Seton Hall @ Villanova
Seton Hall is another Big East team firmly on the bubble. A win over the Wildcats would be huge for their at-large chances. Villanova looks to continue their school-best 8-0 Big East conference start.
Herb Pope is one of the better rebounders in the league, but still struggles to score. Villanova is more stout up front than in previous years, but he could still be a handful for Antonio Pena (who is only a junior – give him the Terry Dehere When Is He Gonna Graduate Award right now). Jeremy Hazell and Scottie Reynolds will both shoot a lot, but Reynolds will make his shots, providing the major difference. One ray of hope for Seton Hall, they are #2 in the nation in Turnover Percentage. I highly doubt that will hold up in the raucous Pavilion with the withering Nova pressure defense bearing down on them.
Villanova – 79
Seton Hall - 71
Providence @ Syracuse
Syracuse is vying for a #1 seed come March and Providence is trying to fight their way back onto the bubble. Providence has shown they can play with talented teams, smoking UConn last week.
Providence can score with almost anyone in the country but PC can’t guard Steven Hawking. The Friars are ranked #204 in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency rankings, which is worst in the conference save Notre Dame [insert Charlie Weis joke here]. Syracuse is 13th in the nation in offensive efficiency and leads the nation in FG%, a stat that has been beaten to death by every commentator in the land. As usual, the question with Syracuse is motivation. After Saturday’s dreadful effort at DePaul, the Orange should be fired up to immolate the Friars.
Syracuse – 88
Providence - 74
St. John’s @ Rutgers
St. John’s is playing improved ball this year and Anthony Mason, Jr has recently rejoined the squad. They started the year 10-2 with those two losses coming to Cornell and Duke and victories over Georgia, Siena and Temple. The Big East has not been kind, though, as SJU has gone 2-6 with a 15 point loss at home to Providence. Rutgers is coming off their first Big East win of the year, a shocker over Notre Dame on Saturday.
Look for Mike Rosario to shoot often, early, late and maybe even during some timeouts for Rutgers. If his shot is falling, Rutgers could pull off the mild upset. If not, SJU will roll to victory at the RAC.
St. John’s – 69
Rutgers - 60