The Big East Tournament semifinals are now locked in! And we have a traditional matchup looming in the nightcap.
The Villanova Wildcats, despite being down by as many as 17 points, defeated the St. John’s Red Storm in a thriller. ‘Nova edged them 66-65, with two free throws by Brandon Slater being the difference-maker. The trio of Caleb Daniels, Justin Moore, and Collin Gillespie attributed for 48 of the Wildcats’ 66 points scored.
Meanwhile, the UConn Huskies were victorious in the Thursday nightcap. The Huskies beat six-seeded Seton Hall 62-52 in a game they had in hand from the get-go. Neither team shot the ball particularly well, but it was the Huskies who still emerged victoriously. RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin each scored 17 points with Isaiah Whaley chipping in 10.
These are two of the most successful Big East Tournament teams in the conference’s history. UConn’s won seven Big East Tournaments, Villanova has won six! ‘Nova has a chance to match UConn’s output if they grab their bid for the tourney final. UConn, meanwhile, could distance themselves from the rest of the pack and go for #8.
How to watch Villanova vs. UConn in the 2022 Big East Tournament
Time: Approx. 9 p.m. ET
How to stream Villanova vs. UConn in the 2022 Big East Tournament online
The Fox Sports App can be used to stream Villanova-UConn.
How to bet on Villanova vs. UConn in the 2022 Big East Tournament
You can bet on this game at DraftKings SportsBook.
Spread: Villanova -2.5 | UConn +2.5
Moneyline: Villanova -135 | UConn +115
Three Things to Watch For
1. Shaking off the cobwebs: I think it’s fair to say that neither Villanova nor UConn brought their best in Thursday’s action. Both teams’ peaks are higher than the ones that we saw at The Garden. It’s easy to understand why, as it’d been five days since either team had game action. Now for this game? I think we might see a better contest. Both teams have plenty of motivation obviously, and there’ll likely be a fantastic atmosphere at Madison Square Garden for this game. So look for this to be a better version of both teams, I think.
2. Is there an exploit on the UConn perimeter? If the Huskies have one weakness, it’s perimeter defense. In Big East play, UConn ranked 10th out of 11 Big East teams in 3-point defense. They allowed teams to shoot 35.8 percent from 3-point range, but there should be something to note here: while teams shot the ball well against them... they also didn’t take many shots against them. Their 3-point rate allowed (3PA/FGA) is amongst the lowest in Division 1 at 31.9 percent and, in Big East play, they allowed a mark of just 31.7 percent. Villanova is very 3-point happy, so we’ll likely see if there’s actually an exploit, or if UConn is just a victim of a smaller sample.
3. Free throws? Both teams are very adept at shooting free throws. They’ve each shot over 75 percent in conference play, with Villanova topping the Big East at 84.6 percent. UConn’s 75.6 percent mark is good and it’s still 10 percent off that. If this becomes a free throw game, I see both teams rising to the occasion. The one thing I will say is that Villanova has gotten to the line more frequently than the Huskies. So if that’s what it comes down to? Advantage ‘Nova.