Butler and St. John’s tip off the Big East Tournament on Wednesday afternoon in a rubber match from their regular season series.
St. John’s blew out Butler at home in mid-January, but then struggled a month later at Butler, losing by two as small home underdogs. However, the Red Storm are close to home at Madison Square Garden and are a considerable favorite in the Big East tournament opener.
Here are the odds and our betting breakdown:
Butler vs. St. John’s odds, spread and total
Butler vs. St. John’s prediction and pick
This is a battle of contrasting styles as St. John’s is the fastest team in the country, per KenPom, while Butler is bottom 100 in that metric and the second slowest in conference play.
While Butler won by two at home, I think this is a matchup nightmare for them against a St. John’s team that puts pressure on the rim, top 10 in Haslametrics average shot proximity metric, and the Bulldogs struggle to stop penetration, bottom half nationally in defending the rim.
Further, the Johnnies fast tempo at a semi-home court venue is going to make life difficult for the Bulldogs to keep up considering they are last in Big East effective field goal percentage and offensive rebounding rate.
The Bulldogs have fallen off in conference play under first year head coach Thad Matta, and I think they are primed for an early exit from the Big East tournament. While St. John’s has had an up-and-down season and isn’t part of the NCAA Tournament discussion, this is a team that led by five on the road in the final three minutes and change against Butler before falling apart down the stretch.
I think they take the rubber match and win with margin to cover the spread.
PICK: St. John’s -5.5
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.