UCLA vs. Marquette College Basketball Odds, Picks, Prediction: Target the Total in Milwaukee (Dec. 11)
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez Jr, UCLA Bruins
- Mick Cronin's UCLA Bruins take on Shaka Smart's Marquette Golden Eagles in what should be an entertaining Saturday showdown.
- Smart is starting to take the Eagles where they want to go, but the Bruins will be the furthest thing from an easy task on Saturday.
- Doug Ziefel breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick based on his analysis.
Editor’s Note: After originally being scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET, UCLA-Marquette has been pushed back to 9:30 p.m. ET due to a travel issue with the Bruins.
UCLA vs. Marquette Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
We have what may shape up to be one of the games of the day on a glorious Saturday as the UCLA Bruins travel to Milwaukee to face off against the Marquette Golden Eagles.
The Bruins have looked to be the real deal as they have followed up last year’s Final Four appearance by starting the year 7-1.
They enter this matchup in a bit of a peculiar spot. They will not have played a game in 10 days, as their previous matchup against Washington was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. It remains to be seen whether the extended rest will help or hinder them.
Marquette has been one of the most pleasant surprises to date, as Shaka Smart seems to have sparked this squad. The Golden Eagles have shown that they are up to snuff, as they have piled up multiple quality wins already.
This matchup will be their toughest and perhaps the most telling test. Can Smart cook up another upset?
Bruins Surging Behind the Killer Js
Johnny Juzang, Jules Bernard, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. are the three leading scorers for this UCLA team and will be names that you will hear for quite a while.
Let’s start with Juzang.
The junior guard is averaging over 17 points a game and is the leader of this Bruins ball club. While his last few box scores have not been outstanding, we all know that he can carry his team when he gets hot. If you need a reminder, here’s what he did last March:
Johnny Juzang majors in BUCKETS
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 21, 2021
Though, this year, Juzang has not needed to put the team on his shoulders as the other two members of the Killer Js have emerged.
Bernard has been the Bruins’ best shooter this season as he currently leads the starters with a 56.8 effective field goal percentage.
Last but certainly not the least of the trio is Jaquez. The junior from Camarillo, California, brings a different type of game to the Bruins. He may be the same height as his fellow Bruins members, but he has much more inside presence at 225 pounds. While his actual presence in this contest was in question after taking a scary fall against Colorado, head coach Mick Cronin said he will be a full go.
The Bruins will have some significant advantages on the offensive end of the floor against the Golden Eagles. They’re eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency, and it is not just because they can put the ball in the bucket.
UCLA is excellent on the glass as they are 35th in offensive rebounding rate and sixth in defensive rebounding rate. They also will not hurt themselves as they seldom turn the ball over, ranking 13th in offensive turnover percentage.
The Golden Eagles are 58th in adjusted defensive efficiency and have defended shooters from the field at a slightly above-average rate. Their pace keeps opponents from gaining opportunities on the boards as they rank 295th in offensive rebounding rate.
Are the Golden Eagles Over Achieving?
Marquette has played quite the schedule to open the year, and to its credit, it has played well against the likes of Illinois, Ole Miss, and West Virginia. While its big wins may be notable, we must also take note of its big losses.
These Golden Eagles lost by 26 points to St. Bonaventure and 23 points to Wisconsin. What do those two teams have in common? They are slow-paced and excellent defensively. Those two aspects have slowed the run-and-gun Golden Eagles, as they play with pace and only have two real scoring options who can be guarded tighter in the half-court setting.
The Golden Eagles should certainly not be overlooked as they have shown a tendency to play up to their competition, but the Bruins present similar issues that have led to bad losses.
The Bruins are 22nd in adjusted defensive efficiency and average in tempo ranking 136th. They will have to contend with Justin Lewis and Darryl Morsell, who have been great, but if the Bruins control the pace, they could key in on them.
UCLA vs. Marquette Betting Pick
Bart Torvik projects the Bruins to be about seven-point favorites in this contest, and while that is a possibility, the Golden Eagles are at home and will certainly be up for this game.
The value of this game lies in the total.
Marquette is second in the country in tempo and is now facing an elite shooting team that can catch fire at any moment. The Golden Eagles are 6-4 to the over this season, and this dance with the Bruins should only improve that record.
I would take any number 151 or better as I see UCLA getting into the 80s, but Marquette will not be far behind.