St. John’s 76-63 Butler
What would be hilarious involving Butler? Would it be the insistence on calling being normal The Butler Way? What if that bit of self-aggrandizing was undercut by two guys going academically ineligible right before the biggest games of the year? That’s what happened to the Bulldogs, as Manny Bates and Eric Hunter hadn’t met the academic standards and couldn’t play.
St. John’s can be scary if you let them dictate the terms of engagement, and that’s what Butler let them do. The Johnnies used a 13-2 run to take control of the game late in the first half and Butler never really answered. Joel Soriano was the MVP for SJU with 19/15/2. The Johnnies chances of a win never dipped below 95% in the second half. This was a bit of a snoozer to start the tournament. St. John’s gets Marquette next.
DePaul 66-65 Seton Hall
Seton Hall absolutely obliterated Providence on the road to end the regular season. Having done that, they had to figure that a run in the Big East tournament, a run that would have to contain a win over Xavier, could maybe get them back in the bubble conversation. To do that, though, they would have to get their offense going again.
They did not. DePaul is tragicomically bad, almost as bad as Georgetown, but they are generally game. They entered this game on a 12 game loser and then knocked off a team that should have been desperate to win. March is weird. Nick Ongenda struggled from the floor and finished with four turnovers, but he erased they game winning layup attempt from Femi Odukale, so I’m guessing no one is too hung up on his offensive issues. DePaul gets X at 7pm.
Villanova 80-48 Georgetown
My goodness is Georgetown bad. They scored .76 per possession and allowed 1.27. That is a recipe for getting humiliated. Sure enough, that’s what happened. If this was Patrick Ewing’s last game as Hoyas coach it wasn’t one that will get him interviews anywhere else. His players showed exactly zero desire to fight for him.
Villanova is a frightening prospect right now. Since beating DePaul on the 8th of February, the Wildcats are 30th in the nation in adjusted efficiency and are 7-2. Tomorrow they get Creighton with a chance to move to the semifinals. Cam Whitmore had 19/10/0 in the first game. With him playing well and Justin Moore and Eric Dixon back on form, no one is going to want to see Nova.