Straight Up and Against the Spread Picks at the bottom! All data via Ken Pomeroy.
12:00pm: #15 St. John’s (-2.0) at Seton Hall
No Isaiah Whitehead could be a problem for Seton Hall. The Pirates have relied on him for 29.4% of the offense when he is in the game this season. Who will step up?
St. John’s doesn’t play a pretty style of basketball – but they have been very good at limiting turnovers and scoring inside the paint. Seton Hall shoots 38.5% as a team from 3, but the Johnnies are the 4th-best team nationally against 3Ps.
2:30pm: Butler at #6 Villanova (-10.5)
The sixth-ranked Wildcats put their undefeated record on the (Main) line today. Villanova’s offense (ranked 10th nationally in efficiency) will be going against the country’s 11th most efficient defense from Butler. While that matchup will be intriguing, I am more drawn to whether or not Butler’s 130th-ranked offense can keep up against Nova’s 15th-ranked defense.
5:00pm: Marquette (-5.0) at DePaul
DePaul’s defense ranks with the likes of Grand Canyon, Wagner, and Northern Kentucky. That’s not good. But the offense ranks 95th! The Blue Demons can score when they’re not turning the ball over (251st worst nationally). The Marquette defense is very good at forcing turnovers and limiting opponents’ free throw attempts. DePaul is going to have to get it going on 3Ps to stick around in this game.
7:30pm: Creighton at Providence (-5.5)
I need to see more from Creighton’s defense in Big East play. This season, the Blue Jays have not forced turnovers and are in the bottom-100 in Opponent 3P% – but teams shoot poorly inside the 3P line against them and have trouble getting to the FT line. Providence relies heavily on scoring inside the paint, so this will be a big area to keep an eye on. On the other end, 3Ps make up 37.1% of Creighton’s points (25th nationally), and Providence is the 36th best team in the country at defending 3Ps.
10:00pm: #25 Georgetown at Xavier (-5.0)
This will be the game of the day in my opinion. These two teams are very evenly matched statistically. A focal point could be Xavier’s 2P offense, as the Musketeers rely on points inside the 3P line for 55% of their points (84th nationally), while Georgetown has given up 47.1% of its points in that area (285th nationally). Xavier and Georgetown shoot well from beyond the arc, but neither team uses the 3-pointer at a high rate.
STRAIGHT UP PICKS:
AGAINST THE SPREAD PICKS:
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