Villanova vs. St. John’s Expert Pick and Prediction – January 24, 2024
VILLANOVA VS. ST. JOHN’S EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – January 24, 2024 — There’s a real problem here with Villanova that the oddsmakers don’t want to admit: the Wildcats just haven’t been very good this year.
At 11-7, Villanova hasn’t been anything special, and its 4-3 Big East record is hampered by the fact that two wins came over DePaul. The Wildcats have lost three of their past four, and Kyle Neptune is going to find himself coaching in the NIT again if they don’t get a signature win on the resume soon.
St. John’s looked like it was off to a great start on its way back to prominence, but the Red Storm have taken three straight losses. Granted, those defeats were against strong teams in Creighton, Seton Hall and Marquette, but the bloom is now off the rose for the Red Storm.
But they handled Villanova with ease in the first meeting, in large part because of their 3-point defense. If the Red Storm can throw the Wildcats off again, they’ve got a good chance to come out with a win.
(11-7 SU, 10-8 ATS)
(12-7 SU, 10-9 ATS)
When: Wednesday, January 24 at 8:30 p.m. EST
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
Public Bets: 62% on St. John’s
Public Money: 95% on St. John’s
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of January 23rd, 2024.
Villanova vs. St. John’s In-Season Trends
Villanova has been a maddening team to figure out, because the Wildcats sometimes show there’s a good team in there and sometimes show their worst.
Against Connecticut, Creighton and North Carolina, the Wildcats came up with strong performances and ended up covering easily. But on the other end of the spectrum, the Wildcats have lost games to the likes of Pennsylvania, Drexel and St. Joseph’s.
St. John’s has to get the pace rolling again. The Red Storm have played three straight unders and lost the game in all of them. In St. John’s past eight games, the Red Storm result has matched the game total: when it goes over, St. John’s wins the game. When they can’t match the total, they’ve come up short on the scoreboard.
Does Villanova have an answer for Joel Soriano? Last time out, Soriano cleaned up inside by scoring 20 points and grabbing eight rebounds, taking advantage of Villanova’s lack of a presence inside. The Wildcats usually don’t have much of an inside presence, and that sometimes leads them to struggle against a strong low post presence. Soriano provided that, and Villanova had no response.
Related: Angell’s Sports Analysis for Jan. 24
The Wildcats need more from deep shooters Eric Dixon and TJ Bamba. Bamba shot fairly well against St. John’s the first time, but Dixon was 4-for-18 from the field. Villanova shot 21.4 percent from 3-point range, and if that happens again, St. John’s cruises.
Both teams need a win here, but St. John’s seems more likely to get it. The Red Storm have played well against the Big East’s upper echelon; they just haven’t beaten those teams. Villanova isn’t at that level, and the Red Storm’s defense has a history of making life difficult for 3-point shooters.
St. John’s already won once in Philadelphia, and doing the job at home looks manageable. I’m backing Rick Pitino’s 3-point defense again.
St. John’s -3.5