Big East Tournament Semifinal
Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Where to watch: FS1
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: UConn -4
BetMGM: UConn -4
Caesars: UConn -3.5
No. 11 UConn: 25-7
No. 6 Marquette: 26-6
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UConn - Marquette preview, prediction and analysis
I'm not one to think that the chamber has been completely emptied, but if there was ever a chance for the Marquette Golden Eagles to fall in the Big East tournament, this might be the chance for the Connecticut Huskies to do some damage. The two are going to meet in the semifinal on Friday in Madison Square Garden and given the fact that the last couple of games for Marquette has been nothing short of heart attack inducing, I don't feel comfortable going with Marquette in this one.
We talked about it leading into their matchup with the St. John's red storm. They had just come off a 96-94 win against St. John's and even in that game you had a feeling that they weren't all there, they being Marquette. So of course when Marquette draws St. John's again in the quarterfinal match up it goes the overtime in St. John's scares them. But the caveat is Marquette finds a way to win the game 72-70 in overtime period so even when it looks like Marquette is against the ropes and it looks like that they are going to be knocked out in a much sooner fashion than anyone expected on the de facto homecourt that St. John's has in Madison Square Garden, Marquette continues to find a way.
And finding a way is the only other reason why I look at Marquette and I think that they can pull this off and win the conference. I'm not gonna let two games against St. John's deter me from how good this team is. Because this team is very good. If you are able to stay afloat in a crowded big E conference at the beginning of the year and you watch it unfold and at the very end you are the team that puts itself on the map? Then you are absolutely worthy of having such a ridiculous team lead your way to victory.
This game is going to be the perfect example of the irresistible force meaning the immovable object. No one has been able to knock off Marquette at all from their perch for the majority of this season, hence why they have won seven straight games. Connecticut has won six in a row and is coming off a quarterfinal victory over Providence, which is a very impressive win in its own right. For as bullish as I have been on Providence all year Connecticut has been able to take what they've done and make it so it has been a worthwhile season for this group.
This might turn out to be the game of the week that's not a championship game. Because the only thing Marquette needs to do to ensure that it could get a number one overall seed in the NCAA tournament is win out and it will pretty much be guaranteed, if not a number two seed. And they have the talent to do it and I do firmly believe that they will ultimately make this a close game but there is a reason why Connecticut is favored by 3.5 at most books and there's nothing that is stopping this freight train from continuing to be great, but Marquette is on another level man.
Marquette 80, UConn 78
Projected starting lineup
PG: Jordan Hawkins
SG: Tristen Newton
SF: Andre Jackson Jr.
PF: Alex Karaban
C: Adama Sanoggo
PG: Stevie Mitchell
SG: Tyler Kolek
SF: Kam Jones
PF: Oliver Maxence-Prosper
C: Oso Ighodaro
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