Central Michigan vs. Marquette Odds, Picks: College Basketball Betting Preview for Thursday
Pictured: Oso Ighodaro. (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Central Michigan vs. Marquette Odds
Marquette opened its season with a dicey 10-point victory over Radford. Shaka Smart hopes to build on his 19-13 record and middle-of-the-pack Big East finish in his second year with the Golden Eagles.
Seven wins was not what head coach Tony Barbee was hoping for in his inaugural season as the head coach of Central Michigan. But the group showed heart down to the final game, and the results reflected that.
The Chippewas opened the season 1-10 in non-conference play, losing by an average of 18 points. Though the young group only finished 6-12 in MAC play, the Chipps were only outscored by an average of six points per game, including four one-possession losses.
Can Central Michigan improve its track record against power-conference foes?
Central Michigan Chippewas
Central Michigan ended last season as the 318th-ranked team in the nation, according to KenPom. That’s the worst finish in program history, topping the 2006 roster that finished 300th.
But Barbee brings back its leading scorer from last season in Kevin Miller. In Miller’s freshman season, he put up 13 points, 3.4 rebounds and led the team with 4.6 assists per game.
He scored in double digits in 14 of his final 16 games, and is poised to improve on those numbers in his sophomore campaign.
In addition, the group brings back 6-foot-6 guard Brian Taylor. The senior averaged 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season.
But the Chippewas suffered massive losses in the offseason, including losing five players who averaged double digits in scoring last season. Those losses will mostly hurt on the boards, as four of the five leading rebounders departed.
The Chippewas do bring back three forwards in Nicolas Pavrette, Caleb Hodgson and Miroslav Stafl, who are all listed at 6-foot-10 or taller.
However, none of the three saw the court for more than 12 minutes a game last season.
Max Majerle is a new face to the program, following in his father's (Dan Majerle) footsteps.
Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette opened its season with a 10-point victory over Radford. The group led by 21 points with only six minutes remaining before hitting a five-minute scoring drought that led to a 14-0 Radford run.
The defense was strong as you’d expect from a Smart-led program. The group held Radford to 0.86 points per possession in the matchup and only 20% from beyond the arc.
It also doesn’t hurt that Radford’s offense ranked 309th in Offensive Efficiency last season.
But the Marquette offense wasn’t great, despite scoring 79 points. The Golden Eagles shot just 26% on 19 attempts from beyond the arc. The group shot 45% from the field and coughed the ball up 18 times.
Smart will need to clean up the offense, but the defense looks to be dialed in.
Sophomore forward Oso Ighodaro was locked in and scored 19 points while hitting 9-of-12 attempts from the field. Those numbers could have been even higher, but he fouled out after 25 minutes of play. Three other Golden Eagles scored in double digits.
Central Michigan vs. Marquette Betting Pick
Central Michigan has a long way to go before it's competitive again. The group finished last year ranked outside the top 300 in efficiency on both ends of the floor.
Now, it replaces four of its five leading scorers. The Chippewas did return Miller, but he can only do so much. It’s going to take some time for him to gel with all the new pieces around him.
Meanwhile, Marquette got a nice advantage in playing its first game on Monday against Radford. Four players scored in double-digits and Ighodaro was tough to stop on the inside.
Smart's defense is going to make life tough for the Chippewas, who turned the ball over on 20% of their offensive possessions last season.
I expect history to repeat itself with Central Michigan getting blown out in non-conference play.