Tournament to be played at Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
St. John’s Red Storm vs. Villanova Wildcats (OFF)
The Red Storm nipped Georgetown by a point on Wednesday thanks to 17 from Shamorie Ponds and 14 from Bashir Ahmed. Malik Ellison delivered 11 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals for St. John’s, which won a Big East tournament game for the first time in six years. Marcus LoVett continued to struggle with his shooting, however, connecting on 2-of-9 attempts en route to four points to drop his shooting percentage to 34.4 percent over his last six contests.
The Wildcats won the 2016 national championship despite a two-point loss to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament title game. They have won 34 of their 37 games since – losing twice to Butler and once at Marquette – and now will tangle with the eighth-seeded Red Storm. Villanova closed the regular season with a solid 16-point win against Creighton and a 26-point rout at Georgetown, virtually assuring the team of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats relied on two seniors in their win over Georgetown as Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins combined for 40 points while sophomore Jalen Brunson chipped in 17. Hart, who was just named the Big East Player of the Year, has registered double digits in points in every game this season and also leads the team in rebounding (6.5) while ranking second in assists, steals and 3-pointers.
* St. John’s is 0-4 ATS in its last 4 games vs. a team with a winning SU record.
* Villanova is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 neutral site games.
* Over is 4-1 in St. John’s last five games following a SU win.
* Under is 14-4 in Villanova’s last 18 games following a SU win.
Seton Hall Pirates vs. Marquette Golden Eagles (-3, OFF)
Seton Hall begins defense of its Big East Tournament title when it meets Marquette on Thursday in the quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fifth-seeded Pirates and fourth-seeded Golden Eagles split a pair of games in early January and each was decided by three points. The Pirates, who closed the regular season with four straight victories (2-2 ATS), will likely be without an important reserve in forward Ismael Sanogo, who missed the regular season finale and is doubtful for this game with an ankle injury. Sanogo doesn’t score much, but is a strong defender and second on the team in rebounding (5.7 per game). With Sanogo out, Angel Delgado needs to be better than he was in his previous four Big East Tournament games, in which he averaged 8.7 points and seven rebounds.
Marquette freshman Markus Howard gets his first taste of the Big East Tournament after leading the nation in 3-point shooting during the regular season, which the Golden Eagles closed with wins in five games. After an inconsistent start to his first season with the Golden Eagles, junior Andrew Rowsey has become a critical part of their success and earned Big East Sixth Man Award honors for his efforts. Rowsey hasn’t been the prolific scorer he was at UNC Asheville, where he averaged better than 19 points in two seasons, but he’s been a solid complement, putting up 11.2 points and shooting well from everywhere on the floor.
* Seton Hall is 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven neutral site games.
* Marquette is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
* Under is 4-0 in Seton Hall’s last four neutral site games.
* Over is 6-1 in Marquette’s last seven neutral site games.
Xavier Musketeers vs. Butler Bulldogs (OFF)
Butler already has defeated Xavier twice this season, and a third victory would send the 20th-ranked Bulldogs into the semifinals of the Big East tournament. Xavier lost six games in a row straight and and seven straight against the spread, before defeating DePaul in the regular-season finale and then again in Wednesday’s opening round, but most projections have the team right on the cut line for the Field of 68. The Musketeers lost to the Bulldogs by five points in mid-January and nine in late February, allowing a whopping total of 108 in the second half of those contests. The Musketeers are short-handed for a variety of reasons, including a torn ACL suffered last month by Edmond Sumner, but they continue to take advantage of their meetings with DePaul.
The Bulldogs need to quickly shake off the disappointment of losing on Senior Day, when Seton Hall dealt them a six-point setback as 8.5-point favorites. The Bulldogs scored 64 points against Seton Hall – their lowest-scoring game since January – as they were trounced on the boards 35-24 and missed 15 of their 21 3-point attempts. The starters combined for 11 rebounds in 132 minutes and, aside from Avery Woodson’s 3-of-4 shooting from long distance, the rest of the team was ice cold. Top scorer Kelan Martin (16.1 points) is averaging 22 points over his last three games, including a 25-point effort in the most-recent meeting with Xavier.
* Xavier is 0-6 ATS in its last six games vs. a team with a winning SU record.
* Butler is 9-1-1 ATS in its last 11 games following a SU loss.
* Under is 4-1 in Xavier’s last five games following a SU win.
* Over is 5-1 in Butler’s last six games overall.
Creighton Bluejays vs. Providence Friars (+2, OFF)
In a conference featuring the defending national champion and seven 19-win-plus teams among its 10 members, no one is hotter than Providence, which brings a six-game win streak into the Big East tournament, having covered the spread in eight of its last nine. Following a Feb. 8 road loss at Seton Hall, Providence had dropped four of five and was languishing with a 4-8 Big East record. But the Friars have not lost since, including wins over Butler (71-65), Xavier (75-63) and Creighton (68-66), and bring much momentum to the Big Apple. Rodney Bullock and Kyron Cartwright were second-team All-Big East selections, and the latter also was named the conference’s most improved player after leading the league in assists (6.8).
Creighton, meanwhile, opened the season 18-1 but enters the postseason coming off three losses in its final four regular-season contests (1-3 ATS) – a stretch beginning with the two-point home loss to the Friars on Feb. 22. The Bluejays have gone 5-7 since that record-setting start (and guard Maurice Watson Jr.’s season-ending injury), and they wound up settling for sixth after all the tiebreakers were sorted out even though they tied for the third-best conference record at 10-8. Junior guard Marcus Foster, a first-team All-Big East selection, leads the team in scoring at 18.5 points per outing while 7-foot freshman Justin Patton earned second-team all-conference recognition averaging 13.1 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
* Creighton is 1-6 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Providence is 8-1 ATS in their last nine games overall.
* Under is 6-0 in Providence’s last six vs. a team with a winning SU record.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings.