Marquette, UConn and Providence highlight stout weekend on FOX

The avenue to the Immense East Tournament at Madison Sq. Backyard is quite total, with the ultimate day of the fashioned season headlining the FOX College Hoops Saturday slate. 

At noon ET, No. 20 Providence looks to jump assist at residence welcoming in Seton Hall. The outright Immense East fashioned season champions for the main time in program historical past, No. 6 Marquette closes out its fashioned season web web hosting St. John’s at 2 p.m. ET. Sport three on the day comes from Philadelphia as FOX Primetime Hoops brings the renewal of a ancient convention competition as No. 14 UConn visits Villanova in a showdown of crimson-sizzling teams. 

Right here’s what to are expecting within the matchups on the main Saturday of March.

Seton Hall at No. 20 Providence – Noon ET on FOX – Amica Mutual Pavilion

The Friars like more at stake in this one, entering the sport at 13-6 within the convention standings and in a tie with Creighton for third position. While Providence clinches the No. 3 seed within the Immense East Tournament with a take, it does endure noting that it might maybe likely likely e book a date with Villanova, who’s gained six of its closing seven games! Some more or much less reward, huh?

By the same token, Providence is in an 8-9 sport in Mike Decourcy’s fresh bracket forecast, and if the Friars are going to determine a approach out of that unlikable living within the NCAA Tournament, beating a Seton Hall physique of workers in a quad 3 residence sport is indubitably a must, then potentially getting a quality lead to the convention tournament.

Meanwhile for the Pirates, or now not it is been a tough first season at the helm for Shaheen Holloway. Seton Hall is 1-5 in its closing six and level guard Kadary Richmond has a assist hurt. His put is listed as day-to-day.

These two teams met of their convention opener, with the Friars winning at the Prudential Center assist in December, 71-67. The principle to that sport? Kentucky switch Bryce Hopkins took over the sport with 24 facets and 10 rebounds, while Ed Croswell went for 21-and-9. Seton Hall has to earn a considerable performance from senior middle Tyrese Samuel within the put up to love an opportunity in this sport, while lockdown defender KC Ndefo will see to flip the script on Hopkins. The Friars are taking a see to answer from a 94-89 residence loss to Xavier, magnificent their second defeat suffered at Amica Mutual Pavilion within the closing 38 games.

St. John’s at No. 6 Marquette – 2 p.m. ET on FOX – Fiserv Dialogue board

Before the entirety, let’s mediate on the Golden Eagles. They’re 24-6 on the season and 16-3 within the Immense East after getting chosen ninth by the coaches within the convention preseason poll and never having a single participant on the preseason all-convention teams. Shaka Excellent deserves foremost nationwide coach of the year consideration with what he’s executed with this physique of workers. Marquette did now not make stronger dramatically within the offseason with some switch portal splash or 5-considerable particular person freshman. They really lost Justin Lewis to the pro ranks, a travel that straight away became really appropriate one which would maybe likely likely lead to the Golden Eagles taking a foremost step assist this year.

[Shaka Smart and Marquette: The perfect fit at the perfect time]

As a replacement, Marquette has made historical past. At No. 6 within the AP High 25, the Golden Eagles like their top ranking since Al McGuire became patrolling the sidelines within the 1977-78 advertising and marketing and marketing campaign. With a take on Saturday, the Golden Eagles might likely likely be half of the 2011-12 Syracuse physique of workers because the glorious a form of squad in Immense East historical past to take 17 Immense East games in a season.

What’s the motive within the assist of all of this success?

It starts with Tyler Kolek, who’s deserving of Immense East participant of the year. In his closing 12 games, the junior is averaging 17.9 facets, 7.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds per contest while shooting 52% from the bottom. With Kam Jones (15.0 facets per sport on 47% from topic) alongside him within the backcourt, Marquette has indubitably one of the most glorious guard duos within the country.

While the Golden Eagles like been the largest surprise within the Immense East, St. John’s has been the largest disappointment. After starting the season 11-1, the Crimson Storm like long gone 6-12 since and are heading against a fourth straight season missing the NCAA Tournament with Mike Anderson on the sideline. That leaves some decision-making forward for St. John’s administration as soon as the season concludes. If there is a vibrant living for the Crimson Storm, or now not it is the nationwide leader in double-doubles, Joel Soriano, who has totaled 22 on the year.

No. 14 UConn at Villanova – 7:30 p.m. ET – Wells Fargo Center

Right here’s a extremely engaging matchup for various causes. The Huskies like gained seven of their closing eight games. The Wildcats like gained six of their closing seven. Connecticut is an NCAA Tournament lock and on tempo for a high-four seed within the stout dance. They’re all but formally locked into the 4-5 sport within the Immense East Tournament. Villanova is on the exterior taking a see in after a 10-13 commence to the year, but getting senior Justin Moore assist from an Achilles hurt has modified the entirety. The Wildcats are the No. 6 seed within the convention tournament.

[Is Villanova peaking at the right time? ‘The fabric of our program is to fight’]

Dan Hurley’s crew became indubitably one of the most largest tales of the main two months of the season, starting 14-0 and reaching the No. 2 ranking in The united states. After a tricky stretch all thru convention play, UConn has carried out severely better within the closing month and a avenue take to discontinuance Villanova’s sizzling chase would fully validate the entirety that’s been going on for this physique of workers. The Huskies took the main assembly over the Wildcats assist in December, 74-66, with Jordan Hawkins leading the approach with 22 facets while Alex Karaban poured in 15.

Villanova has to dangle the put Hawkins is in any respect times, for the explanation that sophomore can trade a sport with his perimeter shooting. He is scored 20-or-more-facets in eight of the closing 12 games. Down low, Adama Sanogo is a handful. Over his closing three games, the junior is averaging 20.0 facets and 6.3 rebounds per contest.

Meanwhile for the Wildcats, Moore’s presence can’t be overstated. He is averaged 18 facets per sport over the closing 5, providing one of these chilled presence for Villanova that Kyle Neptune has been in such monumental need of in his first season. As strong as Sanogo is for UConn, Eric Dixon has given the Huskies nightmares all thru his occupation, going for 18-and-8 earlier this year and leading the Wildcats past UConn in Philadelphia closing season with 24-and-12. Dixon has totaled 49 facets over the closing two games.

An underlying key: Can UConn rattle Villanova defensively? The Wildcats are in general so efficient and effective, as even with a level guard disaster this season, they corrupt within the live-20 for fewest turnovers at 10.3 per sport. This might maybe likely likely also composed be an actual strive in opposition to, and with it coming one week exactly from the Immense East Tournament Closing from MSG on FOX, never enlighten never on it being a most likely title sport preview.

John Fanta is a nationwide college basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the sport in a diversity of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Subject of 68 Media Network. Put collectively him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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