Another 5-game slate in the Big East means another edition of BE&B Staff Picks!
I’ll give you my picks and my reasoning – and the rest of the staff’s decisions can be seen at the bottom of the page. Here we go:
12:00pm #6 Villanova (-6.0) at Seton Hall:
Seton Hall matches up well with the Wildcats. They have tough guards and defend the 3P well (4th best opponent 3P% nationally) – but they do not rebound particularly well on the defensive end despite a strong presence on the offensive glass. Villanova does not forget Sterling Gibbs’ buzzer beater and its early round exit in last year’s Big East Tournament. With Isaiah Whitehead back the second time around, it could be a different story, but I think some end-of-game FTs will push the Cats past the 6-point spread.
Villanova 74, Seton Hall 64
2:00pm Xavier (-10.0) at DePaul:
Xavier is coming off its impressive 17-point win on New Year’s Eve over Georgetown – and I think the Musketeers will continue to roll. 57.6% of points against Xavier this season have come from inside the 3-point line – and DePaul ranks 304th nationally when it comes to points scored in that area. I don’t see Oliver Purnell’s squad starting off 2-0 in league play, and I honestly don’t think this game will be all that close. Xavier stays hot.
Xavier 83, DePaul 68
2:00pm Providence at Marquette (-2.0):
Coming off a loss on the road to DePaul, Marquette takes on Providence at home, favored by a basket. Providence is strong on both ends of the floor with solid leaders in Kris Dunn and LaDontae Henton, and I think they have enough in the tank to get a tough road win in Milwaukee. I need to see something out of Marquette before I start picking them.
Providence 69, Marquette 60
4:00pm Butler at #15 St. John’s (-4.0):
St. John’s is coming off a Big East opener loss at Seton Hall AND just loss Rysheed Jordan indefinitely for personal reasons. That’s a tough loss for a team with a short bench – and it’s especially hard when you’re facing a hard-nosed Butler team desperate for a good win after losing at Villanova. I am going to take the minor upset here and go with yet another road team.
Butler 66, St. John’s 63
4:30pm Creighton at #25 Georgetown (-8.5)
I hope I am wrong, but I just don’t see Creighton being a factor in the top-half of the Big East this season. Defensively, they are similar to last season, taking very few gambles and limiting second-chance opportunities, but offensively, they don’t really compare. 3-Pointers make up 36.6% of their total points (23rd highest nationally) – but they don’t shoot it consistently enough for me to think they can win consistently. I like Georgetown here to bounce back at home from a loss at Xavier.
Georgetown 73, Creighton 60
Let us know what you think in the comment section below or on Twitter @BEandBeyond!