The 2012 Big East basketball odds start today. Senior Handicapper Matt Rivers of OffshoreInsiders.com has a free pick on St. John’s (+5.5) to Pittsburgh.
Reasoning: The Red Storm are young and have had some issues this season because of it. But those problems have mainly come on the road and now in Madison Square Garden we are basically looking at a home game for Moe Harkless and the boys. Pittsburgh did just pound the Johnies last week but that was another one of those road games for Lou Carnesecca’s former team.
I actually like Jamie Dixon and do believe the Panthers are a much better team than they showed throughout the season. I guess Pitt probably should win this game and advance but the poor full season is still a big enough sample to prove how they are not what they had been in years’ past.
The Storm just played hard in a beyond easy cover at Rutgers and have won their fair share of games at the Garden as this similar handful point dog against Notre Dame and UCLA recently and West Virginia before that. There is more than enough talent for St. John’s at home to not only cover this thing but get revenge against a Pittsburgh team that is good at the very best and far from an offensive juggernaut.
Top expert pick on this game: St. John’s
Now to Bill Tanner with a prediction on the DePaul Blue Demons vs. Connecticut Huskies.
In the first round of the Big East tournament at the Madison Square Garden; the DePaul Blue Demons will take on the Connecticut Huskies. The Blue Demons are the last seed in the conference tournament with a 12-18 record; 3-15 in conference play. The Huskies are the ninth seed, after going 18-12 overall and 8-10 in Big East play.
The Huskies are the defending national champions, but will need to have another big conference tournament run to even be able to defend. The Huskies are coming off a nice win over Pittsburgh to close the regular season. Connecticut is led in scoring by Jeremy Lamb and his 17.6 points per game.
For DePaul, they have once again had a tough season. The Blue Demons are coming off a win over Seton Hall, but it was just one of three in conference play. DePaul is scoring 74.4 points per game, but have been giving up more than 80 on a regular basis. The Blue Demons are led by Cleveland Melvin, with 17.4.
This game is on a neutral court, so there are no trends when playing at home or on the road that will make a difference in this game. The Blue Demons are 13-13 against the spread this season, while the defending champions have won just 10 of 26 ATS. We look for a blow-out in this game.
Tanners Tip: Connecticut Huskies -10.5