College Basketball Picks: Big East Tournament Preview 2018
Big East Tournament Picks, Odds, and Prediction
March 7-10 2018 Madison Square Garden
See Games See the Latest Odds
TV: FS1 and FOX (Championship Game)
The Wildcats (27-4, 14-4 Conf.) won two straight and four of five to close out the regular season including an emphatic 95-70 beatdown of Xavier on Feb. 17. While the Cats struggled a bit by suffering three of their four losses this season over their final eight games, Villanova looks dangerous with a capital ‘D’.
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Xavier (27-4, 15-3 Conf.) finished the regular season with three straight wins while also finishing ranked third in the nation, one spot ahead of No. 4 Villanova. Ironically, the Musketeers suffered a 24-point loss at Nova on Jan. 10 (89-65) and an even more humbling 16-point loss at home on Feb. 17 (95-79).
Butler (19-12, 9-9 Conf.) may have finished sixth in the Big East this season, but there’s a reason the Bulldogs are the No. 3 favorite to win the conference championship and it’s because they almost own the Villanova Wildcats. Yes, Butler closed out the regular season with a pair of losses and five losses in their final seven games. But they’ve also beaten Villanova three times in the last four meetings, including at home this season while putting 101 points on the board.
The Bluejays (21-10, 10-8 Conf.), who finished third in the Big East in the regular season, were on the wrong end of a 85-81 loss against Marquette in their regular season finale tis past weekend, but they also managed to beat Villanova in overtime on Feb. 24, even if they do enter the conference championship tournament having lost three of five.
Seton Hall +800
The Pirates (21-10, 10-8 Conf.) have the look of a dangerous team seeing as how they beat Butler in OT in their finale to improve to 4-1 over their last five with their only loss along the way being a one point defeat against Villanova – in overtime – in their next to last regular season contest.
Providence (19-12, 10-8 Conf.) finished fifth in the Big East during the regular season and they won two of their final three regular season games. Wins this season over Xavier and Villanova this season mean the Friars can beat anyone.
Marquette (18-12, 9-9 Conf.) won two straight and four of five to finish the regular season. Of course, the Golden Eagles also lost to an awful DePaul team over their last 10 games while suffering home losses to Villanova, Butler and Providence.
The Hoyas (15-14, 5-13 Conf.) lost their final four games of the season and eight of 10 overall and just have the look of a team that is completely defeated even if they did take out Butler and Seton Hall in back-to-back games on Feb. 10 and 13.
St. John's +5000
Talk about a wild and crazy season and the Red Storm (15-16, 4-14 Conf.) are the perfect definition of just that. St. John’s won five of their final eight games, but they also lost three of their final four games. The Red Storm managed to beat a pair of top five teams in back-to-back games by beating Duke and Villanova on Feb. 3 and 7, but they also got held to just 57 points in their regular season finale against Providence.
DePaul (11-19, 4-14 Conf.) lost two straight, five of six and eight of 10 to close out the regular season. Of course, the Blue Demons did manage to beat Marquette and Providence during the stretch, so there’s that.
Conference Tournament Analysis
I like Xavier to beat the winner of the St. John’s vs. Georgetown opener (St. John’s) and Villanova to beat the winner of the Marquette vs. DePaul tourney openers (Marquette). After that, I’ve got Creighton beating Providence in a thriller in one quarterfinal matchup while streaky Seton Hall gets past inconsistent Butler in another quarterfinal pairing.
Following those matchups, I’m going with Creighton to get past Xavier in a huge semifinal upset while Villanova handles Seton hall in the other conference semifinal showdown. After all of that, I’m going with Villanova to take out a game Creighton squad in the conference championship to hit March Madness with some confidence-boosting momentum.
The Wildcats have had their struggles down the stretch, but I believe Villanova’s tough road has actually sharpened them for both, their conference tournament and the national championship free-for-all. Villanova has an unbelievable six double digit scorers on their roster and lead the nation in scoring under widely-respected head coach Jay Wright and I fully expect them to escape their conference championship tournament unscathed.