In what is going to be one of the more wide open conference tournaments in March, the Big East Tournament tips off at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. There are three games in the Big East that will take place, with Marquette and Georgetown starting things off at 3:00 p.m. EST. Butler and Xavier will follow at 6:00 p.m., while DePaul and Providence get the final honors at Madison Square Garden tonight.
The two favorites to win the tournament, Villanova and Creighton, are scheduled to play tomorrow. Their opponents are not known yet. The other games on Thursday is Seton Hall and St. John’s, which might play out to be the most entertaining game of this round in the tournament. Also waiting for an opponent is the Connecticut Huskies. All conference tournaments are in full swing now, with everybody having played a game going into the weekend.
Gonzaga came from behind to preserve their perfect record with a 88-78 win over the BYU Cougars to win the West Coast Conference Tournament on Tuesday night. For a minute there, it looked like BYU had something brewing, but not surprisingly, Gonzaga stormed back to win by double digits. In every game that they got themselves into early trouble, the Bulldogs come back like a powerhouse and pull away for an easy win. The Bulldogs might finally run into a team in the NCAA Tournament where getting off to a slow start could spell the end of their championship bid.
Either Villanova, Creighton, or UConn winning the Big East Tournament is not going to come as much of a surprise. All three have a great opportunity to celebrate at MSG by the end of this tournament. The upset seekers to be aware of are St. John’s, Xavier, Seton Hall, and Providence. They tend to go through spurts of hot and cold, so if one of them gets hot now, then an upset could be there for the taking.
DePaul is just hoping for an upset on Wednesday, and then they’ll go from there. The Blue Demons go into the Big East Tournament with a record of 4-13 and 2-13 in the conference. They finished dead last, but with every team eligible for the tournament, they have a Hail Mary of a prayer to win the Big East. Providence counters with a record of 13-12 and 9-10 in the conference. Head below for our free DePaul vs. Providence pick on March 10, 2021.
DePaul Blue Demons vs. Providence Friars Big East Tournament Betting Odds:
DePaul vs. Providence Prediction:
DePaul is going into Wednesday cool with three straight losses, and losses in eight of their last nine games. Their only win during that stretch, which began on January 27, was a 88-83 upset over St. John’s. Following that win, Depaul returned to their losing ways on a three-game losing streak. In their most recent showing, the Blue Demons faltered by a final score of 77-71 against Marquette at home on March 2.
The loss was also their third straight without covering the spread. DePaul has covered just two in their previous seven outings. The Blue Demons struggle offensively, with just 65.9 points scored per game for 294th in the NCAA. They’re shooting 41.7% from the field, which puts DePaul well behind the 8-ball.
Their defense hasn’t offered much this season either. DePaul has conceded 71.6 points per contest for 206th in the NCAA. The Blue Demons have four players listed on the injury report, with guard Oscar Lopez Jr. who is shooting 61.5% from the field with 8.8 points per game listed as questionable. It’s not a significant loss if Lopez Jr. can’t go, but certainly will impact DePaul’s depth.
Providence is coming off a tremendous performance against Villanova, as they knocked off the top seeded Wildcats on Saturday, 54-52. This was the second quality win for Providence recently, which also includes a 83-68 win against Xavier. Their defense has been playing solid basketball, having conceded 64.2 points per game in their last five outings. They smothered DePaul on February 13 to allow just 47 points in a 57-47 win at DePaul.
The Friars have been one of the better defenses in the NCAA at defending the three ball. Opponents are shooting just 29.9% from deep, 25th in the country. Conversely, DePaul has been off from deep, with a three-point percentage of 31.7% for 275th. If DePaul has to keep up with threes, it’s unlikely they are going to be very successful.
Providence has a few good wins on their resume since mid-February, with a win over UConn, 70-59, and the recent win against Villanova. Three games ago they also defeated Xavier in really nice form, and then wrapped up and beat the Wildcats as 4.5-point underdogs. If Providence cares, and I’m sure they will because it’s conference tournament time, a 75-64 win doesn’t seem too out of reach.