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Big East Gets In On The New York Festivities

Madison Square Garden is basketball central this Saturday.

Madison Square Garden is basketball central this Saturday.

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, New York is at the center of the sporting world this week. The New York Metropolitan Area is at least.

We’ve already seen a pair open-air hockey games at famed Yankee Stadium. With victories in both games, you couldn’t blame the New York Rangers for considering a full-time move to East 161st Street.

Saturday night sees Renan Barão defend his bantamweight title against Uriah Faber at UFC 169 in Newark, N.J., while José Aldo puts his featherweight title on the line against Ricardo Lamas.

Saturday night also sees the New York Knicks play host to the Miami Heat in a nationally televised game at Madison Square Garden. The stars will be in attendance as Melo and Co. look to upset King James’ South Beach mob at the Garden for the second time this season.

Then, on Sunday, there’s the small matter of Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Can the Seattle Seahawks upset the Denver Broncos in the biggest game in franchise history, or will the Broncos take home their first Lombardi Trophy since John Elway hung up the cleats?

The Big East is getting in on the New York action too.

Before the Knicks and Heat clash at the Garden, the conference will host a pair of games in the World’s Most Famous Arena.

D'Angelo Harrison and St. John's are looking for their first win at MSG this season.

D’Angelo Harrison and St. John’s are looking for their first win at MSG this season.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. St. John’s Red Storm

First up, St. John’s (12-9, 2-6 Big East) will entertain Marquette (12-9, 4-4 Big East), with tip-off scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.

Both sides find themselves struggling this season in the newly rebooted Big East conference.

The Red Storm began conference play with five straight losses. Steve Lavin’s side looks like it may have turned things around though.

After those five defeats, the Storm picked up three wins in a row (one out of conference), including a 17-point victory over Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. On Tuesday, the school came up short on the road against No. 20 Creighton, but the 63-60 final said a lot about the effort put in.

A win at the Garden on Saturday could be enough to really turn this year around.

Marquette has proven consistently inconsistent since the middle of December. The Golden Eagles have flip-flopped wins and losses over the last 10 games. If you follow that trend, Buzz Williams’ side is due a loss Saturday.

But Dwyane Wade’s alma mater has won 10 of its last 11 against the team from New York City, a trend that could see the school pull off the upset in Manhattan.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. St. John’s Red Storm odds for 02/01/2014

St. John’s is favored at its home away from home, with the spread in the region of 2. The Storm is 0-2 at Madison Square Garden so far this season, having fallen to Syracuse and Villanova. Strangely enough, the team is 2-1 at Barclays Center, the city’s other NBA arena.

St. Johns has covered the spread in three of the last four games between the sides.

Can Markel Starks and Georgetown pull off the upset against No. 7 Michigan State?

Can Markel Starks and Georgetown pull off the upset against No. 7 Michigan State?

No. 7 Michigan State vs. Georgetown

Next up, Georgetown (11-9, 3-6 Big East) will face No. 7 Michigan State (19-2, 8-1 Big Ten) in an interconference game that could be better than expected.

After a solid campaign a year ago, the Hoyas are looking to get something going this season.

Things started off badly with two losses in the first three games of the season, with one coming against Northeastern. Nine wins from the next 10, with the only loss coming to Kansas, saw the team improve, but John Thompson III’s side has gone into freefall in recent weeks. Georgetown arrives at the Garden with a five-game losing streak and six losses in its last seven.

Conversely, No. 7 Michigan State has had a season to write home about. The Spartans won 18 of their first 19, with the only loss being in an out-of-character game against North Carolina. A second blemish was put on the docket last Saturday in Ann Arbor, as Michigan upset its bitter rival.

The Spartans returned to winning ways in Iowa City on Tuesday, defeating No. 15 Iowa 71-69 in overtime. It was a tough battle for Tom Izzo’s side, and might have been very different had the Hawkeyes managed to make a field goal in the final 10 minutes of regulation, but at this time of the season you take wins where you can get them.

Michigan State will hope things are a little easier against Georgetown, a team it hasn’t faced since the 1986 NCAA Tournament. The Spartans won that game 80-68.

The Spartans will again be without Branden Dawson (hand) and Adreian Payne (foot). ESPN is reporting that Payne may be ready to go when the Spartans return home to host Penn State on Thursday.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Georgetown Hoyas odds for 02/01/2014

The Spartans enter Madison Square Garden as the favorite, with the spread around 7 points.

Michigan State (11-8-1 ATS) has fared better than Georgetown (8-11-0 ATS) against the spread this season and has covered in nine of the last 12. The Hoyas have covered just four times in their last 13.


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