Marquette vs. Ole Miss College Basketball Odds & Picks: Golden Eagles to Ride Momentum From Upset Win
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Shaka Smart
Marquette vs. Ole Miss Odds
-110o / -110u
|Ole Miss Odds|
-110o / -110u
It’s tourney time! Multi-team events (MTEs) kick off this week, with one of the most prominent of those being the Charleston Classic.
Taking place on the campus of the College of Charleston (go figure), this event often features a solid “undercard” type of field compared to the Battle 4 Atlantis or Maui Invitational. That is once again the case this year, with an assortment of evenly matched competitors vying for the title.
One of the most intriguing opening-round matchups features Marquette and Ole Miss on Thursday.
Marquette is the one earning all the headlines following a nationally-televised upset of top-five Illinois. New boss Shaka Smart has reignited the fanbase with his passionate approach, and he could further legitimize his tenure with a run in South Carolina.
Mississippi, though, is actually favored here. The Rebels are laughably untested to this point, having crushed two hapless foes in New Orleans and Charleston Southern, leaving questions open about their true ceiling.
Smart has gone back to his successful VCU roots. That means playing at a blinding tempo offensively (third nationally in average possession length) and pressuring like crazy on defense.
Against a team with major ball control question marks, the Golden Eagles could feast. Heck, Illinois’ Andre Curbelo is viewed as one of the nation’s best point guards and Marquette tortured him into seven turnovers. Illinois had 26 altogether.
Of course, the Golden Eagles were fueled by a raucous crowd at Fiserv Forum. Without that same electricity in the air, the defensive intensity could wax and wane. Considering the Golden Eagles’ issues scoring in the half court, they need turnovers to fuel fast breaks.
The offensive weaponry is limited here. Darryl Morsell is a defensive monster, but his current 22.7 points per game average is fueled by unsustainable 3-point shooting and feels like an aberration.
Tyler Kolek and Justin Lewis are serviceable options, but neither has truly emerged as an efficient weapon capable of commanding added defensive attention. Against Mississippi’s menagerie of tricky zones, Marquette will need a by-committee effort offensively.
Kermit Davis’ crew boasts a bevy of well-regarded talents, most notably former top-50 prospects Matthew Murrell and Jaemyn Brakefield. Along with Cal St. Bakersfield transfer Jarkel Joiner and versatile forward Luis Rodriguez, they give Davis a versatile core with multiple lineup options.
True size comes from Miami FL/Cincinnati import Nysier Brooks, a seven-foot mountain who rules the paint with an iron fist. Robert Allen and Sammy Hunter provide quality depth inside, as well.
Brakefield and Murrell may not be the most talented pieces here, though. A third recruiting gem, point guard Daeshun Ruffin, is out with a fractured wrist, and that’s where the Rebels’ problems begin.
Ruffin is the only true point guard on the roster, and the Rebels sorely lack ball-handling across the roster. Austin Crowley and Rodriguez have morphed into “point wings,” but that may not hold up against Marquette’s feisty defense.
Marquette vs. Ole Miss Betting Pick
Marquette was poor as a big favorite in its first two games, failing to cover by an average of 8.5 points per game. As an underdog, though, this team has the makeup to be competitive — and annoying.
The Golden Eagles play incredibly hard for Smart and they have a plethora of quality individual defenders. They should continue to be a pain in the behind as a dog.
Considering Mississippi’s lack of ball-handling and that this is the Rebels’ first test, I like the Golden Eagles at +3.5 here. Losing that hook would be a bummer, but I would take this one to +2.