Big East Tournament Quarterfinal Betting Picks (Thursday, March 12): Butler vs. Providence, Marquette vs. Seton Hall
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Powell and Markus Howard
The quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament are set for play Thursday. While the top two seeds Creighton and Villanova awaited their respective opponents on Wednesday night, the other two matchups were already set.
We take a closer look at these two predetermined matchups between Butler and Providence, as well as Marquette and Seton Hall.
Thursday Big East Tournament Odds & Picks
Butler vs. Providence
- Spread: Butler -1.5
- Over/Under: 131
- Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
- TV: Fox Sports 1
Butler (22-9) ended the regular season on a high note and enters into the Big East Tournament on a three-game winning streak. The Bulldogs won their last game in dramatic fashion, as Kamar Baldwin hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left at Xavier. Baldwin finished the game with a career-high 36 points on 52% shooting from the field.
The Bulldogs at times have been too reliant on Baldwin. For example, they won at Xavier because of his heroics but the fact remains he matched the point total of the rest of the team. Baldwin has attempted more than double the field goal attempts of all but one teammate, Sean McDermott. The sharp-shooting McDermott is the only other starter averaging in double figures at 11.7 points per game.
Providence (19-12) is arguably the hottest team in the conference. It enters the conference tournament on a six-game winning streak, including wins over three ranked teams. The Friars are 5-0 in their last five games against Top 25 opponents. With a top-40 NET ranking and seven wins against Quadrant 1 opponents, Providence has to be feeling pretty good about their at-large NCAA Tournament chances.
During their six-game winning streak, the Friars have been sizzling offensively. They are averaging 1.11 points per possession and 77 points per game.
These two teams split two regular season meetings, with each team winning on the other’s home floor. Coach Ed Cooley’s Friars did a nice job limiting Baldwin in both meetings. Providence has held Baldwin under his season averages for points, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage in the two games combined.
There are some that may wonder why Butler is favored over the red-hot Friars. Oddsmakers are likely taking into account that Bulldogs point guard Aaron Thompson missed their home loss to Providence. However, Friars guard Luane Pipkins was also coming off the bench back then. He has been such a difference maker for this offense, scoring in double figures in each of his last six games.
I cannot overlook how well Providence is gelling on both ends of the floor. The Friars are a great value play to win the Big East Tournament outright, and that run starts with a win over the Bulldogs.
Pick: Providence +1.5
Marquette vs. Seton Hall
- Spread: Seton Hall -3.5
- Over/Under: 151
- Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
- TV: Fox Sports 1
Marquette (18-12) limps into the Big East tournament losing six of its last seven games. Though the Eagles rank a respectable 26th in the NET, this latest stretch of poor play has them feeling squeamish when it comes to an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. A win against Seton Hall would be a huge boost for their overall resume.
Marquette can thank Kamar Baldwin of Butler for not having to play in the opening round. As a result of Butler’s win over Xavier, Marquette earned the No. 6 seed in the tournament by way of a tiebreaker. Thus, the No. 7 seed Xavier was relegated to playing Wednesday night in the opening round.
Seton Hall (21-9) is another team that cannot be happy about how the regular season finished. The Pirates needed a win in either of their last two games against Villanova or at Creighton to clinch sole possession of the regular season conference championship. However, Seton Hall lost both games, creating a three-way share of the title.
The Pirates look for a third win over the Golden Eagles this year. Seton Hall won the two previous meetings by an average of 11.5 points per game.
Seton Hall ruined Marquette’s Senior Night with an 88-79 victory, despite a heroic 37-point effort from Marquette star Markus Howard.
Although Howard has averaged 32.0 points in their meetings, Seton Hall has done a great job of limiting everyone else. The rest of the Golden Eagles are a combined 26-for-77 (33.8%) from the field against Seton Hall. The Pirates have also won the turnover battle and have shot better from the field in each game.
Though it is always difficult to beat the same team three times in a season, Seton Hall is simply a bad matchup for Marquette. Against other teams, a great effort from Howard is usually enough. However, I do not see Seton Hall allowing any other player around him to be enough of a factor. Give the points with Seton Hall.
Pick: Seton Hall -3.5