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Houston vs. Villanova preview, picks for Elite Eight of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The Villanova Wildcats and Houston Cougars meet at the AT&T Center in the Elite Eight round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Ohio State vs Villanova Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 2 Villanova Wildcats and No. 5 Houston Cougars are one victory away from the Final Four, and they will get together on Saturday, March 26th to win the South region. The game will get started at 6:09 p.m. ET from the AT&T Center in San Antonio and can be seen on TBS.

Oddsmakers expect this matchup to be a low-scoring, close game with Houston as slight favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook.

No. 2 Villanova Wildcats: 29-7 (16-4 Big East):

First round result: 80-60 vs. No. 15 Delaware
Second round result: 71-61 vs. No. 7 Ohio State
Sweet 16 result: 63-55 vs. No. 11 Michigan
KenPom rating: 11 Overall, 9 Offense, 24 Defense
NET ranking: 8, (8-6 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Collin Gillespie (15.9 ppg)
Key stat: Villanova shot 38-of-44 (86.4%) from the free throw line in their first three games of the NCAA Tournament.

The Villanova Wildcats are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since they won it all in 2018. They knocked off consecutive Big Ten teams to get to this spot, most recently a 63-55 victory over the No. 11 seed Michigan Wolverines on Thursday night.

Collin Gillespie is in his fifth season with Villanova as the senior leader of the team and is taking advantage of one last run after last year’s season ended with a knee injury.

Watch for Villanova to take care of the ball as they’re averaging just nine turnovers per game in their last three games.

No. 5 Houston Cougars: 32-5 (15-3 AAC):

First round result: 82-68 vs. No. 12 UAB
Second round result: 68-53 vs. No. 5 Illinois
Sweet 16 result: 72-60 vs. No. 1 Arizona
KenPom rating: 2 Overall, 8 Offense, 10 Defense
NET ranking: 3, (1-4 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Marcus Sasser (17.7 ppg)
Key stat: Houston allowed Arizona and Illinois to shoot a combined 33.7% from the floor.

The Houston Cougars won all three of their NCAA Tournament games by double digits, and they knocked off the top-seeded Arizona Wildcats 72-60 on Thursday night. With a win, the Cougars could get into the Final Four for the second season in a row.

Houston lost two of their top players Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark early in the regular season, and Kyler Edwards has emerged as the top scorer. He is putting up 19.7 points per game during the NCAA Tournament.

Watch for Houston to let it fly from three-point range as they attempted at least 20 of them in their three NCAA Tournament games.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Houston -2.5
Point total: 128
Moneyline: Houston -150, Villanova +130

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Houston -2.5
Point total pick: Under 128
Pick to Win: Houston

The advanced metrics love Houston as KenPom has them as the best team left in the NCAA Tournament despite being a No. 5 seed and no matter who they’ve been missing this season, the Cougars have not let up and will cover this number and get back to the Final Four. Out of 358 college basketball team, Houston rates No. 338 in adjusted tempo, while Villanova is at No. 345 in that category. Possessions will be extremely limited, so the under is the play Saturday night.

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