Marquette vs. Villanova: NCAA Basketball Picks for Big East Tournament

Darin Zank

Thursday, March 12, 2015 12:41 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 12, 2015 12:41 PM UTC

Villanova won the Big East last season, then got upset in its Big East tournament opener. The Wildcats just won the Big East again, and will try to avoid a similar tournament fate when they tackle Marquette Thursday afternoon at the Garden in New York City.



Eagles-Wildcats Betting Odds
Many online sportsbooks were late in lining this game Thursday morning, apparently because Marquette played Wednesday night. The first shops we saw with numbers on this game posted Villanova at -14, with a total of around 133.


Eagles-Wildcats: Background
Villanova comes into this Big East Tournament with 12 wins in a row, including a 105-68 blowout of St. John's last Saturday. Just before that the Wildcats won at Creighton 76-72, and just before that they won at Xavier 78-66. And after covering as 12-point favorites against the Redmen, Villanova is now 11-1 ATS over its last 12 games.

In fact, the 'Cats have been one of the best bets in college basketball this season, going 22-8 vs. the numbers.

Villanova won the Big East's regular-season crown by going 16-2 in conference play. And at 29-2 overall the Wildcats still have a shot at a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Marquette, meanwhile, had lost 12 of its previous 13 games, but won its regular-season finale, beating DePaul last Saturday 58-48. The Eagles then reached Thursday's Big East tournament quarterfinals by beating Seton Hall Wednesday night 78-56. The Eagles shot a hot 57 percent from the floor, and made 13-of-22 from 3-point range.

However, an outing like that, in our book, just sets Marquette up for a “fade” play next time out. And the Eagles have been bad bets as of late, going 3-10 ATS over their last 13 games.

At 13-18 overall and 4-14 in conference play Marquette, for the moment, is just hoping to play “pain in the ass” in this Big East tournament.

The winner of this game will play either Providence or St. John's in the semifinals of this tournament Friday.


Eagles-Wildcats Recent History
Villanova has beaten Marquette five times in a row, including twice already this season. Back in early February the Wildcats beat the Eagles in Philly 70-52, covering as 14-point favorites, and two weeks later Villanova won in Milwaukee 87-76, covering at -9. The Wildcats only shot 42 percent from the floor in those two games combined, but held the Eagles to just 40 percent shooting.

That first meeting played UNDER its total of 130, while the second meeting played way OVER NCAA Basketball Odds its total of 128.


Eagles-Wildcats, By the Numbers
Marquette is shooting just under 44 percent from the field this season, and just 65 percent from the FT line. At the other end of the floor the Eagles are holding opponents to 42 percent FG shooting.

Villanova is shooting 47 percent from the floor, 38 percent from 3-point range and 73 percent from the line, while holding foes to less than 41 percent shooting.


Eagles-Wildcats Betting Trends
Marquette is 15-15 on the totals this season, as Eagles games have averaged 132 points.

Villanova is 14-15 on the totals, as Wildcats games have averaged 138 points.


Eagles-Wildcats Free Pick
There's no way Marquette will shoot the ball like it did Wednesday night, and Villanova wants this one, after so many recent conference tournament failures. So while that spread might seem a bit inflated, we'll back the 'Cats with our NCAA Basketball picks today.

Free Big East Tournament Pick: Villanova -13.5 at BookMaker

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