Butler vs. Villanova
Despite coming off their first Big East Tournament win, sixth seeded Butler finished their next game with a 87-68 loss to second seeded Villanova.
The Wildcats opened up the game with a 19-0 run. The first half concluded with Villanova leading 44-25.
The beginning of the second half was probably the most competitive moment from the Bulldogs. They opened up the second half by making four of its first five shots. In the end, the Wildcats proved to be the better team. They held Butler to 35 percent shooting from the three-point line.
Senior forward Kelan Martin led Butler with 13 points. Sophomore guard Kamar Baldwin finished with 12 points.
Junior guard Mikal Bridges led Villanova with 18 points. Freshman forward Omari Spellman delivered a double-double, scoring 12 points with 12 rebounds.
After this game, Butler will probably be in the NCAA tournament field. They will learn their opponent and location on Selection Sunday. The same applies for Villanova. However, before that happens, Villanova will meet Providence (Big East No. 5 seed) in the Big East Championship game on March 10.
Providence vs. Xavier
Providence pulled off a 75-72 upset against the Big East’s top seed Xavier.
The game was one-sided as Xavier dominated, leading 43-29 going into halftime.
Consistent with the Big East regular season, the Friars pulled off a huge comeback. They overcame a 17-point second-half deficit and sent the game into overtime.
The Friars had a 73-70 lead in the opening minutes of overtime. However, the Musketeers didn’t go down without a fight. Trevon Bluiett’s two free throws cut the margin to one point and put more pressure on the Friars.
The Friars missed a layup on the next possession and gave Xavier the ball with 12 seconds left. The Musketeers tried rush the ball and get a quick bucket. However, the Friars were able to draw an offensive foul call when J.P. Macura drove to the basket.
After the charge call, Alpha Diallo was able to hit two free throws with six seconds left. Unfortunately for Xavier fans, Xavier didn’t get a shot off before the time ran out.
Senior forward Rodney Bullock and sophomore guard Alpha Diallo led Providence in scoring with 17 points apiece.
Senior forward Kerem Kanter led Xavier in scoring with 18 points. Freshman guard Paul Scruggs added 15 off the bench.
After this game, both teams are expected to make it into the NCAA Tournament field. Xavier was expected to fall off from being a one seed after their loss, however, Xavier climbed back up after Duke’s loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament.
Providence takes on second-seeded Villanova in the Big East Championship game on March 10.