NCAA Tournament Predictions: Villanova vs. UNC Asheville

UNC Asheville’s Sam Hughes (31) lifts coach Nick McDevitt into the air after winning an NCAA college basketball championship game in the Big South Conference tournament in Buies Creek, N.C., Sunday, March 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

It’s March Madness, the greatest time of the year. Looking for some help with your bracket? Don’t know which teams to believe in, in this crazy college hoops season? We’ve got your back. We’re breaking down every first-round game in the field of 68, plus looking ahead at which teams will make the run to the Final Four.

15. UNC Asheville — NBC4 Web guru Mike King is a proud Asheville grad and supporter, and there’s reason for optimism. The Bulldogs bring a balanced scoring attack with five players averaging double figures in points. Among those players is Upper Arlington native Kevin Vannatta, who led the Golden Bears to the State Championship Game in his senior year.

Villanova's Josh Hart (3), Kris Jenkins (2) and Ryan Arcidiacono (15) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game during the Big East men's tournament against Seton Hall Saturday, March 12, 2016, in New York. Seton Hall won 69-67. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Villanova’s Josh Hart (3), Kris Jenkins (2) and Ryan Arcidiacono (15) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game during the Big East men’s tournament against Seton Hall Saturday, March 12, 2016, in New York. Seton Hall won 69-67. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

2. Villanova — Villanova fell short in the Big East tournament but they’ll rely on their defense. They’re a top 20 team in the nation in total defense (63.7ppg allowed). Nova guard Josh Hart (15.5ppg) can be a handful.

PREDICTION: I think Nova will pull out the win, but it will be closer than the experts think.

Other tournament games:

EAST:
Which teams can beat No. 1 North Carolina?
8. USC vs. 9. Providence
5. Indiana vs. 12. Chattanooga
4. Kentucky vs. 13. Stony Brook
6. Notre Dame vs. 11. Michigan/Tulsa
3. West Virginia vs. 14. Stephen F. Austin
7. Wisconsin vs. 10. Pittsburgh
2. Xavier vs. 15 Weber State

SOUTH:
Who can beat No. 1 Kansas?
8. Colorado vs. 9. UConn
5. Maryland vs. 12. South Dakota State
4. California vs. 13 Hawaii
6. Arizona vs. 11. Wichita State or Vanderbilt
3. Miami (FL) vs. 14. Buffalo
7. Iowa vs. 10. Temple
2. Villanova vs. 15. UNC Asheville

MIDWEST:
How far will No. 1 Virginia advance?
8. Texas Tech vs. 9. Butler
5. Purdue vs. 12. Arkansas-Little Rock
4. Iowa State vs. 13. Iona
6. Seton Hall vs. 11. Gonzaga
3. Utah vs. 14. Fresno State
7. Dayton vs. 10. Syracuse
2. Michigan State vs. 15. Middle Tennessee State

WEST:
Is No. 1 Oregon really that good?
8. St. Joseph’s vs. 9. Cincinnati
5. Baylor vs. 12. Yale
4. Duke vs. 13. UNC-Wilmington
6. Texas vs. 11. Northern Iowa
3. Texas A&M vs. 14. Green Bay
7. Oregon State vs. 10. VCU
2. Oklahoma vs 15. Cal St. Bakersfield

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