Big East: Weekend Preview (Feb. 22)

By Alex H.

The three-way tie at the top of the Big East will be broken on Saturday as Syracuse hosts Georgetown for the final time under the conference banner.

The two schools will meet at the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon, while Marquette will look to keep its share of the top spot with a trip to Villanova later in the day.

No. 11 Georgetown at No. 8 Syracuse

Otto Porter, Jr. and the Georgetown Hoyas travel to Syracuse on Saturday looking to win a ninth straight game.

Winners of eight straight, No. 11 Georgetown (20-4, 10-3 Big East) continues to surprise everyone with its solid conference run. The Hoyas will face a tough task on Saturday though as they make the journey to the Carrier Dome for the final time.

No. 8 Syracuse has won two straight and four of five, enough to keep pace at the top of the Big East standings. With games still to come against Marquette and Louisville, as well as a return fixture against the Hoyas, grabbing the No. 1 spot in the Big East tournament is going to be tough.

Georgetown has won three straight and four of five on the road, but playing in the Carrier Dome will be tough. It’s been 38 games since Jim Boeheim’s side lost at home, a streak that dates back to Feb. 9 2011. As happenstance would have it, it was Georgetown that handed the Orange a defeat on that day two years ago.

Syracuse enters the game as the favorite with the spread at seven. The Orange has gone 13-8-1 ATS this season, tallying a 9-4-0 ATS record at home and a 12-7-1 ATS record as the favorite.

Georgetown is 13-7-0 ATS this season, with records of 5-1-0 ATS on the road and 5-1-0 ATS as the underdog.

The total opened at 122. The Hoyas (10-10-0) have split the over and under evenly this season, while the Orange (9-14-0) have favored the under.

No. 17 Marquette at Villanova

Davante Gardner and the Marquette Wildcats will look to retain a share of the Big East top spot with a win over Villanova on Saturday.

After Georgetown and Syracuse is done battling, No. 17 Marquette (19-6, 10-3 Big East) will look to keep pace with the winner.

A trip to Villanova (17-10, 8-6 Big East) might at first glance look like an easy out, but the Wildcats have already scalped both Louisville and Syracuse at the Pavilion. Adding another ranked side will certainly be on the agenda on Saturday evening.

Marquette is coming off a 67-44 demolition job of Seton Hall on Tuesday, the Golden Eagles’ second straight win and seventh in nine. Villanova defeated Rutgers 71-36 on Monday and has now won two straight and four of five. The Wildcats appear to be hitting stride at just the right time.

Accordingly, Villanova is the favorite ahead of tip-off. Heading into the only meeting between the schools this season, Marquette however will look back on last year’s sweep of the Wildcats, in which both games were won by four points.

The spread opened at just one point. Marquette is 11-10-0 ATS this season, with a 6-4-0 ATS tally on the road and a 4-3-0 ATS record as the underdog. Villanova is 16-8-0 ATS all told, with a 7-5-0 ATS record at home and a 6-3-0 ATS record as the favorite.

The total opened at 133. Marquette (11-10-0) has favored the over while Villanova (9-14-0) has favored the under.

Around the Conference

No. 10 Louisville (21-5, 9-4 Big East) will also look to keep pace with the conference leaders. The Cardinals host a Seton Hall (13-14, 2-12 Big East) side that has lost eight straight and 12 of 13. Louisville is a heavy favorite (-19.5) in this one.

At two games back of the leading trio, Connecticut (18-7, 8-5 Big East) isn’t out of contention yet. More importantly, the Huskies need to impress if they’re to stand any chance of scoring a NCAA tournament berth. Kevin Ollie’s side faces a trip to DePaul (11-15, 2-11 Big East) on Saturday, a game in which it is favored by four points.

Providence (14-12, 6-8 Big East) and Rutgers (13-12, 4-10 Big East) will be playing for pride Saturday. The Friars are 1.5-point favorites on the road. The over/under is 131.

On Sunday, No. 20 Pittsburgh (20-7, 8-6 Big East) will look to rebound from losses to Marquette and Notre Dame this week. The Panthers travel to face a tough St. John’s (16-10, 8-6 Big East) side.

With a win on Sunday, No. 25 Notre Dame (21-6, 9-5 Big East) can sweep its season series with Cincinnati (19-8, 7-7 Big East) and improve its AP and Big East rankings in the process.


Weekend Big East Schedule (in full)


Seton Hall at No. 10 Louisville

No. 11 Georgetown at No. 8 Syracuse

No. 17 Marquette at Villanova

Connecticut at DePaul

Providence at Rutgers


No. 20 Pittsburgh at St. John’s

Cincinnati at No. 25 Notre Dame