DePaul (15-14) vs. St. John’s (20-11)
NCAA Basketball: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 9:30 pm (Madison Square Garden)
Line and Odds: St. John’s -5 — Over/Under: 154.5
Free NCAA BB Pick St. John’s vs. DePaul
The 7th-seeded St. John’s Red Storm and the 10th-seeded DePaul Blue Demons do battle in the Big East Tournament’s first round, with the winner advancing to face Marquette in the quarterfinals.
St. John’s is an inconsistent squad that depends heavily on the performance of their star junior guard Shamorie Ponds. Ponds certainly has a case to be considered the best player in the Big East, as he is third in the conference in scoring, second in assists and first in steals. The play of Ponds, an NBA-caliber talent, could determine how far the Red Storm advance in the Big East Tournament. It has been a tale of two seasons for St. John’s, who started the year 12-0 but have slid to an underwhelming 8-10 record in conference play. The Red Storm have lost any momentum from their stellar start, dropping four of their last five games. During those four losses, Ponds averaged 16.3 PPG, 3.5 less than his season average. St. John’s has also been swept by DePaul, a perennial Big East bottom-dweller. One thing the Red Storm do have going for them is their ability to force turnovers – they pick up a Big East leading 8.81 steals per game. In order for St. John’s to defeat the Blue Demons and go on a Big East Tournament run, they will likely need dominant play from Ponds and help from their capable defense.
DePaul had not finished above 7th place in the conference standings in their first five seasons in the new Big East, and this year was no different, with the Blue Demons ending up tied for last with Providence and Butler. DePaul is annually among the worst major conference teams in the nation, as they have not made the NCAA Tournament since 2004. This season, however, the Blue Demons have improved, earning 15 wins, their highest total in the past 12 years. Despite finishing last place in the Big East, DePaul was competitive, with victories over Georgetown and Xavier as well as season sweeps of St. John’s and Seton Hall. Sophomore forward Paul Reed, who leads the Big East with 8.2 rebounds per game, and senior guard Max Strus, who is fourth in the league with 19.0 PPG, are the key players for the Blue Demons. DePaul enters postseason play much hotter than St. John’s, as the Blue Demons have won two of three including an emphatic 32-point blowout over Georgetown. Could this be the year that DePaul finally breaks through into the upper tier of the Big East with a tournament run?
Cover the Spread 365 NCAA BB Betting Trends:
- 2-5 ATS in last 7 games
- 5-0 ATS in last 5 games against St. John’s
- The over is 5-2 in DePaul’s last 7 games
- 1-4 ATS in last 5 games
- 14-6 SU in last 20 games against DePaul
- The over is 7-2 in St. John’s’ last 9 games against DePaul
Free NCAA BB Prediction DePaul vs. St. John’s
While DePaul did go 2-0 against St. John’s in the regular season, the circumstances of those games must be considered. In the teams’ first matchup, a DePaul road win, Shamorie Ponds did not play. In their second game, Max Strus put up a career-high 43 points, a feat he is highly unlikely to duplicate. DePaul’s poor postseason history also indicates that it is ill-equipped for a Big East Tournament run. And, as the old adage goes, it is very difficult to beat a team three times. Although I expect this game to be a close contest between two longtime Big East rivals, the Red Storm will pull away late thanks to the efforts of a healthy Ponds. Because of this, I will take St. John’s at -5. The offensive firepower of both squads and the potential for a physical game with many fouls also make the over a solid bet.
St. John’s -5