-4 SU in the previous five games.

As a member of the Big East, this is the first meeting between the teams since 2013 with UConn's return to the Big East. Villanova's defense fell apart in the last game, allowing 86 points to Creighton, a season-high. The Over is set a 137.0 for this meeting and in the past three games, the Over is 3-0 in Villanova's games and 2-1 in UConn's.

Villanova and UConn rank top five in the Big East for offensive three-point percentage. However, Nova is one of the worst teams in the nation, defending the three, ranking 315th with 37.8%. UConn is a top 100 team from deep, ranking 95th at 35.5%.

Villanova has five players averaging double digits and UConn has three. Villanova ranks fifth in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 121.9 points per every 100 possessions and I think that will be too much for UConn today.

Villanova is one of the best bets according to NBC's model today, and I have to back that as they should walk away with a SU win. If James Bouknight did not return for the Huskies, I would be on the spread here for Nova, but I like the SU win for the Wildcats and a possible cover for the Huskies.

I will parlay Florida State's Moneyline with Villanova's Moneyline for -110 odds on FanDuel.

Bet Locked In: Florida State and Villanova Moneyline parlay (1u)

Eastern Michigan at Kent State (-14)

Eastern Michigan (EMU) is coming off a 25-day pause, last playing a game on Jan. 26, an 86-65 loss at Akron. EMU has lost four straight games, all by 11 or more. They do not have much to play for either, as they sit 1-7 SU in conference play, while Kent State sits third at 10-4 in the MAC.

EMU ranks second to worst or last in just about every category in MAC play. For offensive two-point and three-point percentage, plus both categories defensively, EMU is 11th or 12th. The same with offensive and defensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage on either end of the floor.

Kent State has won three straight games, scoring 71, 76 and 80 points in that stretch. The Golden Flash have won six of the last seven games entering the only meeting with EMU for the season. Kent State is 11-1 at home versus EMU all-time, winning by 10, 13 and 15 points the last three-of-four games in Kent, Ohio. Last season the two teams finished at 86-76 when they met at Kent, and 70-49 at EMU.

Kent State won 14 straight to open this series before the two split 5-5 SU over the last 10 meetings. Kent State is the much better team right now and with EMU coming off a nearly month-long hiatus, take the Golden Flash to run up the score.

Bet Locked In: Kent State -14 (1u)

South Alabama at Appalachian State (-1)

Friday's meeting featured a 65-63 finish with both teams shooting porous from the field and beyond the arc. App State returned from a 20-day break last playing on Jan. 30. In the first game back, App State shot the two at 23.1% (11/38) and three at 23.1% (6/26). Most of their points came from the free-throw line, going 23-of-27 (85.2%).

For South Alabama, they had a better offensive outing, going 16-of-34 (47.1%) and 8-of-23 (34.8%) from deep. App State's outing today will be better than last night's and the two have a history of Overs. In the last 12 meetings, the score has hit or surpassed 133 points in 11 straight up until Friday.

The Over is 5-2 in App State's last seven games overall and 5-1 in the previous six versus a team with a winning SU record. South Alabama is 4-1 the Over versus a team with a winning SU record in the past five.

App State enters with three players averaging double figures, Adrian Delph (12.4 ppg), Donovan Gregory (11.5 ppg) and Michael Almonacy (10.8 ppg). South Alabama has won seven straight games now and had four players score 10 or more points versus App State. Both teams have offensive talent and App State is not nearly as talented as South Alabama defensively.

App State ranks last in conference play defending the two (53.7%) and effective field goal defense (53.0%). South Alabama can certainly score and has not had problems in the past three meetings.

These two teams will meet for the fourth time this season overall. In the first two meetings, South Alabama won the first 73-64 (137) and App State won the second 83-77 (160). The third meeting was Friday's 65-63 slugfest. App State has averaged 75.0 points per game in the last six conference home games this season. South Alabama has averaged 65.4 points per game on the road in conference road games and versus App State this season, South Alabama has averaged 71.6 per game.

South Alabama owns the all-time series 11-3 and while I lean App State to get the win and even the season series at 2-2, I will rock with the Over as both teams have a history of scoring on each other.

Bet Locked In: Over 135 (1u)