FULL CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT BETTING BREAKDOWNS
The 2021 Big East men’s basketball tournament tips off Wednesday at Madison Square Garden between No. 8 Georgetown and No. 9 Marquette. Villanova, Creighton, UConn, St. John’s and Seton Hall all earned a first-round bye and will not play until Thursday in the quarterfinals.
This year’s Big East tournament is now absolutely wide open after regular-season champion Villanova lost star point guard Colin Gillespie (MCL) for the season last week. In addition, the Wildcats were dealt another blow on Saturday when they lost their second-leading scorer Justin Moore with an ankle injury in a loss at Providence. It remains unclear whether Moore will suit up for the three-time national champions in New York or if he will be held out until the NCAA tournament next week. Either way, the Wildcats—without Gillespie, have now become long shots to earn their fifth Big East tournament title in the last six years.
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Perhaps the hottest team in the conference—UConn—catapulted up the Big East standings on the strength of a four-game winning streak, grabbed the third overall seed, and became the betting favorite.
The oddsmakers at the DraftKings Sportsbook have this tournament tightly bunched among the top three overall seeds. According to the odds, this year’s tournament - from the World’s Most Famous Arena - will be won by either UConn (+200) or Creighton (+235). The wiseguys out in Vegas are fading the established perennial power of Jay Wright and Villanova (+400) due to many devastating injuries.
Big East Tournament Contenders
No. 1 seed Villanova Wildcats (16–5; 11-4 BE; 12–9 ATS) +400
Losing star point guard Collin Gillespie (14.0 points per game/ 4.6 assists) and potentially losing second-leading scorer Justin Moore (12.9 points per game) has caused the Wildcats to fall to the third overall betting choice by the oddsmakers at odds of +400 despite being the No. 1 seed. Villanova will need forwards Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (15.2 points per game, 8.4 rebounds) and Jermaine Samuels (11.4 points per game, 6.3 rebounds) to emerge as dominant factors if the Wildcats have any hope of playing multiple games in the Big East tournament.
No. 2 seed Creighton Bluejays (18–7; 14-6 BE; 11–14 ATS) +235
Creighton's star backcourt duo of Denzel Mahoney (13.5 points per game) and Marcus Zegarowski (15.4 points per game, 4.4 assists) are the strength of the Bluejays. In addition, top front liner Christian Bishop (11.2 points per game, 6.1 assists) will be relied upon down low. The Bluejays will have to deal with the issue of coach Greg McDermott's suspension over racist remarks made during a postgame speech to his club. Creighton has posted a lucrative 4–2 ATS mark over their last six games, after a dismal 1–6 ATS stretch over their previous seven games.
No. 3 seed Connecticut Huskies (14–6; 11-6 BE; 15–5 ATS) +200
The Huskies are easily the hottest team in the conference heading into the Big East tournament on a four-game winning streak that has rewarded bettors with a perfect 4–0 ATS mark. UConn has been one of the best teams in the country for bettors to support, going 15–5 ATS overall and will once again be a target of the sharps in New York.
No. 4 seed St. John's (16-10; 10-9 BE; 15-11 ATS) +2000
The Red Storm, who closed out the regular strong with wins over Seton Hall and Providence, offer solid long shot value at odds of +2000. Suppose they can get by the Pirates for the second time in less than a week in the quarterfinals. In that case, they will have a lot of confidence potentially facing an injury-depleted Villanova team they have already beaten once this season.
Frankie Whispers Breakdown: Creighton (18–7 SU, 14-6 Big East) is the second choice to win the Big East Conference, but can it overcome the off-court turmoil involving its suspended (and now reinstated) coach? It's extremely likely the Bluejays will be facing UConn in the semifinals for the right to play in the championship game. Creighton has beaten the Huskies twice already this season, and its star backcourt duo should give it an edge. However, Huskies star guard James Bouknight, who scored 40 points in the first game between the two rivals, missed the second matchup. Since his return on Feb. 16, Bouknight has been the difference-maker for the Huskies, averaging 20.0 points per game and 5.2 rebounds in the last six games.
- Pick: Creighton +235
- Longshot: St. John’s +2000
Big East Tournament Betting Odds
- UConn +200
- Creighton +235
- Villanova +400
- Xavier +475
- St. Johns +2000
- Providence +3000
- Marquette +6000
- Georgetown +6000
- Butler +8000
- DePaul +20000
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Superbook
2021 Big East Tournament Schedule
Location: Madison Square Garden -- New York
First round -- Wednesday, March 10
Game 1: No. 9 Marquette vs. No. 8 Georgetown | 3 pm ET on FS1
Game 2: No. 10 Butler vs. No. 7 Xavier | 6 pm ET on FS1
Game 3: No. 6 Providence vs. No. 11 DePaul | 9 pm ET on FS1
Quarterfinals -- Thursday, March 11
Game 4: No. 1 Villanova vs. Game 1 winner | 12 pm ET on FS1
Game 5: No. 4 St. John’s vs. No. 5 Seton Hall |3 pm ET on FS1
Game 6: No. 2 Creighton vs. Game 2 winner | 6 pm ET on FS1
Game 7: No. 3 UConn vs. Game 3 winner | 9 pm ET on FS1
Semifinals -- Friday, March 12
Game 8: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner | 6 pm ET on FS1
Game 9: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner | 9 pm ET on FS1
Big East Tournament Championship Game -- Saturday, March 13
Game 10: Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner | 6:30 pm ET on Fox
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