Providence vs. Marquette College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Disregard the Recent Trends (Tuesday, Jan. 4)

Providence vs. Marquette College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Disregard the Recent Trends (Tuesday, Jan. 4) article feature image

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Darryl Morsell.

  • Providence will look to improve to 4-0 in the Big East as it travels to Marquette to take on Shaka Smart's squad.
  • The Friars are currently ranked 16th in the AP Poll while the Golden Eagles have won four in a row.
  • Shane McNichol breaks down Tuesday's college basketball duel in Milwaukee.

Providence vs. Marquette Odds

Tuesday, Jan. 4
9 p.m. ET
Providence Odds
-110o / -110u
Marquette Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The flip of the calendar to a new year always marks a key change in the tone of the college basketball season. Games are no longer mere measuring sticks for teams to add to a resume. Conference play is underway and there are real rewards at stake.

Tuesday's duel between Providence and Marquette has massive implications for both sides.

The home team, Marquette, has lost five of its last six after a promising start. The most recent of those losses was a double-overtime back-breaker to Creighton on Saturday. If the Golden Eagles want to maintain any hope of an NCAA Tournament berth, they need to hold serve at home and stop the bleeding.

Providence, meanwhile, is a team on the rise. The Friars find themselves atop the Big East's standings, with three impressive early-season wins. A win on the road Tuesday could further signal that Ed Cooley and company are real contenders in the conference this year.

With a lot on the line, where should your wager land?

Providence Friars

The Friars entered this season with modest expectations and a KenPom ranking in the mid-80s. After a 13-1 start, Providence is a top-40 team with sights on the NCAA Tournament.

Cooley has leaned on veteran experience this season, with all four of his double-figure scorers playing in at least their fourth college basketball season. According to KenPom's calculations, only nine teams in the nation have a more experienced team on the floor.

The most crucial piece for the Friars has been Indiana transfer Aljami Durham. As a Hoosier, Durham was bogged down in the clunky Archie Miller offense.

This season, he has nearly doubled his free-throw rate and will soon eclipse his total free-throw attempts from last season. His newfound aggressiveness has been a major catalyst for the Friar offense. Durham's attacking nature creates space for his shooting teammates and keeps the defense on its toes.

With Durham posing a threat on the perimeter, Providence looks to find opportunities for fifth-year big man Nate Watson on the interior. He plays a classic post game, bruising opposing bigs while taking just one 3-pointer in five years at PC.

On the defensive end, these Friars are on par with some of Cooley's best Providence teams. They aren't looking to overreach to create turnovers but are built to defend for the entirety of the shot clock.

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Marquette Golden Eagles

The start of Big East play couldn't have gone much worse for Marquette.

The Golden Eagles dropped their first three conference games, two of which came at home, leaving them at the bottom of the Big East standings, the first team in the league with three losses.

Saturday's loss to Creighton was as deflating as any. Marquette led by five with 90 seconds to play in overtime, with Creighton's Alex O'Connell sending the game to a second overtime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

Marquette now limps into this matchup, desperate for a win to change the momentum of the season.

Shaka Smart has to find answers offensively, where this Marquette team has been sluggish. The Golden Eagles rank 249th in 3-point percentage, and that number is inflated by a red-hot pair of games on back-to-back nights last month. Take out those two outliers, in two of Marquette's biggest wins, and the Golden Eagles are managing just 29% from outside the arc.

Marquette's early-season success was fueled by scoring outbursts from Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell. After never scoring 20 points in any of his 126 games as a Terrapin, Morsell topped that number in each of his first four games with Marquette.

Unsurprisingly, that boon has not held up. In his last nine games, Morsell has shot just 34.9% from the floor, 26.5% from long range, and taken only 2.8 free throws per game.

Meanwhile, Marquette's leading scorer, sophomore Justin Lewis, has similarly gone cold. In the Golden Eagles' last four games — all losses — Lewis is shooting 32.8% from the field, worsened by a 2-for-20 slump from outside the arc in that span.

Nothing is coming easy for Marquette offensively right now except transition buckets off of opponent turnovers. Without those, scoring is a battle for Marquette every possession.

Providence vs. Marquette Betting Pick

The way these teams have trended of late, this looks like a perfect spot for Providence. The Friars are on the rise, while Marquette has turned in some clunkers in recent weeks. 

Conversely, each of these teams is due to experience some shooting and luck regression.

Marquette's offense has been stagnant, yet the Golden Eagles are a better shooting team than they've shown lately. Providence, meanwhile, has faced just 26.5% shooting from outside the arc in its last seven games. Both of those trends are likely to swing.

Providence has also played worse than its record shows. KenPom's "Luck" metric measures how much a team has overperformed their play on the floor, and ranks Providence in the top-20 luckiest teams nationally.

Marquette needs to win this game in the worst way. I think it does so.

Pick: Marquette ML +120

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