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Big East Conference Tournament Quarterfinals Betting Preview

The Big East Conference Tournament kicks into high gear Thursday with four quarterfinal matchups. Georgetown and Marquette earned their spot in the second round with impressive victories in their openers Wednesday.

Tournament to be played at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Georgetown Hoyas vs. Villanova Wildcats (OFF)

* The Hoyas had lost nine of 10 entering the Big East Tournament, which they began by shooting 50 percent from the floor in the win over the Blue Demons. Bradley Hayes chipped in 10 points after missing the last six games with a hand injury, while L.J. Peak added 10 points as well. The Hoyas rolled past DePaul 70-53 in Wednesday’s opening round as D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half.

* After winning its first Big East Tournament title in 20 years last season, Villanova has its eyes on back-to-back crowns. The Wildcats closed the regular season by winning 10 of their final 11 games, essentially locking up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the process. Their final 10 wins all came by double digits, including an 84-71 triumph against Georgetown in the regular-season finale. The Wildcats aren’t an elite scoring team (78th in the nation at 77.2 points per game, entering Wednesday), but they are 16th in scoring defense (63.3).

Betting Stats:

Georgetown – 15-17 SU, 16-14 ATS, 17-13 O/U
Villanova – 27-4 SU, 14-15-1 ATS, 15-14-1 O/U


* Georgetown is 4-1 ATS in its last five neutral site games.
* Villanova is 1-5 ATS in its last six games versus Big East opponents.
* Over is 4-1 in Georgetown’s last five overall.
* Over is 6-0 in Villanova’s last six games overall.

Butler Bulldogs vs. Providence Friars (+3.5, 146)

* Kellen Dunham and Kelan Martin tied for the team lead in scoring (16.2) while Roosevelt Jones averaged 14.3 and topped the squad with 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. The trio combined for just 21 points on 8-of-24 shooting in a quarterfinal loss to Xavier last season, which left Butler 0-2 in Big East tourney play.

* The fourth-seeded Friars suffered through a 1-5 stretch in February before winning their final three regular-season games to seemingly cement an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. Big East scoring champ Ben Bentil (22.9 points in league play) averaged 26 points during the winning streak, two-time conference Player of the Year Kris Dunn emerged from a slump after an illness and Jalen Lindsey erupted for a career-high 30 in Saturday’s 90-76 win over St. John’s.

Betting Stats:

Butler – 21-9 SU, 16-13-1 ATS, 16-12-1 O/U
Providence – 22-9 SU, 16-14 ATS, 18-12 O/U


* Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big East.
* Friars are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games.
* Over is 5-0 in Bulldogs last 5 vs. Big East.
* Under is 6-0 in Friars last 6 neutral site games.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Xavier Musketeers (-9.5, OFF)

* The Golden Eagles shot 55.8 perecent from the field in a 101-93 triumph over St. John’s in the opening round late Wednesday, riding Big East Freshman of the Year Henry Ellenson’s 27 points and 14 rebounds. The Golden Eagles, who picked up their 20th win for the ninth time in 11 seasons but probably need a couple more to gain any consideration for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, feature one of the youngest rosters in the country, led by Ellenson, one of three first-year starters.

* Xavier, the second seed in the event, is potentially eyeing a second straight meeting in the title game with top seed Villanova – whom the Musketeers defeated Feb. 24 – and hoping to bolster a resume that has them targeted for at least a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which would be the highest in school history. Sophomore Trevon Bluiett was named to the All-Big East First Team after topping the Musketeers in scoring (15.2) and finishing 13th in the conference in rebounding (6.4).

Betting Stats:

Marquette – 20-12 SU, 12-19 ATS, 19-12 O/U
Xavier – 26-4 SU, 18-12 ATS, 19-11 O/U


* Marquette is 0-4 ATS in its last four games overall.
* Xavier is 6-0 ATS in its last six neutral site games.
* Over is 4-0 in Marquette’s last four games overall.
* Over is 5-0 in Xavier’s last five games overall.

Creighton Bluejays vs. Seton Hall Pirates (-2.5, 146)

* The Bluejays have four players averaging at least 10 points, led by Maurice Watson Jr. (14.5), who is coming off back-to-back poor outings (14 total points on 4-of-15 shooting). Geoffrey Groselle (10.6 points) is a 69.3 percent shooter who had 20 points in the first matchup with Seton Hall but was held to two in the second matchup. Creighton should get sharpshooter Isaiah Zierden (shoulder) back for Thursday’s game after he missed the regular-season finale.

* Seton Hall won five of six and nine of its last 11 to finish the regular season, losing only to Butler during that stretch. Isaiah Whitehead is clearly the top weapon for Seton Hall, leading the team in scoring (17.9) and 3-pointers (74), as well as assists (4.9).

Betting Stats:

Creighton – 18-13 SU, 18-12 ATS, 17-12-1 O/U
Seton Hall – 22-8 SU, 20-9 ATS, 12-17 O/U


* Bluejays are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
* Pirates are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 10-2-1 in Bluejays last 13 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.