Villanova won national championships in 2016 and ’18 and keeps reloading as it prepares to face visiting St. John’s on Wednesday. The St. John's vs Villanova odds Wednesday have the Wildcats giving 12.5 points to the Red Storm.
Jay Wright’s name continues to swirl in NBA circles.
The ultra-successful Villanova head coach has been courted by multiple teams in recent years, most notably the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks. And it’s easy to see why his phone continues to ring.
Wright has won at least 20 games for eight consecutive seasons, including this season. His Wildcats are 21-6 overall and 10-4 in a stacked Big East. And the wins have been compiled this season with one of the youngest teams in his tenure on the Main Line as Villanova doesn’t feature one scholarship senior.
“I would love to coach in the NBA and maybe someday if I have that opportunity,” Wright told Sirius XM NBA Radio. “Last summer, being with the world championship team, coaching with Pop (San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich), Steve Kerr and Lloyd Pierce and Jeff Van Gundy was a big part of that and those players. It was so cool.”
St. John's vs Villanova odds
|Date||Wednesday, Feb. 26|
|Time||6:30 p.m. ET|
|How to watch||FS1|
|St. John's vs Villanova odds – point spread||Villanova -12.5|
|St. John's vs Villanova odds – over/under||Over 146 (-110), Under 146 (-110)|
For now, Wright is solely focused on helping Villanova make another deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Not that long ago, the Wildcats lost three in a row. But Wright has them surging again as the calendar is ready to flip to March.
Villanova will be looking for its fifth straight victory when it hosts the Red Storm.
What has been especially impressive about this version of the Wildcats is evolving depth on such a young team. Saddiq Bey carried them in the last two wins over DePaul and Xavier on the road as he averaged 21.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds. Bey knocked down 9 of 16 treys and shot 50 percent overall.
“He just makes good reads and when people come to help on him, he finds his teammates,” Wright said. “And when he is open, he is always prepared to shoot.”
Villanova odds – moneyline: -975
On other nights, Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Cole Swider or Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree have stepped up in crucial situations. Moore and Robinson-Earl are freshmen.
The recipe has been another solid season which could continue for a while if the Wildcats keep improving.
With their coach leading the way.
“I love my job,” Wright said. “I don’t want to leave my job so that’s why I say I probably wouldn’t coach in the NBA.”
St. John’s, meanwhile, has struggled mightily after a promising 12-5 start.
The Red Storm are 14-13 and 3-11 in the Big East with a current two-game losing streak in advance of another difficult matchup against Villanova.
The losing is mostly correlated with the injury to Mustapha Heron, who’s likely out for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury. Heron was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game in 21 games before suffering the injury.
St. John's odds – moneyline: +640
Heron started in all 64 games at Auburn and averaged 14.6 points as a sophomore before transferring to St. John’s. Heron led the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament last season and without him recently, the team has lacked an identity.
“I always say that we have to make up for (Heron) with other guys,” St. John’s head coach Mike Anderson said. “I always say you find out your team in adversity. ‘Can you travel with your offense?’ ‘Can you travel with your defense?’ Evidently, we didn’t (Sunday). … (Heron has) played four years and has scored a bunch of points. Yeah, you miss that, but you can’t sit back and cry about it. We haven’t. I’m just going with guys that are fighting. They’re giving themselves a chance.”
Without Heron, LJ Figueroa has taken more of a leadership role and is averaging a team-best 14.8 points. It has not been an easy transition since teams are focusing more on Figueroa without Heron on the court at the same time.
“He’s trying to help out our basketball team any way he can,” Anderson said of Figueroa. “You got to remember he doesn’t have that other leading scorer (Heron). We have to get (scoring from different guys) and we didn’t get it (Sunday). Julian (Champagnie) and Josh (Roberts), I thought those guys played well for us. Josh was pretty active and I thought Julian continues to come on for our basketball team.”
The Red Storm will continue to be short-handed on the road against Villanova, which is peaking. All they can do is keep battling.
“We improve each and every month,” Anderson said. “We’re not the same team in January that we are right now. It’s a testament to the guys that come in and work extremely hard. They’re buying into what we’re trying to do. I think it’s needed if this team’s going to compete. I think it shows you the progression and development of these guys. You’re seeing the ultimate team. I think they still haven’t played their best basketball.”
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