2/2/2010 12:00:00 AM
Ranked No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in the latest AP poll, Villanova and Syracuse will be heavy home favorites Tuesday night when they take on rivals from the Big East.
Two of the top three teams in the country are featured in a couple of early Big East tips on Tuesday. Villanova and Syracuse have made it to No. 2 and No. 3 in the AP Top 25, respectively. The Wildcats have reeled off 10 straight wins while the Orangemen have won eight in a row.
Facing the heavy favorites will be the Providence Friars and Seton Hall Pirates, who could be up for the challenge as double-digit dogs.
Seton Hall Pirates at Villanova Wildcats (-10 ½, 166)
7 p.m. (ET) - The Pavilion, ESPNU
The Wildcats have been money-makers lately at 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games. Five of these pointspread covers were as double-digit favorites.
‘Nova has not taken the court since a 90-72 thrashing of Notre Dame last Wednesday as an 11-point favorite. Corey Fisher and Scottie Reynolds each had 17 points as the scoring leaders for the Wildcats.
The spot could be a challenging one for the hot Wildcats with a six-day layoff. They were recently idle for five days before a close 82-77 win against Georgetown, and got the ATS cover by only a hook as 4 ½-point favorites.
Seton Hall dropped all four of its games away from home in January, but makes the short trip to Philly with nothing to lose. The Pirates have been 1-4 ATS in opposing gyms, but have not been this large of an underdog all season.
Herb Pope continues to lead the Big East in rebounds for the Hall, averaging 11.4 per game. He had 17 boards when the Pirates were upset, 76-74, as two-point road chalk against South Florida last Thursday.
Overtime was needed to lift the 150 combined points ‘over’ the 146 ½-point ‘total.’
Villanova is on a 7-0 SU winning streak against Seton Hall, but is only 4-3 ATS among that stretch. The ‘over’ has cashed at 4-1 in the last five meetings between these rivals.
Providence Friars at Syracuse Orange (-16, 169)
7 p.m. (ET) - Carrier Dome, ESPN Full Court
The Orange escaped Chicago on Saturday with a 59-57 victory at DePaul, but did not come close to covering ATS as a 14 ½-point favorite. Wesley Johnson played the entire 40 minutes for ‘Cuse, notching a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Sign up to win prizes in SBR Contests!
Tight defense on both ends of the floor plunged the matchup well ‘under’ the ‘total’ of 136.
Five of the last six matchups for Syracuse have ducked ‘under.’ The only exception was a 76-71 victory against Marquette which inched ‘over’ its 143-point ‘total’ by only a couple of buckets.
Syracuse is 6-4 ATS at home, but has yet to be this large of a favorite in Big East play.
The Friars covered ATS on Saturday, getting edged out at Cincinnati, 92-88, as an 8 ½-point underdog. Sharaud Curry’s 27 points for Providence helped make the contest fly well ‘over’ its ‘total’ of 152 ½.
Providence is 6-3 ATS on the road, and has yet to be a double-digit dog this season.
Curry and Company have been the Big East’s top rebounding team averaging nearly 42 per game, and second to only Villanova in scoring averaging 83.2 PPG.
Syracuse is on a 2-0 streak, SU and ATS, at home between these two squads, as well as a 4-1 streak, SU and ATS, overall.