College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Marquette vs. Seton Hall (Wednesday, January 26)

College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Marquette vs. Seton Hall (Wednesday, January 26) article feature image

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Kolek (left) and Bryce Aiken (right).

  • The Marquette Golden Eagles travel to New Jersey on Wednesday night to face the Seton Hall Pirates in Big East action.
  • The Golden Eagles have been on a roll of late, racking up a six-game winning streak, while the Pirates have slowed down in conference play tremendously.
  • Shane McNichol breaks down which side to bet below.

Marquette vs. Seton Hall Odds

Wednesday, Jan. 26
8:30 p.m. ET
Marquette Odds
-110o / -110u
Seton Hall Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

It's hard to imagine a more important conference game for these two teams than this one. Both sit at a crucial inflection point of their season, each trending in a different direction.

Action Network contributor Jim Root of Three Man Weave recently tweeted about the trends available to college basketball fans by shifting the start date on BartTorvik's T-Rank tool on his website. Limit the analytics to games on or after Jan. 1, and Marquette jumps from the 52nd-ranked team in the nation to the top 10 (8th). Apply the same criteria, and Seton Hall plummets from 60th down to 104th.

The line graphs of these teams' seasons have met, as Marquette skyrockets and Seton Hall tanks. The Bracketology aggregators at Bracket Matrix currently have both of these teams as a No. 7 seed in the Big Dance, despite taking radically different paths to this point.

Marquette looks to keep a six-game winning streak rolling. Seton Hall needs a win in the worst way. Which side holds value for the betting public?

Marquette Golden Eagles

This season has been a roller coaster for the Golden Eagles.

Marquette kicked off the year with five straight wins, including some impressive victories over power conference opponents. Things shifted quickly, as the Golden Eagles dropped six of their next nine, including Shaka Smart's first three Big East games.

Something about flipping the calendar created some magic for Marquette, which now boasts a six-game winning streak. A win over Villanova at Finneran Pavilion —just the second conference loss for the Wildcats at their on-campus home since the Big East restructured in 2014 — will be a massive piece of Marquette's tournament resume.

What has changed in Milwaukee to spur this winning streak? It's partially been shooting luck, with the Golden Eagles hitting 43% beyond the arc during the streak and their opponents making just 27% of their 3-point attempts.

Some of that goes beyond luck, with Marquette's roster developing a better understanding of their roles.

Tyler Kolek, a transfer from George Mason, has grown into the primary point guard and offensive creator while cutting down on mistakes.

During the win streak, Kolek is averaging 7.7 assists to 2.3 turnovers per game, with 31% 3-point shooting. In the nine prior games, six of which were losses, Kolek posted 5.8 assists to 3.0 turnovers per game and an ugly 17% shooting from long range.

With Kolek at the helm of the offense and Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell commanding the ball in crunch time, things have opened up for sophomore star Justin Lewis to be more efficient.

In six Golden Eagle losses, Lewis is shooting 36.5% from the floor and a putrid 13.3% from deep. In Marquette's wins, those numbers jump to 46.6% from the field and 40.9% from outside the arc. That's not a coincidence or statistical quirk. Lewis has been better about picking his spots and Marquette's offense has been better about creating more scoring chances for him.

The Golden Eagles rank second in the nation in assist rate, a testament to the unselfish ball movement of their offense lately.

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Seton Hall Pirates

Seton Hall, unlike Marquette, is having trouble in Big East play. The once-hot Pirates are just 3-5 in the conference, including disappointing losses to St. John's and DePaul.

If there's hope, it comes in the form of regression. Seton Hall's first four Big East losses came by an average margin of just four points, potentially leaving it due for some good luck in future close games.

That little quirk will only help so much if the Seton Hall offense remains bogged down. Everything the Pirates try to do on the offensive end of the floor comes off isolation or dribble-drives. Kevin Willard has a stable of guards capable of finding their way into the paint, yet the Seton Hall backcourt hasn't shown the ability to make the most of those drives.

Only three teams in the entire nation are assisting on a lower percentage of their baskets than Seton Hall.

The Pirates offense is relying heavily on reaching the foul line. Seton Hall ranks in the top 10 nationally in percentage of points coming via the charity stripe. Basically, one of Seton Hall's guards drives in the paint, the defense doesn't collapse because the Pirates don't have a stable of shooters on the perimeter, and instead, the driver looks to finish or get fouled.

Against smarter defensive teams (or with less whistle-happy referees), Seton Hall is left scrambling to create scoring chances.

Marquette vs. Seton Hall Betting Pick

Seton Hall's defense should be able to contain Marquette's offense. The more revealing matchup comes at the other end of the floor when the Pirates have the ball.

Marquette has two massive advantages in this phase of the game. First, Morsell is an elite perimeter defender. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for Maryland last season and continues to be a stopper on that end.

Whichever Seton Hall guard Smart chooses to match with Morsell will have an uphill battle on his hands. Seton Hall will instead favor whichever guard Kolek matches with.

Marquette's counter to that issue is simple: Oklahoma transfer Kur Kuath is one of the best rim protectors in the country. He led the Big 12 in block rate last season and is second in the Big East so far this year. When Kolek or any of Marquette's perimeter players get beat off the dribble, Kuath is waiting to create chaos at the rim.

The biggest outstanding variable comes on the glass. The last time these teams met, Seton Hall hammered Marquette in that regard, winning the rebounding battle, 47-27.

Even with those extra possessions, 20 Seton Hall turnovers and 50% long-range shooting by Marquette evened the score. The Golden Eagles snuck away with a one-point win.

This time, on Seton Hall's home court in Newark, Marquette likely doesn't escape with the same luck. The Pirates need this one. Seton Hall will attack the paint off the dribble for 40 straight minutes, finding a way to take this one.

Pick: Seton Hall -3

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