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Big East Tournament 2019

If you’re looking for madness before the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, we strongly suggest tuning into the 2019 Big East tournament. 

The Big East was one of the most unpredictable leagues throughout the college basketball season, and with a few desperate teams entering Madison Square Garden, every game should produce its share of excitement. 

Although Villanova and Marquette are the top two seeds, they are from guaranteed to make Saturday’s championship game since they both experienced rough patches of form during conference play. 

Because the Big East regular season was so volatile, almost every team seeded from third to 10th is playing to solidify their positions in the field of 68.

Recent tournament history suggests some upsets will occur at Madison Square Garden, as the top two seeds have never met in the final since the Big East realigned ahead of the 2013-14 campaign.

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Bracket

Championship Pick

Seton Hall over Creighton 

After going over the Big East tournament bracket in depth, we’re choosing to embrace the chaos that erupted throughout the league in the regular season.

Since top-seeded Villanova has been susceptible to upsets all season and No. 2 seed Marquette enters on a four-game losing streak, we’re not ready to put full trust behind either team to stay alive until Saturday. 

Seton Hall and Creighton are both more than capable of making runs to the championship game and knocking off the top seeds on their sides of the bracket in the process. 

The Pirates are riding high after upsetting Villanova in their regular-season finale, and they’ll get a chance to take on struggling Marquette in the semifinals if form somehow holds. 

Myles Powell will be the reason why Kevin Willard’s Pirates surge into the championship game, as the guard adds his name to Big East tournament lore with a few standout performances. 

Powell, who averages 22.6 points per game, is a star within Big East circles, but he hasn’t received a ton of national recognition during his career.

That will change as the junior guard, who has scored over 20 points in his last four games, takes over the spotlight in wins over Georgetown and either Marquette or St. John’s.

Powell’s exploits at Madison Square Garden will safely place the Pirates into the NCAA tournament. Currently, the Pirates are a No. 10 seed in projections made by ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi and CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm.

In the championship game, the Pirates defeat Creighton, who enters as the most dangerous team in the Big East with a five-game winning streak and a NCAA tournament berth to play for. 

In Lunardi’s most-recent projection, the Bluejays are the third team out behind Indiana and Belmont, while Palm has them has one of his last four in.

In order to leave out any doubt regarding their resume, the Bluejays need to beat Xavier in the quarterfinals and then take down Villanova, who they lost to twice in the regular season.

By avenging defeats to the top-seeded Wildcats in the semifinals, Ty-Shon Alexander, Martin Krampelj and the Bluejays should assure themselves of a spot in the field of 68. 

Of course, the easiest path to the Big Dance for Creighton is to win Saturday’s final, but we don’t believe any team will be able to stop Powell and the Pirates in New York City. 

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Pictured: Markus Howard
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Preview: Marquette at Seton Hall

Marquette’s quest for its first outright Big East regular-season title has been slowed by back-to-back six-point losses. The 15th-ranked Golden Eagles aim to get back on track Wednesday when they travel to the Prudential Center to face Seton Hall, which has dropped three in a row to put its NCAA Tournament hopes in jeopardy.

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Big East leading scorer Markus Howard scored 21 straight points for Marquette in the first half and finished with 33 on Sunday, but a high volume of turnovers plagued the Golden Eagles for the second consecutive contest in a 66-60 setback to Creighton. “If somebody makes running offense harder on you, you have to work harder, you have to be stronger, you have to be more fundamentally sound,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. While the Golden Eagles trail first-place Villanova by a half-game, the Pirates will play a pivotal role in which team will win the Big East title as they wrap up their season with home games against both clubs. “We’ve still got two Top 25 teams coming back to our house. We’re going to keep it together and keep fighting like we did (Saturday),” Myles Powell told NJ.com, referring to his 35-point performance in a 77-71 double-overtime loss to Georgetown.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, FS1

ABOUT MARQUETTE (23-6, 12-4 Big East): Howard, who was named one of the five finalists for the 2019 Bob Cousy Award on Tuesday, erupted for 26 points and Theo John added 10 to go along with a career high-tying 11 rebounds in the Golden Eagles’ 70-66 win over Seton Hall on Jan. 12. Sam Hauser had 13 points in that contest, but answered two strong shooting performances with a dismal 1-for-7 effort from the field — including 1-for-6 from 3-point range — to finish with just three in the loss to the Bluejays. Hauser wasn’t alone with his troubles against Creighton, as the rest of the club combined to shoot 10-for-25 outside of Howard’s 11-for-21 effort from the floor.

ABOUT SETON HALL (16-12, 7-9): Powell, who averages a team-best 22.3 points per game, had 21 in the first meeting with Marquette while fellow guard Quincy McKnight and forward Sandro Mamukelashvili each had 13. The 6-foot-10 Mamukelashvili, who averages 9.0 points, has upped the ante with four double-digit performances in his last five games — including 14 to go along with 11 rebounds versus the Hoyas. McKnight has struggled mightily from the floor in his last three outings, shooting 6-for-26 in that stretch while finishing with just three points in the last two.

TIP-INS

1. Marquette F Sacar Anim answered an 8-for-12 shooting performance in a 76-58 win at Providence on Feb. 23 by going 4-for-12 from the field in his last two games.

2. Seton Hall G Myles Cale is just 3-for-13 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3-point range in his last two contests.

