- Villanova Wildcats end four-week COVID-19 layoff with home date vs Seton Hall on Tuesday night
- Wildcats lineup remains depleted by coronavirus and injuries, while healthy Pirates get set to return from 10-day break
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Tuesday’s Big East matchup at Finneran Pavilion
It remains unclear who will be in the lineup when the Villanova Wildcats return to action after an unscheduled four-week layoff on Tuesday, taking on the visiting Seton Hall Pirates as 9.5-point favorites.
Hobbled by a COVID-19 outbreak that has twice forced them to close facilities, the Wildcats had just eight players at practice ahead of their first contest since December 23. The Pirates enjoy a steady 8-2 SU run, but have also been idle for 10 days due to recent game postponements.
Here’s a look at the odds and trends ahead of Tuesday night’s Big East matchup at Finneran Pavilion.
Seton Hall vs Villanova Odds
|Seton Hall||+9.5 (-110)||+100||Ov 139.5 (-115)|
|Villanova||-9.5 (-110)||-556||Un 139.5 (-105)|
*Odds from BetMGM taken on 01/18/2021.
Wildcats Fast Start Halted by Coronavirus
The Wildcats were enjoying a strong start before they were forced to pause their campaign, going 8-1 SU in their first nine contests, capped by a six-game win streak. Villanova dominated in their first two home dates just prior to Christmas, blowing out Butler by an 85-66 score in their home opener, and following up with an 88-68 rout of Saint Joseph’s. The squad carried that offensive surge into their last date, romping to an 85-68 win at Marquette as 5.5-point chalk to improve to 3-0 in conference play, and climb to No. 5 in the AP Top 25 rankings.
Villanova Wildcats’ next 3 games postponed due to COVID-19 https://t.co/uQfXOjmcSy pic.twitter.com/xGSaclPWv0
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) January 4, 2021
Villanova managed to climb in the national rankings during their lengthy layoff, improving to No. 3, and also remain the only unbeaten team in the Big East. However, it remains unclear how ready the team is to resume play.
Who’s In The Lineup?
The status of starters Caleb Daniels and Jermaine Samuels became clearer late on Monday afternoon, with reports indicating that the COVID-19 tests for the entire team had come back negative. The duo have contributed early on this season, combining to tally 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Injuries remain a concern for Daniels, and freshman forward Eric Dixon, who had been making steady progress with increased playing time before the layoff.
Jay Wright told reporters that Villanova’s entire team cleared COVID-19 protocols and will be available for Tuesday night’s game against Seton Hall. First game for the Wildcats since 12/23.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 18, 2021
But even decimated by injury, the Wildcats remain a force. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is enjoying a breakthrough campaign, leading the team with 16.2 points per game. The sophomore forward has joined forces with Colin Gillespie and Justin Moore to average over 49 combined points over the past three contests.
Pirates Eager To Return From 10-Day Layoff
Well rested after a 10-day break, the Pirates return to action on an 8-2 SU run, and could move past Villanova in the Big East standings with a victory. Seton Hall is coming off a 76-68 win at DePaul last time out on January 9, marking their fifth win in six road dates, and improving their conference record to 6-2.
#12 Seton Hall defeats #10 Villanova 70-64 in Philadelphia! pic.twitter.com/fbTcs0vOBy
— College Sports Live (@CollSportsLive) February 8, 2020
Long used as a doormat by the Wildcats, Seton Hall have showed dramatic improvement in recent meetings, winning outright in two of four and going 3-1 ATS. That run includes a 70-64 win as 4-point underdogs in their last visit, back in February.
Mamukelashvili Leading Attack
As expected senior big man Sandro Mamukelashvili has powered the Pirates’ assault, averaging 18.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. The 21-year-old also produced in two appearances against Villanova last season, averaging 18.5 points and nine rebounds, with the road team winning each of those contests.
On top of his ball-handling, Sandro Mamukelashvili has been one of the best passing big-men I’ve seen this year https://t.co/EnWSlzgGyh
— HoopsWill (@HoopsWill) January 16, 2021
Villanova has enjoyed a clear historical edge, and looks poised to return to the hardwood with their best players in the lineup. However, it is tough to look past the possible negative impacts of the team’s recent layoff. Players still feeling the lingering effects of COVID-19 may also lack durability in the early going. Conversely, the Pirates are healthy and well rested, and are well positioned to give the Wildcats another tough battle on Tuesday
The Picks: Pirates +9.5 (+105); OVER 141.5 (-110)