Marquette vs UConn Odds, Picks: Perfect Spot for Huskies to Roll?
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Adama Sanogo (UConn)
Marquette vs. UConn Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Two teams in opposite situations meet on Tuesday night as No. 14 Connecticut welcomes No. 24 Marquette to the XL Center looking to avenge its loss to the Golden Eagles nearly a month ago.
UConn has won two straight, but sits just barely above .500 at 7-6 in the Big East. The Huskies are looking for their second marquee conference win against Marquette, which has won 10 of its last 11.
Can Shaka Smart and the youthful Golden Eagles continue to thrive atop the Big East, or will the Huskies’ length be too disruptive en route to a home win?
Marquette continues to defy odds and dominate behind one of the most efficient offenses in the country. Smart may have his best team yet, as the Golden Eagles are 19-5 and have lost just once since the calendar turned over.
While not an extremely deep team, Marquette loves to push transition. It’s second in the country in eFG% and it finishes at the rim on 42% of all shots.
Well-balanced is a perfect word to describe Smart’s offense. Marquette loves to operate in the pick-and-roll, forcing opponents to switch as the Golden Eagles find their favorite mismatch on the floor.
Even with its preference of running-and-gunning, ShotQuality has Marquette as the third-best team out of the half-court on a PPP basis.
Where Marquette is best is inside the paint, but it’s not shy around the perimeter. The Golden Eagles shoot a 3 on 41.6% of field goals and sit just outside the top 100 in 3pt%.
Led by Tyler Kolek, this is an offense that is unselfish. But it rarely draws fouls. Most of the offense comes through passing, screening and playmaking from Kolek and Kam Jones. Kolek ranks fourth in the country in assist rate.
Aside from off-the-dribble 3s, there’s not an area on the offensive end where Marquette struggles, per ShotQuality. It’s top-10 in the PnR, sixth on finishes at the rim and second in isolation.
Despite its youth — 301st in experience — this is a talented roster. Oso Ighodaro ranks 10th in eFG% in the entire country and even Jones and Olivier-Maxence Prosper sit inside the top 100.
But as good as the offense as been for Marquette, its defense has questionable at best. The Golden Eagles force turnovers at a top-20 rate, but they give up plenty of second-chance opportunities and sit outside the top 200 in both 3-point and 2-point defense.
For as good as Marquette is offensively in the PnR, it’s outside the top 300 on defense in that area, per ShotQuality.
The Golden Eagles have glaring defensive issues that teams have been unable to take full advantage of. We saw Villanova completely collapse late in what was a back and forth game, and even Butler stayed within striking distance after a slow start.
Versatile offenses that space the floor well and have great ball movement should have no issue taking down Marquette. The Golden Eagles are 329th defending cutters, 277th in isolation and 245th on finishes at the rim.
After a blistering 14-0 start to the season — featuring consistent blowout wins and hot perimeter shooting — Connecticut fell back down to earth. The Huskies are 4-6 since and have just one Big East win against a team ranked inside KenPom’s top 65 (Creighton).
But this is the perfect time to buy low on Dan Hurley’s squad.
The Huskies didn’t return a lot of players and the mid-season struggles were necessary and expected. This is still one of the best teams in one of the toughest conferences this season.
Adama Sanogo has taken yet another step forward in his junior season, as he leads the Huskies in points (17.2) and rebounds (7.2). He takes 30% of shots while on the floor and is extremely efficient (63.9 TS%).
He commands such attention in the post, and it can often lead to open 3s for the Huskies’ shooters.
UConn’s offense is constantly moving off screens and through cuts, which helps space the floor and spread opposing defenses thin. That also helps towards this 3-point happy squad that shoots from the perimeter on 42.1% of shots.
Jordan Hawkins has taken a gigantic sophomore year leap and is shooting nearly 40% on 3s, while Alex Karaban (38.4%) and Joey Calcaterra (42.9%) have provided steady help on the side.
Even Sanogo (40.6%) has shown the ability to stretch the floor.
Connecticut ranks inside the top 25 in both catch-and-shoot 3s and out of the mid-range. The Huskies aren’t an efficient transition team, per ShotQuality, rather they are best out of the half-court.
The money maker for this Connecticut offense, though, is its length and ability to dominate the glass. The Huskies are 10th in offense rebounding, and their starting lineup features no player under 6-foot-5.
That length is a positive in the defensive department, too. UConn gives up 3s at the seventh-lowest rate in college basketball and often force opponents into isolation to create scoring opportunities.
From a points per possession basis, ShotQuality ranks Connecticut inside the top-30 in half-court defense, transition defense, on defending finishes at the rim and defensive rebounding.
The two areas opponents have attacked — and found success — has been in the mid-range and out of the post.
The extension of defensive pressure on the perimeter often forces the offense into that middle area. Push too hard and either Sanogo or 7-foot-2 Donovan Clingan awaits near the rim.
Foul trouble has been an issue for this Huskies team, too. They’re 340th in FTA/FGA and opponents score nearly 25% of all points at the charity stripe.
Defensive pressure can often lead to over-aggression, but if they can clean it up just a bit on that end, this is one of the most disruptive defenses in the country.
Marquette vs. UConn Betting Pick
This is a spot that I’ve had circled over the last week. Marquette has been riding a red-hot streak that is unsustainable, while Connecticut has had a rollercoaster January.
The Golden Eagles haven’t played their best basketball over the last couple of weeks, but it’s come against the bottom feeders of the Big East.
DePaul trailed by just three at half before being blown out of the water in the second, and Villanova had one of the worst offensive collapses at the tail end of last Wednesday’s bout.
Even Butler remained in striking distance and kept pace with Marquette over the final 30 minutes after a slow start.
UConn’s offense should have no issues on Tuesday night. Its off-screen movement should pose as an issue for Marquette, and the Huskies should be able to find success on the interior once again.
The Golden Eagles had no answer for the size of 7-foot-2 Clingan last time out, and the same should ring true here.
The difference maker in that first matchup was UConn’s inability to score from the perimeter. Despite its success — 24th in efficiency, per ShotQuality — and Marquette’s struggles, the Huskies were just 6-of-22 from 3.
Meanwhile, on the opposite end, there’s no easy way to break down this Huskies defense. Marquette loves to run-and-gun and attack inside, but the length of UConn should cause plenty of issues.
In their last matchup, the Huskies blocked 11 total shots.
Last time, Marquette was able to eke by on its home floor. Now it hits the road in what sets up to be a raucous environment against a dominant team hungry for revenge.
Feed me the Huskies in a perfect spot to roll.
Pick: UConn -3.5 (Play to -4.5)
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