College Basketball Odds & Picks for Butler vs. Marquette: Golden Eagles’ Get-Right Game
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Lewis (Marquette)
- Marquette hosts Butler in a Big East duel Saturday afternoon.
- The Golden Eagles have lost three of their last four games while the Bulldogs have lost three straight.
- Which team should you back? Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave breaks it down.
Butler vs. Marquette Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Marquette has encountered some bumps in the road after seven straight wins on easy street. The Golden Eagles are just 2-3 straight up their last five games, and 0-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last four. A 6-seed, per Bracketmatrix, the Golden Eagles are in danger of slipping further down the field of 68 S-curve.
Butler has been trending in the opposite direction. Though they’ve lost three straight, the Bulldogs have been much more competitive lately, covering five of their last six games.
Butler beat Marquette at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Feb. 12. The final six-point margin isn’t indicative of the true dominance Butler exerted, particularly in the first half.
The Bulldogs led 40-19(!) 16 minutes into the contest before the Golden Eagles stormed back and made it close.
In that game, Butler couldn’t miss. The Dogs hit 13-of-28 (46.4%) from deep, a stark departure from their 31.1% season average (298th in the country). Marquette had no issue putting up points of its own — rattling in 1.14 points per possession (PPP) — but Butler simply outscored it with a superior 1.23 PPP.
One of the keys for Butler in that game — and in this one, as well — was ball handling, particularly against Marquette’s full-court press. You can pick out a ton of weaknesses on Butler’s squad this season, but ball handling isn’t one of them.
Led by Chuck Harris and Aaron Thompson, the Bulldogs have multiple ball handlers capable of breaking the intimidating Marquette press. Perhaps on the road that changes, but the Bulldogs have fared well thus far in road battles, going 7-3 ATS.
Controlling the pace will be another key in Saturday’s game. Butler and Marquette are at the opposite ends of the tempo spectrum. The Dogs check in as the nation’s 340th-fastest team (346th on offense) while the Golden Eagles are the nation’s 41st-fastest squad (fifth on offense).
Butler won the pace battle in game one, holding the contest to just 69 possessions. But look for Marquette to have the edge in Milwaukee. The Golden Eagles want a track meet, and Butler ranks just 285th in FGA rate allowed in transition, per Hoop-Math.
Marquette needs to use its significant athleticism advantage to its, well, advantage.
Butler has zero answer for Golden Eagles star Justin Lewis, a strong 6-foot-7 forward who can play the 3 or 4, post-up and shoot the 3. Butler forward Bryce Nze can’t stick with him on the perimeter, and wing Bo Hodges is too small to battle with him on the block.
Lewis had 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting in game one, and he should have no trouble repeating that performance on Saturday.
Speaking of Nze and Hodges, Marquette needs to keep them off of the offensive glass. Butler gets countless second chances on its offensive end thanks to Nze and Hodges’ junkyard dog-like work ethic.
Marquette has all the tools to handle them on the boards, though, it just needs to put forth the effort.
Offensively, Marquette should shred Butler’s defense again. The Golden Eagles boast the Big East’s second-best offense, fueled by the top 3P% in the conference.
Every player on the floor — outside of a paint roaming 5-man — can shoot and score, making them very difficult to stop, especially for the second-worst Big East defense.
Butler’s offensive performance from the first meeting is not repeatable. You have to go all the way back to Nov. 24 — when Butler played Chaminade in the “Maui” Invitational — to find a better Bulldogs offensive performance than Feb. 12 against Marquette.
They will not shoot 46% from deep again.
Marquette has too many excellent on-ball defenders for Butler to find success in its pick-n-roll heavy half-court attack. Thompson is a non-threat to shoot off of screens, and Harris’ size means former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Darryl Morsell or even Tyler Kolek — a good defender in his own right — can bottle him up off screens.
I’d be surprised to see Butler score much more than 1.00 PPP on Saturday.
Butler vs. Marquette Betting Pick
This is a get-right game for Marquette.
This is a chance to show it belongs in the upper half of the Big East standings and as a top-6 seed in March.