UConn vs. Marquette Basketball Odds & Pick: Huskies Should Prevail On Saturday
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Andre Jackson celebrates with teammates.
- UConn and Marquette are both surging and playing their best as the season winds down.
- The Huskies beat the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee earlier this season, but who has the edge in this rematch?
- College basketball betting analyst Mike Randle breaks down Saturday's matchup, complete with a spread pick.
UConn vs. Marquette Odds
Connecticut and Marquette are both playing their best basketball at the end of the season. The Huskies have won three of their past four games and are fully healthy after dealing with a limited roster for most of 2021. The Golden Eagles have won two games in a row, and are coming off a huge 83-70 road win in Chapel Hill.
Both teams have three games left and are jockeying for position with the Big East Tournament approaching. Will Connecticut finish off a season sweep of Marquette, or will the Golden Eagles continue their late-season push and earn a huge road win?
In the first meeting at Fiserv Forum, the Huskies earned a 65-54 win after a furious late-game comeback. Connecticut shot 50% (8-of-16) from deep, led by Tyler Polley’s five made 3s.
It was also in this game that Huskies star guard James Bouknight first injured his elbow. Bouknight fought through the injury but only had six points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Head coach Danny Hurley guides a Huskies defense that is the best in the Big East. Connecticut ranks first in adjusted defensive efficiency and block percentage within conference play. The Huskies are also relentless on the boards, ranking seventh in the nation (first in the Big East) in offensive rebounding percentage.
The Huskies’ defensive-minded guards are a bad match for the Golden Eagles. Bouknight, R.J. Cole, and Tyrese Martin all average more than one steal per game. In their first matchup, they held the Marquette trio of D.J. Carton, Koby McEwen and Greg Elliott to a combined 16 points including just 2-of-9 from 3-point.
Marquette struggled as a whole against the Huskies’ defense, shooting just 17-of-29 (43.6%) from the field.
Head coach Steve Wojciechowski has failed to create a blueprint for this team, which appeared to be strong defensively to start the season. Marquette’s 82nd-overall ranking in adjusted defensive efficiency was greatly bolstered by its non-conference play.
Among Big East competition, Marquette ranks dead-last in adjusted defensive efficiency, defensive turnover percentage, 3-point percentage allowed, and defensive steal percentage, per KenPom.
Marquette’s overall offensive profile isn’t great either. It ranks 277th in offensive turnover percentage. The Golden Eagles rank 249th with 14.4 turnovers per game. Carton and McEwen combine for more than five turnovers alone.
The Golden Eagles have also been shorthanded with freshman Justin Lewis out due to a leg injury. The 6-foot-7 forward averages 8.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG and is a critical piece of Marquette’s interior defense.
The Huskies’ inside duo of Isaiah Whatley (7.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG) and freshman Adama Sanogo (6.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG) is a problem for Marquette’s limited frontline. They combined for 15 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks in Connecticut’s 70-57 win at Georgetown.
Marquette is just 9-14 ATS while Connecticut is an impressive 12-4-1, the 10th-best mark in college basketball. The Huskies are 5-3 ATS at home but 5-1 with a healthy Bouknight.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I’m backing the Huskies at home against a Marquette team coming off a surprising road upset of North Carolina. The most reliable unit in this game is Connecticut’s defense, meaning Marquette will need to limit the Huskies’ offense, a tall task for the metrically poor Golden Eagles.
I expect a similar game to their first meeting, except UConn will not need a furious comeback. Take the Huskies at home to cover the seven-point spread.
Pick: Connecticut -7 (up to -8).