Big East: Weekend Preview (Feb. 16)

By Alex H.

This weekend in the Big East started with a bang as No. 15 Georgetown scored an upset win over Cincinnati to move into first place in the conference. Marquette and Syracuse will look to return to the top of the table with wins on Saturday, while ranked sides Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Louisville look to make some more noise.

Our Big East weekend preview starts with an all-important clash in Milwaukee.

No. 16 Pittsburgh at No. 18 Marquette

Vander Blue and the Marquette Golden Eagles will look to score a second victory over Pittsburgh this season.

The Golden Eagles defeated the Panthers 74-67 in overtime when the sides played at the Peterson Events Center on Jan. 12. No. 16 Pittsburgh (20-5, 8-4 Big East) will now look to gain a measure of revenge. Revenge won’t come easy in this one.

No. 18 Marquette (17-6, 8-3 Big East) is undefeated at home this season, a fact that has seen the side unexpectedly rise to the top of the Big East standings. A win in Milwaukee on Saturday will see the side head back to the top of the table.

Pittsburgh has won three straight and seven of the last eight. The side has won four of the last five on the road also. A big win in Cincinnati last Saturday saw the side climb the AP poll again.

Marquette lost in Georgetown on Monday but four wins from the last six has the side looking dangerous. As do those 13 home wins. Critics however would argue that the Golden Eagles have only beaten one quality side (Georgetown) in those 13 games. A win over Pittsburgh would go some way to silencing those critics.

The line opened evens, but Pittsburgh is generally regarded as the favorite (-2) as tip-off approaches. The Panthers are 10-9-0 ATS this season with a 4-3-0 ATS record on the road. However, the side is only 7-8-0 ATS when considered the favorite.

Marquette however has not fared well against the spread this season. The side has gone 9-10-0 ATS all told, including 4-6-0 ATS at home and 3-3-0 ATS as an underdog.

The total stands at 124. Pittsburgh has split 18 games evenly between the over and under, while Marquette is 10-9-0 in favor of the over. This one’s too close to call.

No. 21 Notre Dame at Providence

With Notre Dame's last three wins all coming in overtime - including last weekend's 5OT epic - the Irish's game against Providence could prove to be very exciting.

After last Saturday’s 5OT thriller against Louisville, No. 21 Notre Dame (20-5, 8-4 Big East) scored a second straight win, and fifth in six games, midweek with a close win over DePaul. The Fighting Irish now needs a win to keep pace in the ultra-tough Big East.

Providence (13-11, 5-7 Big East) may not have an impressive record but three straight wins have breathed some life into the Friars. This positive streak includes wins over Cincinnati – ranked No. 127 at the time – and the tricky Villanova. A win over the Irish would be the icing on the cake for the Rhode Island side.

Notre Dame has gone 3-2 in true road games, which opens the door for the Friars to score big here. In fact, the Irish’s struggles on the road coupled with Providence’s recent run of good form make for interesting reading on the line.

Having opened at evens, Providence has moved into the role of favorite (-2) ahead of tip-off. What’s more, the Friars have fared well against the spread this season, compiling an 11-8-1 ATS record as a whole, and a 7-4-0 ATS record at home. The side is 4-4-0 ATS when considered the favorite.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame is 11-11-0 ATS this season, including records of 4-3-0 ATS on the road and 2-1-0 ATS as the underdog.

The Irish will need to be on full upset alert heading into this one.

Around the Conference

No. 15 Georgetown (19-4, 9-3) upset the bookies Friday night with a 62-55 victory at Cincinnati (19-7, 7-6 Big East). The Bearcats had been a 4.5-point favorite entering the game, but the Hoyas – winners of seven straight and nine of 10 – saw off the slumping side. Cincinnati has now lost three of the last four, while the Hoyas move into first place in the Big East, for the time being at least.

No. 6 Syracuse (20-4, 8-3 Big East) will look to make short work of Seton Hall (13-12, 2-10 Big East) and leapfrog above Georgetown again. A win would make it three in four for the Orange, but a loss would equal two straight and four from six. That would surely see the side take a huge drop down the AP standings. The Orange is the favorite (-8.5) on the road against the lowly Pirates.

Villanova (15-10, 6-6 Big East) meets Connecticut (17-6, 7-4 Big East) in a match with big importance to both teams. Both are currently outside the tournament picture looking in, but a sustained run of wins could make all the difference. A loss would be devastating. The Huskies are favorites (-5) at home with the total at 131.5.

For DePaul (10-14, 1-10 Big East) and Rutgers (13-10, 4-8 Big East) there’s little left to play for. Rutgers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 57-55 win over Seton Hall on Tuesday, while the Blue Demons have lost nine straight and 11 of 12. This one looks like an ugly one. DePaul is the narrow favorite (-1.5) at home with the total at 145.

No. 12 Louisville (20-5, 8-4 Big East) rebounded from last weekend’s 5OT loss to Notre Dame by besting St. John’s 72-58 on Thursday. The Cardinals will look to make equally short work of the hapless South Florida (10-14, 1-11 Big East) on Sunday.

 

Weekend Big East Schedule (in full)

Friday

No. 15 Georgetown 62, Cincinnati 55

Saturday

Villanova at Connecticut

No. 21 Notre Dame at Providence

No. 16 Pittsburgh at No. 18 Marquette

Rutgers at DePaul

No. 6 Syracuse at Seton Hall

Sunday

No. 12 Louisville at South Florida