NCAA Basketball Spread: Marquette -1
The Big East is once again one of the most competitive conferences in college basketball. Marquette is just a game behind Syracuse at 8-2 in the Big East. Notre Dame sits at 6-3 after three huge wins all as a big underdog. The teams split the season series and the oddsmakers have this game pegged at almost a pick’em. Look for this to be one of the best games of the day on Saturday.
Marquette is 19-4 on the season, and they come into this game having won seven straight contests. The Golden Eagles are led by Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. DJO as most Golden Eagles fans call him, leads the team in scoring at 18.3 points per contest. He shoots 40% from three-point range and his quickness keeps a ton of pressure on the defense at all times. Crowder averages 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Crowder is a big man who has an extremely versatile game. He can step out and knock down the outside shot, and he also passes the ball well. Marquette averages 76.1 points per game.
The Golden Eagles have improved quite a bit defensively this year. Despite being a team that likes to push the tempo on offense, the defense only gives up 64.1 points per game. Marquette allows opponents to shoot just 39.7% from the floor. This is a very athletic team that does a nice job staying in front of their man.
Notre Dame lost star Tim Abromaitis at the beginning of the season. Most thought the Fighting Irish wouldn’t be able to contend without their star, and at the beginning of the year it looked like that was right. Lately, Notre Dame has risen up by playing some terrific defense. The Fighting Irish are allowing just 56 points per game in their last five contests. They held Seton Hall to 42 and UConn to 48 in their last two games. If they can keep up this amazing defensive play, Notre Dame will be tough to beat in March.
Offensively, there is no one clear guy who leads the team. The Fighting Irish have four players that average nine points or more per game. Eric Atkins is the teams best outside shooter. Jerian Grant has racked up 105 assists while turning it over only 36 times. Scott Martin is one of those guys who does whatever it takes for his team to help them win. The Fighting Irish use up the shot clock and make the defense work hard every possession.
Notre Dame is 11-1 at home this year. Marquette is a very good team, but I don’t think Notre Dame should be the underdog here.
Free College Basketball Pick: Notre Dame +1
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