American-Villanova: 2009 NCAA Tournament Picks ATS, March 19

Ryan BrennanSenior Analyst IMarch 17, 2009

No. 14 American University (24-7, 13-1 Patriot) vs. No. 3 Villanova (26-7, 13-5 Big East)

NCAA Tournament First Round—East Region

Thursday, March 19—7:20 PM EST on CBS


The Patriot League-winning American University Eagles take on the Big East Villanova Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

The Eagles are currently on a 13-game win streak and have won 19 of their last 20. They defeated second-place Holy Cross 73-57 on March 13 to secure their automatic bid.

After receiving a double-bye in the Big East Tournament, Villanova defeated Marquette by one point on a last-second backdoor cut, but then ran into trouble when they faced top-seeded Louisville. The Wildcats have had a very successful season, though, finishing fourth in a very tough Big East conference.

Their success was noted by the Big East, and they received a number of awards this season, including Jay Wright's Big East Coach of the Year, Dante Cunningham's selection to the All-Big East Second Team, Scottie Reynolds' Big East Honorable Mention, Cunningham's award as the Most Improved Player, and Corey Fisher's Big East Sixth Man Award.

American sports the Patriot League Player of the Year in Derrick Mercer and also has the league's second-highest scorer in Garrison Carr. Both play in the backcourt for the Eagles, and they should match up well against Villanova's guards.

The game is taking place in Philadelphia at the Wachovia Center, which is essentially a home game for the Wildcats since they play a number of games there during the year. This will be an interesting matchup for the Eagles against the guard-heavy Wildcat squad.


By The Numbers





Stats Leaders

PPGG. Carr - 17.8D. Cunningham - 16.0
 B. Gilmore - 12.4S. Reynolds - 15.5
 D. Mercer - 11.5C. Fisher - 10.8
RPGB. Gilmore - 5.4D. Cunningham - 7.2
APGD. Mercer - 4.4S. Reynolds - 3.6
SPGD. Mercer - 1.1S. Reynolds - 1.6
BPGJ. Nichols - 1.1D. Cunningham - 1.2




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