Despite going a mediocre 5-3 in their last eight games, the Villanova Wildcats enter the Big East conference tournament as -110 favorites. Villanova’s middling play down the stretch saw Jalen Brunson and company lose their conference lead to Xavier and ultimately conclude the season second in the Big East.
That being said, Villanova has the No. 1 scoring offense in the country and sits in the top five in average scoring margin, assist-to-turnover ratio and effective field-goal percentage. That is largely thanks to the play of Brunson, as the incredibly efficient guard may not play the sexiest game but is simply smarter and more consistent than almost any other player in the nation.
The next-best odds to cut down the nets in New York belong to the Xavier Musketeers (+230). Xavier won the Big East regular-season crown but also went 0-2 vs Villanova, likely the reason the Musketeers are not above the Wildcats per oddsmakers. Getting a consistent effort out of the defense will be critical with Xavier surrendering an average of 91.8 points per game in its losses – including 102 to Arizona State.
Potentially the team with the most to gain from a strong showing in the Big East tournament is Marquette (+2500). The Golden Eagles are squarely on the bubble right now with a terrible loss to DePaul hanging over their heads – a defeat that may ultimately cost them a berth in the bracket. Two wins over Creighton in the past month help but a massive upset over Villanova in the quarterfinals could cement them a spot in March Madness.