Villanova Wildcats vs. DePaul Blue Demons Pick & Prediction MARCH 13th 2024

Villanova will look to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a victory over DePaul in the opening round of the Big East tournament Wednesday night in New York.

The Wildcats (17-14) will enter as the No. 6 seed. The winner of the first-round contest will face third-seeded and 10th-ranked Marquette in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Villanova fell 69-67 to eighth-ranked Creighton on Saturday when the Bluejays’ Trey Alexander hit a step-back 12-footer in the final second.

“We all understand the situation,” Wildcats coach Kyle Neptune said. “Everyone in this room, all the fans know it, but for us it doesn’t really do us any good to focus on it. We have to focus on what we have to do each day to prepare ourselves to play Villanova basketball for 40 minutes.”

Eric Dixon led the Wildcats with 25 points while Justin Moore added 17 on Saturday.

“We practiced hard this week,” Neptune said postgame. “I thought we warmed up great. Our guys were energetic. Looking at the guys in the huddle, it looked like we were ready to go. Sometimes, though, guys make some tough shots. They did that.”

DePaul (3-28) will arrive at the Big East tournament following its 19th consecutive defeat, an 86-62 loss to Seton Hall last Saturday.

Chico Carter Jr. scored 16 points, but the Blue Demons fell and finished 0-20 in conference games. Carter recorded his fifth game this season with at least three 3-pointers. Jeremiah Oden added 12 points.

“At the end of the day, our play is very erratic,” DePaul interim coach Matt Brady said. “We have guys that just don’t make good plays. They don’t make smart plays.”

DePaul scuffled from the opening tip, with mental miscues and poor execution.

“Nine turnovers in the first half against a team that doesn’t press, doesn’t trap,” Brady said.

The Blue Demons haven’t faced Villanova in the Big East tournament since 2007, when the Wildcats prevailed 75-67. The teams met twice this season, with Villanova sweeping the pair by an average of 30.5 points.

–Field Level Media

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