Marquette-Seton Hall Betting Preview: Which Team Needs the Win More?

Marquette-Seton Hall Betting Preview: Which Team Needs the Win More? article feature image

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Quincy McKnight and Markus Howard

  • Both Marquette and Seton Hall have reasons to need a win from tonight's Big East matchup (6:30 p.m. ET, FS1).
  • Mike Randle dissects which team needs it more, and how that should affect the game's betting value.

The most powerful motivation for college basketball teams in March is “need.”

Which team needs the win more?

Whether it’s a need to make the NCAA tournament or win the regular season conference, the team with the strongest need has a huge advantage.

This serves as the foundation for our Wednesday night breakdown. Let’s take a deep dive at tonight’s Big East matchup between Marquette and Seton Hall.

Betting Odds: Marquette Golden Eagles at Seton Hall Pirates

  • Spread: Marquette -2
  • Over/Under: 145.5
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

Marquette (23-6) is coming off back-to-back conference losses at Villanova and at home against Creighton. The Golden Eagles are 12-4 in the Big East, just one-half game behind Villanova.  They’re 16-10 overall against the spread (ATS) including 6-4 on the road.

Seton Hall (16-12) has excelled all year at inconsistency. The Pirates enjoyed a seven-game winning streak earlier this year that included wins over Kentucky and at Maryland.  They’ve also experienced a four-game Big East losing streak, however, and are currently on a three-game slide. Seton Hall is 12-14 ATS including just 5-8 at home.

The Golden Eagles will bring their best effort for the Pirates. Marquette ranks second in adjusted offensive efficiency within Big East conference play. It ranks first in both 3P (40.7%) and free throw efficiency (77.7%). Junior guard Markus Howard (25.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.1 apg) is a National Player of the Year candidate.

But the difference this year has been Marquette’s defense. It ranks first among Big East teams in conference play in the following:  adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage allowed, 2P% allowed, and blocks per game. The Eagles’ defensive metrics are at an all-time high during Steve Wojciechowski’s five years as head coach.

The Pirates have been desperate for a conference win to bolster their NCAA Tournament chances over the last two weeks. However, they have responded with three straight losses. Their offense has sputtered as they now have the second-worst adjusted offensive efficiency in conference play.

In those last three games, Seton Hall is shooting a mind-boggling 21.3% (16 of 75) from beyond the arc. In conference play, the Pirates generate the second-highest percentage of points of any team from 2P range. Given Marquette’s conference-best defense from within the arc, it is easy to see how the Pirates will struggle to score consistently.

Seton Hall also provides its opponents too many extra chances. The Pirates are last in the Big East in offensive turnover percentage.

Marquette has played too well this season to lose three conference games in a row at the end of the season. The Golden Eagles have been great on the road, totaling a 6-1 record in conference play, and Seton Hall’s offensive woes will continue against the best defense in the Big East.

Take Marquette and lay the two points in a game it must win to stay alive for their first Big East Conference regular season title since 2003.

THE PICK:  Marquette -2

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