The defending champion Villanova Wildcats will square off against the Purdue Boilermakers in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The game is scheduled for Saturday night at 8:40p.m.
Each team is coming off of low scoring first round victories to advance to the Round of 32. Purdue, the No. 3 seed, is coming off of a 61-48 victory against Old Dominion on Thursday night. The Boilermakers were very slow offensively, but the defense solidified an easy victory. Carsen Edwards led the team with 26 points, playing all 40 minutes, despite a sore back. Matt Haarms added 13 points, four rebounds, and two blocks.
The No. 6 seed Villanova Wildcats just escaped a hot St. Mary’s team in a 61-57 victory. The Wildcats had problems creating separation in this game, but ultimately survived by shooting 49 percent from the field. Phil Booth helped secure the win with 20 points and six assists in the match.
Everyone knew this Villanova team was not nearly the same as the championship team from last season. With four starters from last years’ team not returning, this year was expected to be a rebuilding year. Yet, coach Jay Wright has done some of his best coaching ever this year to lead the Wildcats to another Big East Championship and now with a chance to make another Sweet 16 appearance. Villanova has won four straight games and six of their last seven and they will be tested here by an impressive Purdue team.
Purdue is favorited by four points in the matchup. They have a good amount of experience, along with size and length that can dominate the glass. This will be a problem for the Wildcats and they will need to watch out for the Boilermakers’ guards who are very good at crashing for offensive boards.
Villanova certainly has their hands full with this matchup. If the Cats can contain Carsen Edwards and keep the rebounding stats relatively even, they have a shot. Now, I may have had Villanova going down to St. Mary’s in the first round, but we are past that. They were able to scoot past a hot St. Mary’s team that had just defeated Gonzaga, so I am going to stick with the hot hand. I think Jay Wright will find a way to secure another Sweet 16 bid. This feels like a game that Collin Gillespie could show up and ball out. I’m taking the Wildcats, 73-71.