USA TODAY Sports
Tournament to be played at Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Seton Hall Pirates vs. Villanova Wildcats (-11, OFF)
Villanova used its Big East tournament opener to make a serious statement, but now its mission is revenge. The winner of this contest will earn a spot in the tournament title game, where Villanova fell to Seton Hall a year ago. The Wildcats, of course, went on to win the NCAA Tournament, and they are 35-3 since that loss to the Pirates. Few of those games, if any, featured a better performance than Thursday’s outing in which coach Jay Wright’s team shot 63.2 percent and knocked down 15-of-29 3-pointers while racking up 23 assists and seven turnovers in a 41-point victory. Kris Jenkins averaged 19 points in the two meetings with Seton Hall this season, draining 9-of-12 3-pointers in those contests.
The Pirates topped Marquette 82-76 on Thursday for their eighth victory in 10 games as Khadeen Carrington and Myles Powell led the way with 19 and 17 points, respectively. Angel Delgado recorded 12 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, and likely will need another strong performance if the Pirates are to have a chance against the Wildcats, who defeated the Pirates the by a combined 52 points in two meetings this season.
* Seton Hall is 5-1 ATS in its last six games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Villanova is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
* Over is 4-0 in Seton Hall’s last four games following an ATS win.
* Under is 9-2 in Villanova’s last 11 games after scoring 100 points in its previous game.
Xavier Musketeers vs. Creighton Bluejays (OFF)
Xavier, seeded No. 7 in this event, lost point guard Edmond Sumner to a torn ACL in late January and shortly thereafter began a six-game losing streak. The team has rallied to win three straight, capped by a critical 62-57 upset against No. 2 seed Butler in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The Musketeers had posted their last three wins against DePaul – two in the regular season and one in the first round of this event – before nipping Butler behind Trevon Bluiett’s go-ahead jumper with 16 seconds left. The win could prove critical for a Xavier team that is expected to be right on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament but could probably lock up a spot in the Field of 68 with another victory Friday.
Creighton, meanwhile, lost point guard Maurice Watson Jr. to a torn ACL in mid-January – ironically against Xavier – and has won back-to-back games only once since. Of course, the sixth-seeded Bluejays can accomplish that feat Friday, one day after dismissing of third-seeded Providence 70-58. The Bluejays received 19 points from Khyri Thomas and 15 from Marcus Foster in Thursday’s win against Providence in which the team won despite 4-of-20 3-point shooting and uncharacteristic 20-of-33 shooting from the foul line. Thomas has registered double-digit points in 10 of his last 11 games and Foster enters this one with a 15-game streak of scoring in double figures.
* Xavier is 1-6 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Underdog is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Over is 10-2 in the last 12 meetings.
* Under is 4-0 in Xavier’s last four games following a SU win.