The Villanova Wildcats come into the NCAA Tournament as the overall second-ranked team in the tourney and mark it down now, the Wildcats will cut the nets down on April 2 in the national championship game.
Below are three points for why Villanova will win its third national title and why bettors should get their bets in now for the Wildcats.
Does Villanova have the easiest road to the Final Four?
While all No. 1 seeds end up having to play some stiff competition at some point during the tourney, the reality is Villanova’s potential opponents do not measure up to the Wildcats.
Villanova’s first-round matchup should be a walkover (no 1 seed has ever lost to a 16 seed) and then the Wildcats would gear up for a matchup vs the Sportsbook of Alabama-Virginia Tech. Mikal Bridges (more on him below) is already considered a top-five perimeter defender in the country and should have no trouble locking up the Tide’s Collin Sexton or the Hokies’ Justin Robinson.
After the first weekend, the Wildcats’ road gets a bit tougher (as it should) but only one team in their region was ranked in the top 10 nationally (Purdue). In order to win the national championship, you have to get out of your region and on paper, Villanova’s bracket may be the weakest of the four No. 1 seeds.
Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges are the best 1-2 punch in the tournament
The two juniors have been the co-MVPs of the Wildcats all season and will likely end up as all-Americans when the selections are released by the Associated Press. Brunson and Bridges combined for over 37 points per game this season and both shoot over 40 percent from three-point range. Their performance pushed Villanova to an 11.7-point win differential, which is tops in the Big East and fourth in the country.
Bridges and the Wildcats’ perimeter defense was no joke this season, holding teams to 44 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from three-point range. Brunson, meanwhile, took home Big East Player of the Year honors and saved his best performance for last when he dropped 31 points vs Providence in the conference title game. Having a shot-maker and a perimeter hound is a perfect recipe to march to the national title.
Jay Wright is the best coach everyone isn’t talking about
Sure, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Bill Self get all the publicity but Jay Wright may be the most consistent coach among the four. Wright has led the Wildcats to the NCAA tourney almost every year since 2005 (except 2012) and had his squad ranked as a 2 seed or higher in March Madness for the last four years.
Villanova has won the Big East championship three of the last four seasons and that’s very impressive when you consider the Wildcats have only gotten one five-star recruit since 2009 (Brunson in 2015.)
The Wildcats’ signature wins this season are remarkable when you factor in victories over Gonzaga, Tennessee and Xavier (twice). Those three teams are all ranked fourth or higher in this tourney and each win was by double digits. Speaking of double digits, it’s worth noting that Villanova has played 36 games this season and won 26 of them by 10 points or more. This team is experienced, has played in big games and will be ready to excel again in March’s spotlight.
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