NCAA Betting Preview
No. 2 Connecticut Huskies (25-2) at No. 10 Marquette Golden Eagles (23-4)
Bradley Center, 7:00PM Eastern, Wednesday
Bookmaker.com betting line – Even, Marquette (pick) or Connecticut (pick)
The No. 10 Marquette Golden Eagles will host the no. 2 ranked Connecticut Huskies inside the Bradley Center from Milwaukee this Wednesday night in an epic showdown of Big East front runners. Connecticut lost the nations top ranking from conference rival Pittsburgh last week, but they still have aspirations of winning the Big East regular season title. However, the Golden Eagles of Marquette will be attempting the same task as these two teams are apart of a four way tie atop the Big East standings that feature in four nationally ranked Top 10 teams. Marquette schedules is brutal with no. 1 Pittsburgh and no. 6 Louisville to immediately follow Wednesday’s showdown, but they still have hopes of a regular season title as well.
No. 10 Marquette has had one of the best performing offenses on a consistent basis all year in the conference. The Golden Eagles lead the Big East in scoring offense averaging 80 points per game. Interestingly enough, Marquette has actually faired well against teams with the style of play similar to Connecticut. The Huskies like to slow the game down a bit compared to Marquette and use strong inside game to establish their winning formula. Marquette on the other hand is led by one of the best backcourts in America in their two senior guards Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. The Golden Eagles can move the ball up and down the court in a hurry and will attempt to score a lot of points in transition. However, they will have to overcome one of the best defensive teams in America if they plan on scoring the victory on Wednesday night. Jerel McNeal leads the team averaging 20 points per game and has scored 20 or more points in 9 of his last 10 games. Wesley Matthews is posting 18 points per game along with two straight 20 plus performances and he too could be a big factor on Wednesday.
The No. 2 Connecticut Huskies still have a great shot of winning the conference out right for the regular season title. The Huskies really control their own destiny as long as they can win due to their season finale re-match with Pittsburgh that will take place on March 7th. Connecticut sports the Big East best scoring defense holding teams to only 61 points per game. Also to go along with the strong defense, they also have one of the best all around rebounding teams in America. Junior center Hasheem Thabeet is becoming a lethal force inside the paint averaging big numbers with 13 points and 10.5 rebounds every outing. However, Connecticut supports a strong starting lineup that features a number of star players that could have a breakout performance on any given night. Jeff Adrien, Jerome Dyson, and A.J Price will all attempt to support Thabeet as the Huskies take part of one of their highest stakes games of the season.
What to watch for…
Marquette has not grabbed a lot of offensive boards this season, but they only allow competitors 31 rebounds per game on average. If they can keep Connecticut from gaining the edge on the glass, I think their dangerous offense could be a real problem for the Huskies. Considering none of the Connecticut big men have any huge breakout nights, the Golden Eagles led by the two stellar senior guards could be in for surprising the nation like they have all season.
Pick – Marquette