East Region Second Round: #16 Lafayette Leopards vs #1 Villanova Wildcats

 2015 NCAA Tournament
East Region Second Round

#1 Villanova Wildcats vs #16 Lafayette Leopards
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 6:50 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Villanova -22
Current Line: Villanova -23
Opening Total: 149
Current Total: 146 1/2
Opening Money Line: Villlanova -6000 / Lafayette +2750
Current Money Line: Villanova -8500 / Lafayette +3500

Villanova is a 23 point favorite against Lafayette Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Villanova is a 23 point favorite against Lafayette Thursday in Pittsburgh.

The 32-2 Villanova Wildcats are the hottest team in the country outside of Kentucky. Villanova has won 15 straight games and was rewarded with the #2 overall seed in the tournament and the #1 seed in the East region.  The Wildcats will take on #16 Lafayette from the Patriot League Thursday in Pittsburgh. The winner of Villanova and Lafayette will play either North Carolina State or LSU in the third round Saturday.

Villanova leads the series 7-1 against Lafayette. The Leopards haven’t won against the Wildcats since 1922. Villanova won the last match-up 75-70 in Philadelphia in 2013. The schools are located roughly 70 miles from each other.

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Lafayette went 20-12 overall and finished tied for fourth in the Patriot League at 9-9. The Leopards won the Patriot League tournament by beating American 65-63 in the championship game last Wednesday. Lafayette is making their fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament and first since 2000. The Leopards have yet to win a game in the tournament. Lafayette went 1-2 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Villanova won the Big East regular season title with a 16-2 record, at least 4 games clear of every other team. The Wildcats won the Big East Tournament for the first time since 1995, beating Xavier 69-52 in the final Saturday. Villanova is making their 10th trip to the tournament since 2005. This is the 30th anniversary of the Wildcats’ unlikely national title run in 1985. Villanova went 14-1 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Lafayette is coached by Fran O’Hanlan. The Leopards have road losses at West Virginia, Yale, Kansas, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Loyola-(MD), and American, plus home losses to Navy, American, Lehigh, Bucknell, and Colgate. The Leopards have won 4 straight games. Lafayette has home wins over Princeton, Bucknell, and American,  plus road wins over Robert Morris, Penn, Colgate, Lehigh, and Bucknell. Lafayette is 2-2 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season. The Leopards were a 4 point favorite against American and the total was 129.5.

Villanova is coached by Jay Wright. Villanova has road losses at Seton Hall and Georgetown.  The Wildcats have neutral site wins over Lehigh in Allentown, PA, VCU and Michigan in Brooklyn, Illinois in New York, Marquette, Providence and Xavier in the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden. Villanova has home wins over Delaware, St. Joseph’s, Temple, Syracuse, Butler, DePaul, Xavier, Creighton, Marquette, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Providence, and St. John’s, plus road wins over LaSalle, St. John’s, Penn DePaul, Providence, Butler, Marquette, Xavier, and Creighton. Villanova is 24-9 ATS and the total is 14-18-1 this season. The Wildcats were 7.5 point favorites against Xavier and the total was 129.5.

Lafayette is outscoring teams 74-72 this season. Lafayette is #35 in scoring nationally but #312 out of 353 teams in points allowed.  The Leopards are shooting 48.8% from the field and 41.3% from 3 point range. Lafayette is #7 in field goal percentage and #2 in three point shooting nationally. The Leopards are #9 in free throw shooting nationally at 76.6% from the line. Opponents are shooting 45.6% from 3 point range and 37.7% from 3 point range. The Leopards are #307 or worse in both categories. Lafayette averages 32.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.2 per game. The Leopards average 15.5 assists, 11 turnovers, 6 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.7 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 5.9 steals and 3 blocks per game.

Dan Trist averages 17.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Seth Hinrichs averages 13.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Nick Linder averages 12.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Joey Ptasinski averages 9.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 turnovers. Bryce Scott averages 8.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

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Villanova is outscoring teams 76-61 this season. The Wildcats are #23 in scoring and #43 in points allowed nationally. Villanova is shooting 47% from the field and 38.9% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #36 or better in both categories. Villanova makes 72.7% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 40.5% from 3 point range and 30.8% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #30 nationally in 3 point defense. Villanova averages 34.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 27.7 per game. The Wildcats average 15.9 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 4 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.9 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.

Darrun Hilliard II averages 14 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Josh Hart averages 10.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Ryan Arcidiacono averages 10.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Dylan Ennis averages 9.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 steal per game. JayVaughn Pinkston averages 9.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Daniel Ochefu averages 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.

Villanova is 10-2 ATS after a cover, 21-8 in non-conference games, 39-15 against teams with winning records, 41-16 after a straight up win, 45-18 overall, 5-2 in neutral site games, and 1-6 in NCAA Tournament games.

Lafayette struggles badly on defense, not a good thing when they are facing a high scoring offense like Villanova. The Wildcats should roll in this game.

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