Villanova Wildcats vs. Butler Bulldogs Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 20th 2024

With consecutive victories for the first time since the start of the new year, Villanova looks to build off the success when it plays host to Butler on Tuesday.

The Wildcats (14-11, 7-7 Big East) defeated Georgetown 70-54 on Friday, with the victory coming five days after they got past Seton Hall 80-54 at home.

TJ Bamba scored 14 points for Villanova on Friday, Brendan Hausen added 12, Eric Dixon contributed 11 and Justin Moore had 10 in the balanced effort.

The Wildcats’ defense was suffocating as it held its fourth straight opponent to less than 60 points.

“I was really proud of the way our guys came out,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said. “I thought they came out with the right mindset, defended and rebounded at a high level, especially during some spurts where we couldn’t make shots. We talk about taking pride in that.

“In a game where there were definitely times we couldn’t score, I thought we locked in defensively.”

Villanova guard Mark Armstrong aggravated a twisted right ankle late in the first half and continued to favor the injury. “Mark actually twisted the ankle in walkthrough (early Friday),” Neptune said. “Now, we’ve got a couple of days to rest. I think he’ll be fine.”

Butler is on a two-game losing streak after a challenging week. The Bulldogs (16-10, 7-8) absorbed home defeats against No. 4 Marquette (78-72) on Tuesday and No. 17 Creighton (79-57) on Saturday.

Jalen Thomas paced Butler on Saturday with a season-high tying 18 points. Posh Alexander scored 13 points and DJ Davis had 12 for Butler, which faded in the second half while shooting 31.2 percent from the floor.

The Bulldogs missed 14 of their final 15 shots from 3-point range. “Creighton did a phenomenal job defensively,” Butler coach Thad Matta said. “We lost our defensive focus. They got hot. They got rolling on us.”

The Bulldogs built an eight-point lead midway through the first half and led 35-34 at halftime.

“First half, we came out fire,” Thomas said. “Second half, we came out flat. We couldn’t get a stop. They went on a run. One of the best offenses in the country. We weren’t able to clap back.” –Field Level Media

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