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Villanova to Host Mount Saint Mary’s in Season Opener

The Wildcats look to hit the ground running to start the 2021-22 season

NCAA Basketball: Butler at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch:

Date: Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Time: 4:30 p.m. ET

Venue: Finneran Pavillion - Villanova, PA

TV: FS1 (Aaron Goldsmith & Bill Raftery)

Streaming: Fox Sports Go

Betting Odds

Spread: MSM: +24.5 (-110) | NOVA: -24.5 (-110)

Total: 132

via: Barstool Sportsbook

The Villanova Wildcats are set to host the Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers this Tuesday to kick off their 102nd season of basketball in the Finneran Pavilion. This will be the first and only meeting between these teams this season, with Villanova reigning victorious in each of the last two meetings.

The Mountaineers will take the trip up to the Main Line to start their season on Tuesday with lofty ambitions going into the year. Mount Saint Mary’s won the Northeastern Conference Tournament last year, earning the school’s sixth NCAA Tournament bid in school history. This year, they have their sights set on making school history and repeating as conference champions for the second year in a row. To do so, they will need to rely heavily on a trio of returning senior forwards Nana Opoku, Mezie Offurum and Malik Jefferson. All three forwards stand above 6’8”, which could cause mismatches for Villanova’s perennially small lineup. Look for this trio to impact the game by dominating the paint and trying to make Villanova as uncomfortable as possible.

On the topic of lofty ambitions, none may be higher than those in the locker room of the Villanova Wildcats. They enter the season ranked fourth in the first AP Top 25 poll of the year and are only set on going up from there. The Wildcats will look for leadership from a pair of seniors in the likes of Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels, while also looking to get major contributions from Justin Moore, Brandon Slater, Eric Dixon and Caleb Daniels. Villanova’s roster is experienced, talented and deep which tends to be a winning formula for their Hall of Fame head coach. The ‘Cats will look to hit the ground running before departing for Los Angeles on Wednesday night for a highly anticipated top five matchup with the Bruins of UCLA on Friday, November 12th.

The last time these two teams met was in Buffalo, New York by way of the first round in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The 16-seed Mountaineers led for much of the first half of that game before Villanova eventually pulled away for the win. Although the rosters may differ, I would expect a little bit of the same from this meeting between the two. It is important to remember that this is November basketball, and the game we see on Wednesday will look a whole lot different than these teams will look in the spring. I do think Villanova is far too talented and well coached to lose this game, but this Mount Saint Mary’s team is no joke and I would expect them to make some noise this season out of the Northeastern Conference.

My Prediction: 65-50 Villanova