NCAA March Madness betting: UConn back in Big East tournament, and they might win it

·3 min read

Conference tournament betting previews: ACC

The dumb conference realignment shuffle of the past 10 or so years finally got something right when UConn came home to the Big East. When the Huskies officially re-entered the Big East last summer after a few seasons away, it just felt right.

This week UConn is in a familiar position, as a good bet to win the Big East tournament.

Connecticut has been the hottest team in the league, which plays its conference tournament this week at Madison Square Garden. Let's take a look at the teams to watch in the Big East tournament, with odds from BetMGM.

Best bet: UConn +300

Connecticut was trudging along this season at 8-5, not giving anyone much reason to believe they could be a factor in the Big East tournament.

That has changed. UConn won six of its last seven, with the last five wins all by double digits. It's a Huskies team that plays slow but is efficient on both ends and is elite on the offensive glass. Sophomore guard James Bouknight leads the way at 20.2 points per game, but UConn's depth has been a major factor during the late-season surge. They're peaking at the right time.

Dan Hurley has a good chance to make UConn's return to the Big East tournament a memorable one.

Connecticut forward Josh Carlton (25) and the Huskies are peaking late in the season. (David Butler II/Pool Photo via AP)
Connecticut forward Josh Carlton (25) and the Huskies are peaking late in the season. (David Butler II/Pool Photo via AP)

Team to avoid: Villanova +200

The Wildcats are a good team, though a touch disappointing given their position as a preseason title contender. Now they're dealing with some rough injury issues as they head to New York.

Villanova lost Collin Gillespie for the rest of the season due to a knee injury last week, and then in the season finale Justin Moore suffered a sprained ankle. Those two players are second and third on Villanova in minutes and points this season.

Considering Villanova coach Jay Wright called Moore's ankle injury "pretty severe," it seems unlikely the Wildcats would rush him back for the conference tournament even if he could play. Villanova is still a good team but it's hard to see them winning the Big East without two of its three best players.

Sleeper: St. John's +2000

St. John's fell behind 18-0 against Seton Hall on Saturday. They still won 81-71.

St. John's won nine of 12 down the stretch and is positioned to make a run in the Big East tourney. In their first game at Madison Square Garden the Red Storm get a rematch against the Seton Hall team they just beat by 10. Then they would likely get a banged-up Villanova team in the semifinals. Freshman guard Posh Alexander, perhaps the Red Storm's best player, has been out with a hand injury but St. John's played well last week without him and he could return for the conference tournament.

There are some flaws for St. John's, but they could end up being a great value at +2000.

Full Big East tournament odds via BetMGM

  • Creighton +200

  • Villanova +300

  • UConn +300

  • Seton Hall +1200

  • Xavier +1400

  • Providence +2000

  • St. John's +2000

  • Marquette +2500

  • Georgetown +8000

  • Butler +10000

  • DePaul +10000

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