Big East Tournament Odds & Predictions: 2 Picks for Xavier vs. Creighton, Marquette vs. UConn

Big East Tournament Odds & Predictions: 2 Picks for Xavier vs. Creighton, Marquette vs. UConn article feature image
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Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Madison Square Garden

  • Friday marks the Big East semifinals: Xavier vs. Creighton and Marquette vs. UConn.
  • Anthony Dabbundo came through with picks for both Big East semifinal games.
  • Check out his betting angles for Xavier vs. Creighton and Marquette vs. UConn below.

The quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden ultimately saw the favorite win every game on Thursday. But almost every matchup was dramatic, with the results being decided in the final minutes.

Marquette needed overtime to outlast St. John's as Posh Alexander's game-winning 3 missed just short.

Xavier mounted a big second-half comeback to hold off a strong shooting night from DePaul to advance to the semifinals.

Connecticut played a dominant 30 minutes, building a 20-point lead on Providence. But then the Huskies nearly melted it away and ultimately won by only seven.

Creighton's defense totally stifled Villanova in the final game of the night, which turned out to be a routine win for the Bluejays.

The four best teams in the league will now face one another on Friday night. Let's break down both matchups.


UConn vs. Marquette Odds

Friday, March 10
6:30 p.m. ET
FS1
UConn Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-3.5
-110
146.5
-110o / -110u
-164
Marquette Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+3.5
-110
146.5
-110o / -110u
+136
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

These two teams split the two regular-season meetings, as the Golden Eagles won by six in Milwaukee in January and the Huskies won by 15 in Hartford in February.

The Golden Eagles caught Connecticut in a rough patch of form in early January, which was really the only blip that the Huskies have had all season.

The Huskies started 14-0 and then had a 2-6 stretch that composed of most of January.

Since then, the Huskies have been one of the five best teams in the entire country. Connecticut is 9-1 in its last 10, including wins against Marquette, Villanova away and Providence twice.

Since Feb. 1, Connecticut is second in Bart Torvik efficiency rating, behind only Gonzaga. The Huskies are the only team that ranks in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, too.

The Huskies completely dominated the second meeting with Marquette thanks to their size and physicality, bothering the elite rim offense of Marquette.

The Huskies lost the first meeting because they only made 27% from beyond the arc. In the second meeting, UConn grabbed an early 26-10 lead by bullying the undersized Marquette.

On paper, this is not a good matchup for the Golden Eagles.

Marquette is one of the best offenses in the country at the rim, but UConn is in the 90th percentile defensively there. The Golden Eagles are undersized and bad at rebounding on both ends of the floor, which UConn can exploit.

The Huskies are the best offensive rebounding team in the entire country.

Marquette may be 9-1 since February began, but Shaka Smart's team doesn't grade out nearly as good in the underlying numbers. Torvik has the Golden Eagles 40th in efficiency.

And they will have more problems scoring easy baskets than the Huskies will.

With this being a partisan UConn crowd, I'm fine taking the Huskies up to four.

Pick: Connecticut -4 or Better | Under 156.5

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Creighton vs. Xavier Odds

Friday, March 10
9 p.m. ET
FS1
Creighton Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-3.5
-110
152.5
-115o / -105u
-164
Xavier Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+3.5
-110
152.5
-115o / -105u
+136
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

This midwestern battle will decide the second spot in the Big East Tournament final.

Like the first semifinal, these two teams split their regular-season meetings. The Musketeers won at the Cintas Center in a 157-point thriller that came down to the final possession. Creighton got its revenge in Omaha, winning 84-67.

The question coming into this matchup is what the legs look like for both teams on a back-to-back.

The Musketeers only really played six players and had a fast-paced and competitive battle with DePaul. They expended a lot of energy mounting that comeback and are already shorthanded because of Zach Freemantle's injury.

Jack Nunge was able to dominate in the post on Thursday night, but he'll have a much tougher matchup on the interior with Ryan Kalkbrenner on Friday.

Creighton has even less depth than Xavier. The Bluejays did play nine players in total on Thursday, but all four of those bench players have very limited roles.

The Bluejays are bottom-20 in the country in percentage of minutes from their bench. The game against Villanova was considerably less taxing physically than Xavier's, but it's still worth considering for Friday and potentially Saturday.

Xavier's offense has been a supernova for most of the season, especially in transition.

The Musketeers are extremely efficient there, but that's also a strength of the Bluejays' defense. Creighton is in the 91st percentile in PPP allowed in transition, per Synergy.

Xavier also runs a ton of pick-and-roll, which Creighton's defense sees more of than anyone in college basketball.

The Musketeers grade out really well at the rim offensively, but it's hard to score there against Kalkbrenner. His length and positioning alters shots — just look at how Villanova shot the ball around the rim on Thursday night.

Creighton can slow down this Xavier offense in transition and force it to play just a little slower.

The total opened at 155.5 overnight and has since come down to 153. I'm expecting a slower-paced game than the market is suggesting here, and I will be playing the under at 152.5 or better, splitting it with the first half.

Pick: First Half Under 72.5 | Full Game Under 152.5

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