College basketball picks: Big East Tournament predictions for Thursday, March 12, 2020

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Big East Tournament predictions
A quick turnaround could doom St. John's as much as playing in an empty arena Thursday when making your 2020 Big East Tournament predictions. (Photo credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the NBA deciding to suspend the regular season Wednesday night, the show will go on at Madison Square Garden for the 2020 Big East Tournament. The World’s Most Famous Arena will not allow fans inside Thursday due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, so we are entering a great unknown with our Big East Tournament predictions.

For the most part, let’s assume the empty arena won’t have any impact on our Big East predictions. However, there are going to be instances where the lack of fans does come into play.

St. John’s vs Creighton predictions

DateThursday, March 12
TimeNoon ET
How to watch St. John’s vs CreightonFS1
St. John’s vs Creighton odds – point spreadCreighton -5.5
St. John’s vs Creighton odds – over/under151

St. John’s has the misfortune of playing Thursday at noon ET after a 7 p.m. ET start time on Wednesday night.

In addition to the quick turnaround, St. John’s played a grueling stretch last night, having to rally from a 15-point second-half deficit to beat Georgetown, 75-62. 

Aside from that, perhaps no team will be impacted more by the empty arena than St. John’s, who play multiple home games each season at MSG. Yes, programs like Villanova bring more fans to the Big East Tournament than the home team, but a program like St. John’s needs all the advantages it can get.

Now, St. John’s did beat Creighton by 20 points less than two weeks ago. But when making your Big East Tournament predictions Thursday, it’s hard to imagine St. John’s outshooting Creighton 63.6 percent to 14.8 percent from 3-point range once again. Especially on tired legs.

Creighton comes into Thursday’s game fresh and shouldn’t have a problem covering the 5.5-point spread.

St. John’s vs Creighton picks

Creighton -5.5

Butler vs Providence predictions

DateThursday, March 12
TimeNoon ET
How to watch Butler vs ProvidenceFS1
Butler vs Providence odds – point spreadButler -1.5
Butler vs Providence odds – over/under129.5

Both teams won on each other’s home floor this season, so it’s only fitting the rubber match takes place on a neutral court.

Providence enters the 2020 Big East Tournament as the hottest team in the conference, having won six in a row. 

But I think that run comes to an end here when I’m making my 2020 Big East Tournament predictions.

Butler has the kind of defense that can stifle any team, allowing just 62.1 points per game — good for 13th in all of D1 college basketball.

That sort of defense tends to travel in any environment, whether on a neutral court or in an arena with no fans at all.

Butler is also the deeper team of the two, although that is more likely to come into play deeper in the Big East Tournament.

As for the over/under here, both meetings were under the 129.5 points here. Throw into the mix the unknown of getting acclimated to an empty arena, and I think the under is the play.

Butler vs Providence picks

Butler -1.5, under 129.5

Big East Tournament predictions

  • Creighton -5.5
  • Butler -1.5
  • Butler vs Providence under 129.5

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