No. 3 Villanova vs. Boston College Highlights Opening Night Of NCAA Basketball Season

There have been several games called off already due to COVID-19, but the 2020-21 college basketball season will tip off around the country on Wednesday and the top team in action is No. 3 Villanova as the Wildcats face Boston College from a neutral site in the 2K Empire Classic.

How to Bet Villanova vs. Boston College NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Wednesday, 9:30 PM ET
  • Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: Villanova -14 (total 141)

Series History

Villanova leads 53-24 – they used to be Big East rivals; Villanova is still in that conference but Boston College left for the ACC years ago. Fifty-two of those meetings came in Big East play from 1979-2005. The Eagles were 18-34 in Big East play vs. the Wildcats. Villanova won the last meeting – 60-59 in overtime – in the Sweet 16 round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. BC is 3-8 all-time against Villanova on a neutral site.

Why Bet on Villanova? | 2020 NCAAB Expert Analysis

The Wildcats are the Mybookie favorites to win a national title. Collin Gillespie should be one of the best players in the nation this year. Nova had a 24-7 overall record in 2019-20, marking the eighth consecutive season of 20 or more victories. The Wildcats closed ranked No. 10 by the Associated Press and No. 9 by the USA Today Coaches poll.

The 70-point plateau important for the Wildcats in 2019-20. When scoring 70 or more points in a game last season, Villanova was 18-2 (.900). When Nova scored less than 70 points, its record was 6-5 (.545). The only vacancy in Villanova’s starting lineup from its regular 2019-20 was left by forward Saddiq Bey. He was a first-round pick in the 2020 draft.

This is the first time Villanova has opened a season away from home since 2006-07, when the Wildcats faced Northwood (now Kaiser) University, coached by legendary Wildcats coach Rollie Massimino (a 97-60 VU win). This is the second time in head coach Jay Wright’s 20 seasons that the ‘Cats have faced a team on a neutral court to open the season. The other came in 2002, when Marquette downed Nova 70-59 at Madison Square Garden. Villanova is 18-1 in regular season openers in Wright’s tenure.

Nova has two terrific players in senior guard Collin Gillespie and sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. The have been named to the Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List and to the Preseason All-BIG EAST first team.

The 36% shooting Gillespie displayed on his 3s last season could also move in an upward direction, if his 82% career shooting at the line is any indication. Gillespie’s 28-point effort in a close loss at Butler last season (to go with six assists and a single turnover) was likely a glimpse of what’s to come in 2020-21. Meanwhile, Robinson-Earl can be the best defensive and rebounding forward Wright has ever had.

Nova also adds Caleb Daniels, who played two seasons at Tulane before transferring to Villanova in the summer of 2019. He averaged 16.9 points per game for the Green Wave in 2018-19 and is now eligible.

Why Bet on Boston College? | 2020 NCAAB Expert Analysis

Eagles coach Jim Christian enters 2020-21 on a very hot seat. Wednesday also will see the return to the court of Boston College’s Wynston Tabbs.

Tabbs’ last game was an 87-82 win over No. 11 Florida State. It was BC’s first ACC win of the 2018-19 season and Tabbs scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished three assists in 29 minutes. He made 2-of-5 from 3-point land, including the dagger with under 30 seconds to play against the nationally-ranked Seminoles. At the time, Tabbs’ knee injury derailed one of the best seasons by a freshman in 2018-19. He was the first Eagle rookie to score at least 15 points in each of his first three games and scored double-digit points in 11 of his first 15 games.

A nagging knee injury vanquished him shortly after that win, and surgery ended the remainder of his freshman year. After a few days of practice during the summer of 2019, it resulted in more surgery, costing him his entire sophomore season.

Steffon Mitchell — an All-ACC and ACC All-Defensive team selection a season ago — returns for his fourth season in 2020-21. He was the only player in the country to average: 7.8 points. 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 steals, 1.0 blocks in 2019-20. Mitchell ranked fourth in the ACC in rebounding, averaging 8.7 rebounds per game.

Jay Heath – one of the top freshmen in the ACC a season ago – looks to build on his outstanding rookie campaign in 2020-21. Heath led BC in scoring, checking in a 13.1 points per game – the first BC freshman since Olivier Hanlan (2012-13) to do so. The 6-3 guard knocked down 65 3-pointers in 31 games – a new Boston College freshman record.

In its 87 previous season openers, Boston College has posted an outstanding 68-19 (.782) winning percentage. This snaps a streak of six straight season openers at Conte Forum. It also marks the latest calendar date for the opener since 1995-96.

Boston College is 67-250 overall against ranked opponents and 6-56 against teams ranked in the top five. The last two – and three of the last four – wins over top five opponents were against the #1 team in the country. The last win over a top five opponent came on Dec. 9, 2017 in an 89-84 win at home over #1 Duke. The Eagles are 1-4 in their last five and 2-8 in their last 10 matchups against ranked opponents. This marks the first time Boston College has opened a season against a ranked opponent.

Game Trends

  • Wildcats are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 neutral site games.
  • Over is 5-0 in Wildcats last 5 neutral site games.
  • Under is 16-5 in Wildcats last 21 overall.
  • Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.
  • Eagles are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.

Expert Prediction

  • Villanova 72, Boston College 55

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