Newark's Prudential Center is the site for the clash of Big East rivals, with CBS Sports beginning its broadcast at 7 PM (ET). Seton Hall is a 2.5 point home favorite and SBR's live NCAA basketball odds has yet to display a total for the game.
We know that Villanova and Creighton will fill out the top two seeds in the conference tourney scheduled for March 12-15 at Madison Square Garden, but there's still a battle going on for the 3-6 seeds which will also get a 1st-round bye in the event. Providence is part of that group, and Seton Hall still has an outside shot and sneaking into the mix if the Pirates can win out and get some help from the three teams still on Georgetown's remaining regular season slate.
Even though that chance is slim, it still gives Kevin Willard's squad something to play for Friday, along with the fact the Pirates can even the all-time series with a win over the Friars. Providence owns a 47-46 edge vs. Seton Hall after the Pirates pulled off an 81-80 double-overtime victory New Year's Even in Rhode Island, the Big East opener for both schools. The Friars were 6.5 point home chalk in that affair, and the extra two periods helped 'over' bettors cash their tickets.
Last season's get-together in Newark went to the Friars, 67-55. Seton Hall backers were giving up 5.5 in the upset loss, and the final fell short of a 133.5 total to extend the string to three consecutive 'unders' at Prudential Center.
Friars On String Of 3-Straight ATS Winners & 4-Straight 'Overs'
Providence (18-10 straight up, 14-13 against the spread) let a 7-point lead in the 1st half of the Jan. 31 contest vs. Seton Hall slip away, then almost overcame an 11-point second half deficit to get the win in regulation. Bryce Cotton led the way for the Friars with a game-high 25 points, but his 1-for-8 performance from 3-point range played into the loss.
Ed Cooley's crew would drop its next Big East tilt before reeling off five straight conference victories, including a dominant performance vs. Creighton. The Friars reach Friday having won two of three, covering each of those matchups, and on a run of four consecutive 'over' decisions to bring them to 11-4 O/U in Big East play.
Cotton continues to lead the team in scoring with a 21.5 PPG clip, 13th-highest in the nation and second in the conference behind Creighton's Doug McDermott. The 6-1 senior out of Tucson also tops the team with 5.9 assists per game, most in the Big East.
Pirates Back Home After 0-2 Road Trip
Seton Hall (14-14 SU, 14-13 ATS) almost pulled off its own upset of Creighton this past Sunday in Omaha, but instead fell a point shy to the Bluejays. The Pirates shot nearly 50% in the contest and won the battle on the glass while holding Creighton scoreless the final two minutes. Still, the only solace for Hall backers was getting the cover as a 14 point underdog.
The Pirates then followed that up with a 65-60 defeat at DePaul, failing to capitalize on 17 Blue Demon turnovers in an otherwise listless performance. Seton Hall was 4.5 point road chalk in Rosemont, snapping a string of three straight covers for the Pirates.
One injury concern for Willard and the Pirates is Fuquan Edwin, the team's leading scorer. The 6-6 senior guard from Patterson, NJ has strung together four consecutive 20+ point efforts, but sprained a thumb early in the second half of the loss to DePaul and missed his final three shots of the game while committing two turnovers.
This one is an absolute coin flip for me, with a very slight lean to taking the Friars and the points. The official total should be out shortly, but I'm guessing the mid-130s, and I like that number to be topped for my free NCAA basketball pick.
My pick: Providence-Seton Hall Over 135
Season: 44-33-4 (+7.7)