Marquette vs. Murray State Betting Guide: Will Markus Howard or Ja Morant Shine in NCAA Tournament?


USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ja Morant and Markus Howard

Mar 21, 2019, 03:30 PM EDT

#5 Marquette vs. #12 Murray State NCAA Tournament Odds

  • Spread: Marquette -3
  • Over/Under: 149.5
  • Time: Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Location: San Jose, Calif.

>> All odds as of Thursday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

No. 5 seed Marquette (19-13-1 against the spread) enters the NCAA Tournament with five straight-up losses in its past six contests. The Eagles were looking at a No. 2 or No. 3 seed before flopping down the stretch.

On the flip side, No. 12 Murray State (19-10 ATS) has covered in seven of its past nine games, including an outright win over Belmont in the OVC Tournament title game.

Which team provides more value in the Round of 64? Let’s break it down.

Marquette’s Injury Concern for Markus Howard

The 5-foot-11 Markus Howard (25.0 points per game) has been the most critical factor in Marquette’s resurgence this season, and his right wrist injury means just as much to its hopes of making a deep NCAA Tournament run.

Howard said that he’ll be ready to go for the matchup against the Racers, yet his shooting touch from behind the arc (40.8%) was clearly off in the Big East Tournament semifinals against Seton Hall. The junior point guard shot a mere 1-of-15 (6.7%) from the field, finishing with 21 points because of a flurry of free throws down the stretch with Marquette in comeback mode.

A One-Dimensional Marquette Offense

Let’s say Howard is somehow near full-health, providing a boost to the Golden Eagles’ 68th-ranked 3-point scoring rate (36.4%). The Racers are still in prime position to stymie their perimeter-oriented attack, limiting their opponents to the fourth-lowest clip from behind the arc (28.5%) in Division I.

They’re allowing the 29th-lowest 3-point scoring rate (26.8%) in the country as well, forcing Howard & Co. to attack the rim, where they’re letting up the 59th-lowest free-throw rate (28.5%).

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