UConn vs. Marquette Odds, Pick, Prediction: Can the Golden Eagles Hang With Huskies? (Tuesday, Dec. 21)
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Akok Akok
- UConn has a chance to get back in the win column in Big East play as it takes on Marquette.
- The Huskies lost to Providence at home to open up league play, while the Golden Eagles have lost two in a row.
- D.J. James explains why the Huskies are the play.
UConn vs. Marquette Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
The Connecticut Huskies travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to play Marquette in their second of many Big East matchups.
Marquette is coming off of a tough road loss to Xavier, while UConn is still missing its big man, Adama Sanogo, due to an abdominal injury. Sanogo is questionable to play and could be the crux of the offense in this game if he plays.
Still, even without him, as short road favorites, the Huskies look poised for a bounce-back game after their loss against Providence at home on Saturday.
Sanogo is an integral part of this UConn team, particularly on the offensive end. He averages 15.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, so he is a significant contributor.
Otherwise, this team is a bit short-handed and will only play a rotation of about eight players — mostly guard-heavy.
Isaiah Whaley and Tyler Polley will need more minutes at the forward position and Akok Akok is a tall enough role player off of the Huskies’ bench to soak up some much-needed minutes. Sanogo’s 240-pound presence is intimidating enough for a distraction, at least, to open up shots beyond the arc.
If Sanogo plays, the UConn offense will thrive from downtown. Marquette allows a 31.9% 3-point percentage. R.J. Cole and Polley shoot the lion’s share of outside shots for UConn.
Since Sanogo has been sidelined (Dec. 4 and onwards), Cole is 6-for-30 from deep and Polley is 7-for-26. Essentially, there is no versatility for the Huskies inside, so teams can defend the arc much more effectively.
UConn is 10th in all of the NCAA in offensive rebounding, as well. Most of this is attributable to Sanogo’s play, but the team still racked up 43 boards against Providence last week.
They still have the bodies to crash the glass, but Sanogo is the extra jolt needed for this offense to get second chances and more outside shots.
Marquette is a solid Big East team, but it seems to be losing a bit of steam from its hot start. The Golden Eagles have victories over a hobbled Illinois team and West Virginia, but they have struggled with more experienced squads like Wisconsin, UCLA and Xavier.
UConn checks this box, especially in the backcourt with Cole leading the charge.
Marquette’s biggest weakness is crashing the glass. The Golden Eagles’ offensive rebounding percentage is 22.7% and 28.5% on the defensive end. Its forwards — Justin Lewis, Kur Kuath, and Oso Ighodaro — are the leading rebounders, but Lewis is the only one logging major minutes.
Again, if Sanogo plays, Kuath and Ighodaro will likely see the court more often to keep him in check defensively. Even without Sanogo on the floor, UConn has others who can rebound from the guard position, so this gives it a major edge over the Golden Eagles.
Marquette also shoots a ton of 3s. The Golden Eagles rank 40th in 3-point attempt ratio, per KenPom, but they only shoot 31.8% as a team.
Darryl Morsell is their greatest threat from beyond the arc at 39.2%, but the UConn defense has the guards to cover him. Otherwise, Marquette has a few players who shoot more than they should.
Look for Cole, Andre Jackson and Jalen Gaffney to cause some havoc in the Golden Eagles’ backcourt and defend the arc well.
UConn vs. Marquette Betting Pick
Sanogo is the straw that stirs the drink for this Connecticut offense. If he plays, the Huskies could easily win this game by double digits.
If he does not, the line (-3), has a small amount of value on the Huskies’ side.
Take UConn at -3 and play to -4. If Sanogo plays, take this line to -6.5. The Huskies still have the rebounding capabilities with Sanogo sidelined, but him being out hinders this team’s ability to create more outside shot opportunities.
Pick: UConn -3 (Play to -4 if Sanogo is out and -6.5 if he plays)
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