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No. 5 Villanova vs. No. 12 Winthrop preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 5 Villanova and No. 12 Winthrop face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Members of the Villanova Wildcats are seen during the game against the Butler Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse on February 28, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. No. 5 seed Villanova will face No. 12 seed Winthrop in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Friday, March 19
Game time: 9:57 p.m. ET
TV channel: TNT
Location: Farmers Coliseum

Odds: Villanova -6
Over/Under: 137

No. 5 Villanova

The Villanova Wildcats might have been hit by illnesses and injuries harder than any team in college basketball during the 2020-21 season. The Wildcats had a number of games postponed or canceled due to COVID-19, and senior forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree missed every game with an injury. Second-leading scorer Collin Gillespie went down with a serious knee injury in the Wildcats’ second-to-last game of the regular season. Villanova will need to regroup quickly for an NCAA Tournament run.

The Wildcats had one of the best offenses in the country in terms of adjusted efficiency, but Gillespie was a huge part of that, leading the team in assists with 4.6 per game. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is the top scorer for Villanova with 15.4 points per game to go along with a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game. He will need to shoulder a huge load if the Wildcats find a way to make a deep run into the tournament.

Record:16-6, 11-4 Big East
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 8
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 68
ATS: 11-10-1
Over Total: 12-10
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +2000

No. 12 Winthrop

Winthrop has been one of the most consistently good teams in the country this year. The Eagles boast a 23-1 record and only fell to UNC Asheville in the Big South. Winthrop needed to win its conference tournament to get an automatic bid because of its paper thin schedule. The Eagles 55th in the NET rankings despite not having a Quad 1 win. But Pat Kelsey’s team is fun and fast, and is playing great basketball at the right time.

Chandler Vaudrin won Big South Player of the Year this season and the oversized guard stuffs that stat sheet. The redshirt senior runs Winthrop’s offense at 6’7” and leads the Golden Eagles in points (12.2), rebounds (7.2), and assists (6.9). Vaudrin is a matchup nightmare and nightly triple-double threat capable of giving big programs a hassle.

Record: 23-1, 17-1 Big South
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 120
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 70
ATS: 13-11
Over Total: 11-12-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +2000