It has been quite the season for the Big East with six of the 11 teams being ranked at some point in The Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Jerry Palm’s projected March Madness bracket on the CBS Sports site has Villanova as a No. 2 seed, Providence and UConn seeded third and fourth in the West and East regions respectively while Seton Hall, Creighton, Marquette and Xavier are also in the field of 68.
Before the Big East commences, there is some unfinished business with five games on Saturday. It is not the most compelling set of matchups although the Seton Hall-Creighton matchup could have seeding implications. Creighton had the sixth-best odds to win the Big East title coming into the season but can finish third with a win on Saturday.
Villanova is seventh in the NCAA NET rankings while UConn and Providence come in at No. 18 and 24.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s games in the Big East with some information for those who bet online.
Villanova Wildcats vs Butler Bulldogs
Date, time, TV: Saturday, March 5, 12 p.m. ET FOX
Villanova is coming off a two-point win against Providence that gave the Wildcats a sweep of the regular-season series against the newly crowned Big East regular-season champions. It was the sixth win in the last seven games and the sixth contest in a row decided by eight points or less. Villanova is just 1-3-2 in its last six games against the spread while four of the last five games went over the total.
Butler has lost its last four games but covered in the last three. The Bulldogs are 1-4 in their last five games decided by three points or less while going 6-1 against the spread over the last seven outings.
Villanova (22-7, 15-4 in the Big East) has won seven of the last nine games against Butler including the 82-42 home win on January 16 as a 15½-point favorite. The Wildcats are 7-1-1 against the college basketball spreads in the last nine meetings while each of the last five meetings went over the total.
Butler (13-17, 6-13) has won the last two times Villanova came to town including a 12-point win in 2021 as a 12-point underdog.
It will be interesting to see who wins the rebounding battle as the Wildcats and Bulldogs are 10th and 11th in rebounds per game.
Seton Hall Pirates vs Creighton Blue Jays
Date, time, TV: Saturday, March 5, 2:30 p.m. ET FOX
Two teams that according to March Madness predictions could secure spots in the field of 68 will be squaring off in a game that both could use to improve their tournament resume.
Creighton (20-9, 12-6) has won seven of its last eight games to move into third place in the Big East standings. The Blue Jays were 4-0 in one-possession games during that time and are 3-1-2 against the Las Vegas odds in the last five. The Blue Jays are 11-3 at home while Seton Hall is just 5-5 on the road.
Seton Hall (19-9, 10-8) has won its last four games but covered against the Las Vegas odds in just one of those contests. Three of those victories came by six points or less. The Pirates had dropped four of its last five games ending as a one or two-possession final.
If Creighton wins this one, there is a possibility of a rematch in the Big East tournament.
Creighton has one last practice right now before heading to the airport. Heading to Connecticut for the BIG EAST Tournament, #GoJays are the three seed and will play the Butler/Seton Hall winner Saturday pic.twitter.com/du6z7BNAvN
— Joe Nugent (@joenuge) March 3, 2022
Creighton has won the previous four matchups against Seton Hall before the host Pirates rolled to a 19-point win as a five-point underdog on February 4. The winner of the last 14 games in the series also covered with each team emerging victorious seven times. Three of the last four games in the series went under the total.
Seton Hall ranks second and Creighton third in the Big East in field-goal percentage defense.
DePaul Blue Demons vs UConn Huskies
Date, time, TV: Saturday, March 5, 5 p.m. ET FOX
UConn has put itself in a position to have a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament and the Huskies can finish 14-2 at home.
Connecticut (21-8, 12-6) saw its five-game winning streak snapped with a two-point loss at Creighton. The Huskies fell to 2-6 in games decided by four points or less. They are also 1-5-1 against the spread in their last seven games.
DePaul (15-14, 6-13) has won its last three games and covered in its last four. The Blue Demons have scored 99 and 91 points in their last two games.
UConn has won 13 straight games against DePaul. The Huskies had covered in the previous nine matchups before DePaul only lost by seven as a 9½-point underdog at home on January 29. Three of the last four games in the series went under the total.
This is a game UConn needs to win to remain among the top Big East teams when it comes to March Madness odds.
DePaul’s Javon Freeman-Liberty has averaged 28 points in his last four games. UConn’s R.J. Cole has averaged 16.9 points over the last seven contests.
Georgetown Hoyas vs Xavier Musketeers
Date, time, TV: Saturday, March 5, 7 p.m. ET FS1
This is one piece of history Georgetown could do without. The Hoyas need a win to avoid becoming the first Big East men’s team to finish winless in conference play since DePaul during the 2008-09 campaign.
Georgetown (6-23, 0-18) has been knocking on the door with each of the last four games decided by single digits. The Hoyas are 4-1-1 against the spread in their last six contests.
It is a pretty crucial game for Xavier (17-12, 7-11) which is showing up in projected March Madness brackets despite being eighth in the Big East standings. The Musketeers have lost five games in a row and seven of the last eight. Xavier has failed to cover in its last five so the big question is whether the late-season swoon will cost the Musketeers a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Xavier and Georgetown have split the last four meetings with Georgetown covering in three of those four contests. Each of the last four games in the series finished under the total.
Georgetown and Xavier rank third and fourth in the Big East in steals per game.
St. John’s Red Storm vs Marquette Golden Eagles
Date, time, TV: Saturday, March 5, 9 p.m. ET, FS1
Marquette has dropped three of its last five games but it is still projected to be a part of the NCAA tournament field.
Marquette (18-11, 10-8) is 0-4-1 against the spread in its last five games and has dropped its last three contests decided by six points or less.
St. John’s (16-13, 8-10) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 16-point win over Xavier as the Red Storm haven’t won or lost more than three straight games this season. Barring a run to the program’s first Big East tournament title since 2000, the Red Storm will miss the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
St. John’s has covered in each of the last three games against Marquette. Neither team has been able to establish a stranglehold in this series since Marquette won three games in a row in 2016. There hasn’t been a winning streak longer than two games since. Each of the last three games has been decided by two points.
The Red Storm leads the Big East in scoring with an average of 79.7 points per game. Marquette is fourth at 74.2 points per contest.