No. 1 Baylor struggled down the stretch in the regular season but rebounded with a dominant win over No. 16 Hartford and No. 9 Wisconsin en route to the Sweet 16. The Bears will be up against a much tougher opponent in the third round of this year’s, as they’ll take on a No. 5 Villanova team that got by No. 12 Winthrop and No. 13 North Texas without point guard Collin Gillespie, who’s out for the season with a torn MCL.
Game date: Saturday, March 27
Game time: 5:15 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Location: Hinkle Fieldhouse
March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Baylor -6.5
Moneyline Villanova +245, Baylor -295
KenPom rating: 15th Overall, 9th Offense, 69th Defense
NET ranking: 17, (5-3 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (16 ppg)
The Wildcats are still going strong despite not having one of their most important upperclassmen. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Jermaine Samuels, and company have continued to pick up the slack without Gillespie. Robinson-Earl led all Wildcats with 18 points, while Samuels and Justin Moore trailed with 15 points apiece.
Javion Hamlet got things going for North Texas as usual, but his game-high 25 points weren’t enough to help the Mean Green keep up with Villanova’s scoring. The Wildcats have fared well offensively so far, but going toe-to-toe with Baylor in a scoring contest will be a different beast.
No. 1 Baylor 23-2 (13-1 Big 12)
KenPom rating: 4th Overall, 3rd Offense, 35th Defense
NET ranking: 2, (9-2 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jared Butler (17 ppg)
The Bears held an 11-point lead over the Badgers in the round of 32 and held onto that lead en route to a 76-63 victory. Jared Butler had a bounce-back game after a subpar first round. He and Davion Mitchell led all scorers with 16 points apiece. Baylor has found its footing in the NCAA Tournament and should benefit from facing a depleted version of Villanova.