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In recent years, the Big East has been Villanova and everyone else - but not this season. While the Wildcats are still +270 favorites to win the conference tourney, six other teams have odds of +1000 or shorter in a deep field of contenders.
Seton Hall +300
Seton Hall was cruising along in conference play until the calendar flipped to February. The Pirates are just 5-5 since Feb. 1 and will enter the tournament on a two-game losing streak. Additionally, Seton Hall is in the tougher side of the bracket, with a game against Marquette on Thursday and then a potential showdown with Villanova in the semifinals.
But while it seems like Seton Hall has the deck stacked against it, there's a lot to like, starting with star guard Myles Powell. Powell is averaging 21 points per game and leads an offense that ranks 29th in efficiency. Even with their late-season struggles, the Pirates are one of 10 teams that rank top 30 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Overall, Seton Hall is a balanced team that features a star player and has faced one of the toughest schedules in the country. That's a good recipe for success in a tournament format. The Pirates are worth a look at +300.
Providence got off to a slow start this season but is rolling into the Big East Tournament as the hottest team in the conference. The Friars have won six straight games, including victories over Seton Hall, Villanova, and Marquette. Yet, four teams have shorter odds to win this tournament.
Providence ranks top 30 in defensive efficiency, but the big reason for its late-season turnaround was an improved offense that topped 70 points in five of the six wins.
The team still ranks 310th in 2-point field-goal percentage, which is a concern in a tournament setting where one bad offensive performance can send a team home. But if the three-guard lineup led by Alpha Diallo (14.1 ppg) can avoid long scoring droughts, the red-hot Friars will be a serious threat to make a title run, especially since they'll avoid a potential matchup with Villanova, Seton Hall, or Marquette until the championship game.
It's surprising to see Marquette with shorter odds than Providence. The Golden Eagles went 1-6 to close out the regular season, with their only win coming at home over lowly Georgetown.
Marquette does have an X-factor in stud guard Markus Howard, who leads the Big East in scoring at 27.8 points per contest. Howard can certainly carry a team, but there's not much firepower behind him, which could be trouble given that Marquette's defense allowed almost 72 points per game this season.
The Golden Eagles went 2-8 versus Villanova, Seton Hall, Creighton, Providence, and Butler this season. In a tough conference, Marquette will likely need to beat three of those teams to win the Big East Tournament. Don't bet on it happening.
Thomas Casale is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. A devoted fan of the wishbone offense, Thomas bets on all sports but specializes in college football, NFL, and college basketball. Find him on Twitter @TheTomCasale.