No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 8 Wisconsin preview: Game time, broadcast, betting line, prediction
The Villanova Wildcats (32-3) are the No. 1 seed in the East Region, and will take on No. 8 seed Wisconsin (26-9). The game will be played at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo on Saturday, March 18.
Preview: Villanova ultimately won pretty comfortably against No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary's, but it took a while for the Wildcats to get things rolling. The Mountaineers led the Wildcats throughout the first half, but Villanova took a one-point lead into the break and ultimately won 76-56. Guard Donte DiCinvenzo led Villanova with 21 points off the bench.
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) March 17, 2017
Wisconsin won one of the best games of the NCAA Tournament's opening day, topping No. 9 seed Virginia Tech 84-74. The final score was not indicative of how tense the game was until the final moments. Wisconsin held on to a lead for most of the second half, but could not manage to put away the Hokies, who hung within 2-7 points of the Badgers until the final moments. Bronson Koenig was a monster for Wisconsin, hitting 8-of-17 threes en route to 28 points.
Date: Saturday, March 18
Time: 2:40 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Location: KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
Opening Betting Line: Villanova -5.5, via OddsShark
According to College Basketball Reference, his will be the second-ever match-up between the Wildcats and Badgers. The first came on November 20, 1995: a 66-58 Wildcats win.
Villanova, of course, is coming off of a national championship run. That snapped a fairly long drought for the Wildcats, which hadn't reached the Sweet 16 since 2009 before last year's fantastic tournament run. Villanova has reached the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament 17 times in program history.
Wisconsin has been one of the stronger NCAA Tournament teams in recent years, and have made three straight Sweet 16 runs, the first two of which ended in Final Four berths. Overall, the Badgers have made the second weekend nine times in program history, all since 2000.
Prediction: Considering Wisconsin's recent tournament success, and a pretty decent 2016-17 season in its own right, and the Badgers are a very tough draw as an eight-seed for the defending national champions. Villanova earned the No. 1 overall seed with a very consistent season, but the Wildcats haven't been blowing the doors off of teams. However, we trust the Wildcats to get by the Badgers in a fairly close contest, and keep the dreams of a repeat title run alive.
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