Marquette Golden Eagles vs. UConn Huskies Odds & Pick: Underdog Has Value on Tuesday Night
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Lewis (Marquette)
- The Marquette Golden Eagles are an underdog against the Connecticut Huskies on Tuesday night, but D.J. James thinks Shaka Smart's squad can hang and even win the game outright.
- Due to the contrast in playing styles, he believes Marquette won't struggle on the glass as much as normal.
- Get his full Marquette vs. UConn preview and pick below.
Marquette vs. UConn Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Marquette Golden Eagles are one of the most underrated teams in the country. They have propelled themselves up the rankings by winning eight of their last nine.
They have victories over Villanova (twice), Seton Hall (twice), Providence and Xavier. Some of these wins were on the road against some of the best teams in the Big East.
The Golden Eagles hit the road again for this one to play UConn, so this will be yet another stiff test for Shaka Smart & Co.
UConn is coming off of two straight losses, but unlike Marquette, it has been a bit inconsistent. The Huskies struggled on the glass against Villanova and got lit up from 3 against Creighton.
The tape should be telling, and should allow Marquette to earn yet another Big East cover, and perhaps a win.
The Golden Eagles thrive when the 3-ball is falling, as 35.6% of their points come from beyond the arc. They shoot 35.3% as a team and have plenty of sharp shooters to cause some difficulty for UConn’s defense.
Justin Lewis, Kam Jones, Darryl Morsell and Greg Elliott all shoot 34% or greater from downtown.
Connecticut has the 223rd-ranked 3-point defense in the country, permitting opponents to shoot almost 35% on the season. Marquette will exploit that, and when it makes its 3s, the Golden Eagles’ offense is extremely tough to stop.
In addition, Marquette pushes the pace. The Golden Eagles rank sixth in the NCAA in field goal attempts. They rank 42nd in KenPom’s Adjusted Tempo metric, and they have extremely short possessions, averaging around 15 seconds.
This could throw off UConn because it runs at the 228th-ranked tempo. The Huskies will not get settled on defense, which should eat into their potential rebounding margin.
Lewis leads the Golden Eagles in rebounds at 7.2 per game. Kur Kuath and Tyler Kolek follow him at 4.2 and 4.0 boards per game, so it’s a steep drop-off.
This is usually where Marquette can be at a disadvantage. They need to limit UConn’s offensive rebounding, as the Huskies rank second in college basketball in that category.
Adama Sanogo needs a body on him, or he can feast down low. That said, he only had two rebounds in his last outing against Villanova.
Marquette should take a page out of the Wildcats’ book. If they do so — and that’s easier said than done — the Huskies rank 206th in defensive rebounding, so there should not be too much of a discrepancy otherwise.
UConn’s offense rides on autopilot when it can get to the free throw line. Marquette ranks 159th in free throw attempts allowed on defense, so they will need to limit fouls against the Huskies’ attack.
Andre Jackson and R.J. Cole are the best free throw shooters, and if Sanogo hauls in offensive rebounds, Marquette might become frustrated. If the Golden Eagles can contain themselves, this will eliminate any advantage from the strike for UConn.
In order to match the play of Marquette, the Huskies will need to land some 3s, as well. They usually do not shoot many, mostly because they have a strong inside presence.
The Huskies shoot 35.1% from 3 as a team, and this means Cole and Tyler Polley will need to be consistent to help give the offense a boost.
Marquette vs. UConn Betting Pick
Marquette has one issue, and it’s rebounding. Considering the Golden Eagles’ approach lately, they will be able to eat into UConn’s rebounding margin by pushing the pace of this game, getting shots up and being aggressive on 3-pointers.
If they can exploit UConn’s glaring issues with covering the arc, Marquette could very well end up as the winner of this game.
Pick: Marquette +5 (Play to +3.5)
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