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Submitted by Wayne Allyn Root on Friday, January 29, 2016 at 12:57 PM

Wayne Root: Getting Caught Up in the Big East

Since we don't have any football to talk about this weekend, this seems like the perfect time to "return" to my old stomping grounds and talk about Big East basketball. My feet are always firmly planted here in Las Vegas. I still have great sources back East that tell me everything I need to know to pick winners!

Though not as prominent as it used to be in the national mindset, the league is very likely to play a prominent role come Dance time...

*Villanova could easily be a #1 seed (and go the distance!)
*Xavier will probably be seeded to reach the Sweet 16
*Creighton, Butler, Seton Hall, Providence, and Georgetown have a great chance to earn bids and do some damage.

I've talked a lot about the Pac 12 this season. The Big East is similar in that one team is seen as being clear of the field in most computer ratings (Villanova here, Arizona in the P12), while several others are Dance quality. You probably heard that up to eight teams might make the NCAA's from the Pac 12. We're looking at a solid six right now in the Big East, with Georgetown having plenty of time to make its case from the bubble.

There are only 10 teams in the Big East after realignment. You can basically throw out St. John's and DePaul right now as teams worth paying attention to. St. John's is horrible under new head coach Chris Mullin. They may go the whole Big East schedule without being favored a single time. DePaul is better than St. John's but nobody else. Marquette is having a down year by past standards, and can only hope to play spoiler from this point forward against teams who get worn down by all the tough games!

That leaves the seven I just mentioned at the top...who obviously are going to keep running into each other a lot in the coming weeks. Coming up soon...

SATURDAY
Seton Hall at Creighton
#10 Providence at Georgetown

TUESDAY
Georgetown at Butler

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 6
#6 Villanova at #10 Providence (revenge game for Villanova's only loss!)
Georgetown at Seton Hall

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 9
#7 Xavier at Creighton

That's an easy enough meal for you to eat if you're just now getting up to speed in college basketball. The conference schedule is really going to be back-loaded. The game everyone's waiting for is the Villanova/Xavier rematch, which won't happen until February 24.

I know many of you have been focused intently on football through the college bowls and NFL Playoffs. You're just now thinking about betting college basketball as you start to gear up for the stretch run and March Madness. Here are quick thumb-nail sketches of what you need to know about the seven teams who matter most in the Big East...

*Villanova: extremely slow-paced this year...one of the slowest paced teams of all the majors. That's allowed them to be efficient on both offense and defense, and will keep them from wearing themselves down between now and March. And, this slow pace will have them well-prepared for tournament-style basketball.

*Xavier: fast-paced team that's balanced on both sides of the floor. Definitely top 25 caliber, and a real threat in March if they don't lose their legs. They've covered 65% of their games so far because the market was slow to notice their sustained quality.

*Creighton: fast-paced like Xavier, but not quite as good on either end. Defense will be an issue once they're playing top teams in big games. You can hide a soft defense vs. poor opposition. By Dance standards, this team will again be vulnerable (which is almost always true for the program). Also like Xavier, Creighton is 13-7 against the spread so far this season. The Blue Jays are 13-6 to the Over because of that soft defense.

*Seton Hall: also fast-paced...maybe part of why Villanova is doing so well is that they can take top threats out of their comfort zone! Seton Hall has been a great value team this year because the market wouldn't take them seriously. A 13-6 record ATS is the best in the Big East. Though, they might be one of those teams that's better to bet for value than to ask to go deep in a tournament. Defense is decent, which gives them a fighting chance.

*Butler: to some degree, the program is still living off the respect they earned with their prior head coach. They're not quite as smart and dangerous as they used to be. And, they tend to get very soft inside defensively because they don't want to get into foul trouble. That's a big part of why they're only 8-11 against the spread.

*Providence: the computers don't like them as much as the pollsters do. Offense has been a problem, as this team will try to win with defense. They have a top 20 defense if you adjust for pace and strength of schedule. A nice 60% record this year ATS. You can see why the Big East should be on the radar come tourney time! Oddsmakers are chasing several developments.

*Georgetown: slow, mediocre...but tough. Lacking a clear strength could be an issue down the stretch because they can't really hurt anybody without catching a few breaks. Tough to "hope" the other team has an off-day when you're playing them.

I will certainly be looking at the Big East closely this weekend for a possible major release. But, the national schedule is huge...and my clients only get the very best options. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS every day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS.

You may have been dragging your heels in the baskets. I've been up to speed since the opening tip-off. Let me do all the handicapping work while you make the money. It's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!