Big East Tournament First Round: Marquette vs. Providence

2011 Big East Tournament First Round
#11 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. #16 Providence Friars, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Marquette -8
Current Line: Marquette -7.5
Opening Total: 153
Current Total: 155
Money Line: Marquette -320 / Providence +260

Providence Marquette Big East Tournament Preview
Providence senior Marshon Brooks looks to extend his college career another game by beating Marquette.

The 11th-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles (18-13, 9-9 Big East) are trying to become one of a record 11 teams from the conference to make the NCAA tournament. They begin their quest on Tuesday against the 14th-seeded Providence Friars (15-16, 4-14) in the first round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The Golden Eagles (-7.5) dropped their last two games to end the regular season, including a surprising 85-72 setback at Seton Hall in Saturday’s finale. That loss combined with falling at home to Cincinnati 67-60 last Wednesday put them squarely on the bubble for the Big Dance. They had won three straight prior to that skid, including an 86-62 rout of Providence on February 27.

The Friars snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 75-74 win over Rutgers on Saturday behind a game-high 28 points from senior Marshon Brooks, who was named to the All-Big East First Team on Sunday. Brooks set the conference’s single-season scoring record with 468 points but was limited to just 17 in the loss at Marquette. He was coming off a Big East record 52-point effort in a 94-93 home loss to Notre Dame and could be dangerous in his final tournament appearance.

Marquette had trouble stopping Jeremy Hazell in the team’s most recent loss to the Pirates and will face a tough challenge in trying to bottle up Brooks again. Hazell scored 21 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Seton Hall as a team shot 49 percent (25 of 51) and made 57 percent (12 of 21) from beyond the arc.

The Golden Eagles will need to play much better defensively against a Providence team that will try to turn this into an offensive shootout. Marquette had allowed 67 points or less in its previous four games before losing to the Pirates with the UNDER going 4-0. The Friars have surrendered 74 points or more in their last eight games with the OVER cashing five times.

Providence has lost the last six meetings with the Golden Eagles, going 1-5 against the spread in those games. The OVER has cashed in four of the last five meetings. The Friars are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall. Marquette won two games in the Big East tournament last year before losing to Georgetown 80-57 in the semifinals, including an upset of Villanova.

Now that you have read this Big East tournament college basketball betting preview featuring Marquette & Providence, check out the NCAA basketball odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.

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