St. John’s begins Big East Tournament play Wednesday vs. Georgetown in the opening round at the Garden (7 p.m., FS1) A profitable season for backers is likely coming to an end soon.
First, the good news from a market perspective. St. John’s is virtually certain to finish the 2019-20 campaign with a winning record against the point spread. Mike Anderson’s team has beaten expectations to the tune of 17-12-2 against the number. Highlights included outright upsets of Arizona, West Virginia, Creighton and Marquette.
Unfortunately, the outlook for going deep in the Big East Tournament is relatively bleak.
- Even if St. John’s beats Georgetown on Wednesday, it immediately runs into revenge-minded No. 1 seed Creighton on Thursday. You probably watched the Red Storm shoot lights out in a 91-71 blowout that got the Blue Jays’ attention. Creighton will be ready (but without star guard Marcus Zegarowski, who’s out after injuring his right knee late in Saturday’s blowout of Seton Hall).
- St. John’s plays at a very fast pace, ranked 20th by stat analysis posted by Ken Pomeroy (kenpom.com) in adjusted tempo. Winning four games in four days is tough enough without running yourself ragged in the process.
- Extremely inconsistent shooting can lead to occasional upsets when hot, but comes back to bite soon after. St. John’s longest straight up winning streak in Big East play this year was one. Immediately after a conference win, they went 0-4 straight up, 1-3 ATS.
Pomeroy’s methodology only gives the Red Storm a 2 percent chance of winning the tourney. As he tweeted this past weekend (@kenpomeroy): Creighton 23.8 percent, Villanova 19.9 percent, Seton Hall 16.2 percent, Butler 14.4 percent, Marquette 10.1 percent, Providence 7.3 percent, Xavier 4 percent, St. John’s 2.3 percent, Georgetown 1.5 percent, DePaul 0.4 percent.
Seton Hall, part of a regular-season tri-championship with Creighton and Villanova, is obviously on the shortlist of likely winners. The Pirates begin play Thursday vs. sixth-seed Marquette.
Also a moneymaker for bettors, the Hall finished the regular season right at 60 percent ATS, 18-12 vs. the spread. Though, the Pirates limped to a 2-5 finish soon after a stellar 14-4 start. (Seton Hall’s games aren’t on the board in New Jersey by law, but they can be bet in other nearby legal jurisdictions.)
As VSiN discussed recently, Big East opponents seemed able to make adjustments in second looks. The Pirates went 7-2 ATS in first looks, but 3-6 ATS in rematches. All Big East Tourney games would be third looks.
Here are VSiN’s estimated “market” power ratings heading into the event. Based on late-season point spreads, they can be used to estimate any potential head-to-head matchup. Feel free to update based on game-day lines through the week:
Seton Hall 84, Creighton 84, Villanova 84, Marquette 82, Butler 81, Providence 81, Xavier 80, St. John’s 76, DePaul 74, Georgetown 74. Historically, St. John’s gets little or no credit for home-court advantage in this tournament.