Xavier vs. Marquette Odds & Pick: Bet Musketeers In Regular-Season Finale
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Paul Scruggs (1).
- The Xavier Musketeers take on the Marquette Golden Eagles in a Big East matchup on Saturday night.
- The Golden Eagles may not have much motivation in this regular-season finale, so BJ Cunningham is keeping his eye on the Musketeers.
- Check out Cunningham's full betting preview complete with odds and a pick below.
Xavier vs. Marquette Odds
Xavier looks to improve its NCAA Tournament resume tonight when it battles Marquette.
Xavier is the definition of a bubble team right now, as ESPN's Bracketology has the Musketeers as one of the last four teams in the tournament. However, they are limping to the finish line, with only two wins in their last six games.
To make matters worse, their best 3-point shooter, Nate Johnson, is going to miss the rest of the season due to injury.
Xavier has announced that Senior Guard Nate Johnson will miss the rest of the season due to a lower left leg injury. He had started all 16 Muskie games but sat out Wednesday at Providence. Nate is a grad transfer from Gardiner Webb(Big South Conference). He was 3rd in XU scoring
— Andy Mac (@mm_andymac) February 27, 2021
So, the Musketeers will be a little shorthanded heading into the postseason.
It's a lost season for Marquette, which is currently 12-13 on the season. The Golden Eagles are probably grateful to be back in Milwaukee after playing six straight road games over the months of February and March.
Without much to play for, you have to wonder where Marquette's motivation level is heading into the regular-season finale.
When Xavier Has the Ball
The Musketeers have been really struggling during Big East play, averaging only 1.02 points per possession. The reason for that is because they're the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big East at only 29.4%.
Without Johnson, too, you have to wonder how the Musketeers are going to cope, since he was shooting over 45% from deep. The good news is they should have plenty of open shots since Marquette owns the worst 3-point defense in the conference.
The Muskies hit 13-of-24 from behind the arc in the first meeting, so if they have similar performance again, its hard to see how Marquette will be able to keep up.
However, most of Xavier's scoring comes from inside in the form of Zach Freemantle, who is averaging 16.7 points per game. The Musketeers shoot over 53% from 2-point range and an insane 67.1% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
Marquette is pretty solid inside, ranking second in the Big East in 2-point percentage allowed, so Xavier may have to rely on its spotty 3-point shooting tonight.
When Marquette Has the Ball
The Golden Eagles have been very similar to Xavier offensively, as they themselves are only averaging 1.01 points per possession in Big East play. They also are struggling from 3-point range, hitting only 31.8%.
They also have one of the worst turnover rates in the conference, so if Xavier can defend the paint well, they should give themselves a good opportunity to a win.
One thing Marquette does do well is getting to the free-throw line.
It owns the highest free-throw rate in the conference and shoots over 74% when it gets to the charity stripe.
However, Xavier's defense is allowing the lowest free-throw rate in the Big East, so the Golden Eagles won't be able to rely on the free-throw line consistently.
Xavier is also the best defensive rebounding team in the conference. So, if Marquette can't hit 3s or get to free throw line often, I have a hard time seeing how it's going to win this game.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Even without Johnson, I think Xavier matches up well with Marquette.
The Golden Eagles are allowing 1.07 points per possession in conference play and couldn't stop Xavier at all in the first meeting. Marquette's offense has also been less than stellar and relies on the charity stripe far too often.
Therefore, I think there's some value on Xavier at +2 and would play it down to +1.5.
Pick: Xavier +2 (down to +1.5).