No. 16 Drexel Dragons
Record: 12-7 (4-5 CAA)
Tournament opponent: No. 1 Illinois
Line: Drexel +23; O/U: 144.5
Coach: Zach Spiker (5th season)
Player to know: Camren Wynter
Drexel is in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996. The Dragons were the No. 6 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament and managed to reel off three wins in three days to earn the conference’s automatic bid to March Madness. Drexel’s tournament run was capped off by a 63-56 victory over Elon on Tuesday.
The Dragons are in their fifth season under Zach Spiker, previously the coach at Army. Spiker had yet to coach the Dragons to a winning record before this year. He did so with the help of all-CAA guard Camren Wynter, the team’s leader in scoring (16.8), assists (5.3) and 3-point shooting (42.5%). James Butler, a 6-foot-8 senior, averages 12.9 points and 9.2 points per game and has 32 double-doubles in his Drexel career.
Drexel has been reliable for bettors this season, covering the spread 70.6% of the time (12-5-2 ATS).
No. 5 Villanova Wildcats
Record: 16-6 (11-4 Big East)
Tournament opponent: No. 12 Winthrop
Line: Villanova -6.5; O/U: 139.5
Coach: Jay Wright (20th season)
Player to know: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
Jay Wright led Villanova to its seventh regular-season Big East title this season, but a late-year injury to star point guard Collin Gillespie could have a massive impact on the team’s postseason run. Gillespie went down with a season-ending knee injury on March 3 and the Wildcats have lost both games with him out the lineup. That includes getting upset by Georgetown in the Big East tournament.
Though it will be an uphill climb without Gillespie, Villanova has plenty of talent. Sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl averages 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Justin Moore and Jermaine Samuels also average double-figure scoring, while Caleb Daniels and Cole Swider provide reliable outside shooting.
Villanova struggled to cover the spread in the second half of the season, going just 3-7 ATS over its last 10 games.
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