3. The Golden Eagles have won 19 of the 26 all-time meetings with the Pirates.

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Pictured: Collin Gillespie
Source: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images North America

Preview: Villanova at Georgetown

Georgetown has had 2 1/2 weeks to come up with a solution for Collin Gillespie. On Wednesday, the Hoyas will prove whether they can stop the Villanova sophomore when they host the 16th-ranked Wildcats in Big East action.

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The first matchup between the teams took place on Feb. 3, when Gillespie made six 3-pointers en route to a career-high 30 points. “We just gave him too much airspace and he was able to knock down all those 3s,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said after his team held the rest of the Wildcats to 3-for-20 from 3-point range in contrast to Gillespie’s 6-of-11 effort. Villanova enters this one having lost two of its last three, while Georgetown has dropped three of its last four. Hoyas star Jessie Govan had a day to forget against Villanova earlier this month, shooting 0-of-9 before fouling out in 13 scoreless minutes.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

ABOUT VILLANOVA (20-6, 11-2 Big East): The Wildcats shot only 33.3 percent from the field against St. John’s with the team’s three top scorers on the season – Phil Booth, Eric Paschall and Gillespie – shooting a combined 5-of-30 from the field (2-of-20 from outside the arc). Booth is just 4-of-25 from 3-point land over the last four outings, while Paschall is seeking back-to-back double-doubles for the first time this season. Gillespie followed up the strong performance against the Hoyas with a 4-of-9 effort from long range versus Creighton, but in his last three games, he is 2-of-19 from beyond the arc.

ABOUT GEORGETOWN (15-10, 5-7): Govan led the team in scoring (20) and rebounding (six) in a 90-75 loss to Seton Hall the last time out and committed two turnovers or fewer for the 13th time in 14 games. Jamorko Pickett was 3-of-6 from long distance against Seton Hall and, in the last four outings, he is 12-of-18 from 3-point land. James Akinjo comes into this one shooting 2-of-23 over the prior three contests.

TIP-INS

1. The Hoyas haven’t won a game in which they’ve scored fewer than 75 points since the season opener.

2. Villanova F Saddiq Bey has made multiple 3-pointers in four straight games.

3. Wildcats G Joe Cremo had as many 3-pointers against St. John’s (four) as in his previous four games combined.

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NCAA March Madness Preview

Gonzaga Bulldogs VS Seton Hall Pirates

This interesting NCAA tournament 1st round matchup of the Midwest region will feature # 6 Seton Hall Pirates against the West Coast Conference champions, Gonzaga Bulldogs. FanPicks is proud to bring you this NCAA March Madness preview. Come enjoy daily NCAA Fantasy Basketball at Fanpicks ahead of this upcoming March Madness with over 5 MILLION dollars in prizes in our contests.
NCAA March Madness preview

The Bulldogs come into this game having worked real hard for their spot in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Perhaps, their only way to get in the tournament was by winning the West Coast Conference title. This will be Gonzaga’s 18 straight appearance in March’s tournament making it the 4th longest current streak. Eric McClellan claimed the West Coast Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award. The Bulldogs made it to the Elite 8 last March but lost to Duke. They’re the only team with Kansas to win their opening round tournament game each of the last 7 seasons. Gonzaga is seen a mid-major power with a record of 22-18 all-time in NCAA Tournament matchups, including 6 trips to the Sweet 16, 2 appearances in the Elite 8.

 

Seton Hall is making its 10th appearance in the tournament after a dream season finish to secure their berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years. They made a late season run that ended in an upset of Villanova in the Big East Conference final game. They will hope with the help of their standout player and NBA prospect Isaiah Whitehead to recapture some of their old glory when they reached the championship game in 1989 by starting off in the Midwest Region. They’ve won 12 of their last 14 games in questionably the toughest conference in the nation.

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FANTASY BASKETBALL VILLANOVA VS XAVIER

NCAA COLLEGE FANTASY BASKETBALL VILLANOVA VS XAVIER PREVIEW

With a win tonight, top ranked Villanova Wildcats (24-3, 13-1 Big East) can clinch the Big East regular-season title. It won’t be easy though, as they will need to defeat fifth-ranked Xavier Musketeers (24-3, 12-3 Big East). FanPicks has your preview for this fantasy basketball Villanova vs Xavier high-profile college game.

Villanova’s Josh Hart scored 22 points and 12 rebounds in the Wildcats last game, against Georgetown. It marked his eight double-double of the season from the guard position. His partner in the backcourt, Ryan Arcidiacono, has been in a cold slump lately. He is shooting 33.3 percent or worse in seven of his last nine game. Arcidiacono scored a team-high 27 points in the new-year’s eve matchup against the Musketeers. Up front, Daniel Ochefu is shooting for 76.5 percent over the last five games.

Xavier’s Edmond Sumner collected a career-high 22 points Saturday against Georgetown. The Musketeers shot for 77 percent in the second half of the game. They’ve committed seven turnovers and got points from ten different players. Guard, Trevon Bluiett is averaging a team-high 15.3 points per game, but has reached that mark only once in his last four games.

It’s the first time a top-ranked team has visited the Cintas Center since it opened for the 2000-01 season. The Musketeers have won three of their last seven games against No. 1 teams at other venues, including a pair of wins over crosstown rival Cincinnati. With one and a half game back of Villanova in the Big East, Xavier could risk battling for the Big East title until March Madness. But they absolutely need to defeat them in order to get that chance. This has the potential to be  a hard-fought game between the two.

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