Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Providence Friars Betting Preview
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Darryl Morsell.
- Two Big East powers meet as Providence hosts Marquette on Sunday afternoon.
- Both the Friars and Golden Eagles could have slow starts playing in front of a subdued crowd in a game that was delayed a day due to a snow storm.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the game and gives his top pick.
Marquette vs. Providence Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The two biggest surprises in the Big East this year have been Marquette and Providence, both of which themselves at or near the top of the league standings. Both were predicted to finish in the bottom half of the Big East, but both find themselves in position to win the regular-season title as conference play nears the halfway point.
Marquette has three league defeats but has won seven consecutive games, including victories against Seton Hall twice, Providence and Xavier at home, and Villanova on the road. The Golden Eagles have leaped from outside the KenPom top 80 up into almost the top 30.
Providence has been quite a bit fortunate this season to catch Connecticut and Seton Hall shorthanded when the Friars beat them, but Providence also won at Xavier on Wednesday night without guard AJ Reeves. The Friars rank No. 1 in luck per KenPom and have won a lot of close games, but at some point the Friars’ resumé, which includes wins against Texas Tech and Wisconsin (without Johnny Davis), should be respected.
With that being said, both of these teams come into the game running very hot offensively and have some regression coming. There are some favorable defensive matchups in this game that point toward points being tough to come by.
Marquette has run the Big East gauntlet lately, and you have to be worried about a potential fatigue and let-down spot here at Providence. Although the Friars are top of the conference right now, Marquette has beaten three of the preseason favorites in four consecutive games now. Two of those games came down to the wire, and Sunday will be the third road game in four for them after beating Villanova last week and Seton Hall on Wednesday.
The Golden Eagles offense has pretty extreme splits when it comes to getting good looks in transition vs. getting good looks in the halfcourt. Marquette ranks 248th in halfcourt SQ, but is top 100 in transition. Providence plays at a pretty slow pace relative to its recent opponents like Seton Hall and Xavier, so don’t be surprised if Providence tries to slow this game to a crawl to prevent Marquette from turning them over.
Marquette dominated the first meeting, but it wasn’t that the Friars couldn’t handle the ball pressure. Providence is an experienced team — one of the most experienced in the country — and it only turned it over 14 times in that game. Marquette won going away because of excellent three-point shooting that day. The Golden Eagles offense is still outside the top 100 in open three rate, so unless they shoot that well again, I don’t see Marquette running up a big number on Providence on the road.
AJ Reeves practiced on Friday for the Friars and it does appear that they’re going to have one of their best jumpshooters back in some capacity. However, he’d likely be in limited minutes if he does play. Providence’s offense continues to rely heavily on getting to the free-throw line to sustain what are otherwise mediocre numbers across the board.
If you can prevent Nate Watson from dominating the interior, Providence’s perimeter Shot Quality numbers are less than impressive. They rank outside the top 100 in SQ on three-pointers, are just 209th in halfcourt offense and rely on getting out in transition (or the line) to score points.
Marquette is known as a team that likes to play up tempo and it does, but defensively it makes teams work in the halfcourt to get offense. The Golden Eagles defense ranks among the slowest 50 for average defensive possession length, and they’re above average at keeping teams off the free-throw line.
Unless Providence gets hot from beyond the arc and forces them to stop doubling Watson in the post, the Golden Eagles defense is top 30 in the halfcourt, guards the perimeter well and prevents open mid-range looks.
It’s a good recipe for a team to slow down the Friars offense, like they did in the first meeting when Providence managed just 56 points.
Marquette vs. Providence Betting Pick
This game was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon until a blizzard in the Northeast postponed it to Sunday at 12:30 p.m. While Providence is still digging out from the storm, and with the rescheduled start, there’s a chance that both teams come out flat in front of a relatively subdued crowd. It also throws off the rhythm for the traveling Marquette, too.
Marquette chose to fly back to Wisconsin after Wednesday night’s win in New Jersey and got into Rhode Island on Friday ahead of the storm, so that just adds to the potential fatigue and flat spot for this game.
Both offenses are much better at operating in transition than they are at operating in the halfcourt, and I’m expecting Cooley to slow this game down and force Marquette to execute there. The Golden Eagles half court offense has regression coming, and if it comes on Sunday, this game will struggle to get out of the 130s.
I’ll be looking for spots to sell both teams in the coming future, but the matchup favors the defenses at both ends of the floor.
Pick: Under 136 or better
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