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Big East Tournament semifinals preview for March 12th

Here’s all the action from today’s Big East Tournament semifinals from Madison Square Garden, with game times, odds, picks, and more.

Creighton Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner drives to the basket against the Butler Bulldogs during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

A new Big East Tournament champion will cut down the nets at Madison Square Garden this year with three-time defending champ and top-seeded Villanova going down on Thursday.

That leaves Creighton, UConn, Seton Hall and Georgetown all vying for a spot in Saturday’s championship game when they hit the MSG parquet for their respective semifinal matchups this evening.

No. 8 Georgetown vs. No. 5 Seton Hall, 6 p.m. FS1

Point Spread: Seton Hall -2.5
Point Total: 141.5

Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas (11-12) were the ones to topple Villanova in a 72-71 upset on Thursday and have been the proverbial Cinderella of the tournament following a mediocre regular season campaign. Freshman guard Dante Harris sunk both of his free throws with 4.7 seconds remaining to lift the Hoyas over the Wildcats in the back-and-forth affair.

Despite a four-game losing streak to end the regular season, Seton Hall (14-12) secured themselves a first-round bye as a five-seed and took advantage by knocking off St. John’s in a 77-69 overtime battle on Thursday to propel themselves to the semifinals. Co-Big East Player of the Year Sandro Mamukelashvili and Jared Rhoden both registered double-double efforts for the Pirates as the team held the Red Storm to just seven points in overtime to advance.

Seton Hall and Georgetown split their respective regular season matchups with the home team coming out on top in both. Seton Hall is looking to return to the league championship game after falling to Villanova in 2019 while Georgetown is trying to make their first league final since 2010.

The pick: Over 141.5

No. 2 Creighton vs. No. 3 Connecticut, 9 p.m. FS1

Point Spread: Creighton -1
Point Total: 143.5

The three-seed UConn Huskies (15-6) have been on an absolute tear for the past month and after enjoying a first-round bye, they made a statement on Thursday with a 94-60 beatdown of DePaul, their largest margin of victory this season. Four different players hit double-digits in the blowout, including a 14-point, 10-rebound performance from guard Tyrese Martin. Sporting the 17th best offense in adjusted efficiency per KenPom, the Huskies have been putting teams away quickly with their last six victories coming by double-digits.

In spite of the still-looming Greg McDermott controversy, Creighton (19-7) also made easy work of their quarterfinal opponent on Thursday with an 87-56 smacking of Butler. Led by Marcus Zegarowski and Damien Jefferson, the Bluejays scored the first seven points of the contest and never looked back. Creighton’s spark has been their offense, which ranks ninth in adjusted efficiency.

Creighton took both regular season contests from UConn earlier in the season, winning by margins of two and eight points, respectively. CU is seeking their first trip to the Big East Championship game since 2017 while UConn, which returned to the conference this season, is seeking their first title game appearance at MSG since their legendary Kemba Walker-led run in 2011.

The pick: UConn +1

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