Saturday, 25 February
St. Johns vs. Georgetown (12:00 p.m.)
What is at stake in this game? Not much other than whatever these coaches can get out of the game from a long-term player development standpoint. The teams are currently in 8th and 9th place in the league and, if they stay in those positions, are destined to play each other in the opening round of the Big East Tournament on Wednesday, March 8th.
The Hoyas one the first meeting convincingly in D.C. by a score of 83-55. At that point in the season, Georgetown was desperate to earn a Big East win after beginning the conference slate 0-4. The Johnnies were 2-2 in the league at that stage. St. John’s shot an abysmal 5-30 (16.7%) from beyond the arc in at got pounded on the boards 50-30. Georgetown scored 27 points at the free-throw line as well.
Georgetown enters this game after a painful home loss to DePaul which all but ended the Hoyas hopes of an NCAA bid (a highly unlikely BET Championship is now necessary to pull the trick). St. John’s is a one point favorite in this game per kenpom. The Red Storm need to try to avoid fouling at a high rate, be more competitive on the glass than during the first meeting and to shoot the ball better from deep this go-around.
Seton Hall @ DePaul (2:00 p.m.)
The Pirates are not out of the woods yet. Though they have quality wins against California, South Carolina, Creighton and Xavier, they are clinging to a projected 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament and can ill afford to drop a game at perennial bottom-feeder DePaul now. Sitting at 7-8 in the league, Seton Hall needs to claw back to .500 in league play to have the best possible shot at a berth in the big dance. With a home game against Georgetown and a game at Butler still on the docket, losing to DePaul for loss 9 tomorrow would put their backs squarely against the wall. Seton Hall crushed DePaul 87-56 at home in early January - with all of the Pirates’ primary scorers performing well. Expect more of the same in this game.
Villanova vs. Creighton (3:00 p.m.) FOX
See the detailed, VUSports Villanova - Creighton preview - HERE
Marquette @ Providence (4:00 p.m.) CBS Sports Network
This is the best bubble battle on the Big East schedule for Saturday. Providence is one of the first teams on the wrong side of the bubble at this moment while Marquette is a projected 11 seed. Providence is favored by one point per kenpom and could really use this win. They close the season against DePaul and at St. John’s - which gives them a good shot at .500 in conference even with a loss BUT the Friars lost to St. John’s at DePaul and were edged by DePaul on the road … so nothing is a given and Providence would love to buy some margin for error by grabbing this last chance win against a quality Big East opponent prior to the Big East Tournament. Marquette (8-7 in Big East games) has a difficult schedule to close out the season - @ Providence, @ Xavier and home against Creighton. Can they peak at the right time to secure the berth even without having to do much damage at MSG?
Providence won the first meeting, 79-78 at Marquette behind quality outings by Jalen Lindsey, Kyron Cartwright, and Ryan Fazekas. Emmitt Holt added an inefficient 13 points and Rodney Bullock posted 8 points and 5 rebounds. Marquette got a great game from Andrew Rowsey (23 points) but could use more out of Haanif Cheatham and Katin Reinhardt this go around to beat the Friars on the road.
Sunday, 26 February
Butler @ Xavier (3:30 p.m.) FS1
Xavier lost at Butler, 83-78 in mid-January. Butler got quality games from essentially everyone but Avery Woodson (who shot 2-10 from three and took no shots inside the arc nor from the line). Xavier got a huge game from Edmond Sumner, and he is now out for the season. The Musketeers do not match up well with the Bulldogs without Sumner but are predicted by kenpom to lose this game by only one point - 73-72.
If the Bulldogs play the way they have of late and Xavier plays the way it has over their current four game losing streak - don’t expect it to be that close.
One thing the Musketeers have on their side is desperation - currently 8-7 in the Big East and still projected as a 7 Seed in the NCAA Tournament, they could really use a quality win right now to keep them above the dreaded 8/9 seed line and on a path to clear .500 in conference. Should they lose and fall to 8-8, they will need a split at home against Marquette and at DePaul to finish 9-9.
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