Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #10 Marquette vs. #21 UConn (2/7/2023) - Taking Vegas



Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #10 Marquette vs. #21 UConn (2/7/2023)

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
February 6, 2023
Photo by: Morry Gash - AP Photo

#10 Marquette Golden Eagles vs #21 UConn Huskies (2/7 @ 6:30 PM EST)

Spread: UConn -4
Money Line: Marquette +150 / UConn -175
Total: 151.5

Overview and Betting Info

The #10 Marquette Golden Eagles (19-5) will head for Hartford on Tuesday to take on Big East rival #21 UConn Huskies (18-6). These teams met on January 11th, with Marquette upsetting the then-six-seeded Huskies in an 82-76 thriller. Marquette is currently tied for the Big East lead, while UConn sits in sixth place.

Marquette is 16-8 against the spread and has covered six of their nine road games. They’ve gone over the total 13 times, including in three of their road games.

UConn is 14-10 versus the spread and has covered nine of their fourteen home games. They’ve gone over the total fourteen times, ten of which came at home.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Marquette now ranks as a top ten team in the nation, thanks to winning 10 of their last 11 games. The run includes an upset win against UConn, where they were outrebounded and had eleven shots blocked. Still, Marquette found their edge with efficient shooting and generating turnovers (16). The Eagles are second in the Big East in scoring (81.3 PPG, 23rd in NCAA), second in field goal percentage (50%) and assists (18.1 APG, 6th in NCAA), and fourth in three-point percentage (35.6%). Two areas of concern are rebounds (31.9 RPG) and free throw percentage (71%), ranking in the bottom four in both. Marquette’s defense is fifth in the conference in scoring (69.8 PPG) and tenth in the nation in steals (9.5 SPG). They have the fifth-best assist/turnover ratio in the country.

Marquette is led by a trio of Kam Jones (15.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG), Olivier-Maxence Prosper (13.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.0 SPG), and Tyler Kolek (11.3 PPG, 7.9 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG). Kam is their leading scorer, making 48% of his shots from the field and 36.5% from three. As good as he has been, he’s been colder recently, resulting in him being held to under 10 points in two of their last three games. He had seven-game steal streak come to the end of Saturday, with a total of 16 during that span. Jones played a key role against UConn earlier this season, scoring 15 points to go with three steals. Prosper is a physical player that shoots the ball well, making 54.1% from the field and 35.2% from three. He was fantastic against UConn, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds. Kolek runs the offense and is second in the country in assists. He’s been incredible over their last five games, averaging 16.6 points, 7.6 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 steals. He struggled against UConn with just six points but did add eight assists.

The Golden Eagle’s top trio is supported by Oso Ighodaro (11.8 PPG,6.0 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 1.8 BPG) and David Joplin (10.2 PPG, 40.9% 3PT). Ighodaro is their top big man, leading the team in rebounds and blocks. He’s also an efficient scorer, with the second-best shooting percentage in the Big East (67.4%). He had his best scoring performance of the season against UConn while also picking up two steals and a block. The forward is a defensive presence down low, with ten blocks in his last five games. Joplin is a talented shooter and the team’s top threat from deep. He can score in bunches when he gets hot, but he’s been held to seven points or fewer in four of his last five games. In one game, he surpassed that total by scoring 28 points. Keep an eye on Sean Jones, as the Freshman had seven points and three steals against UConn last month.

UConn Huskies

The Huskies enter Tuesday’s contest, winning three of their last four games. After starting the season 14-0, the Huskies cooled off to win just four of their next ten games. They are third in the Big East in scoring (79.3 PPG), three-point percentage (35.6%), rebounding (38.8 RPG), and fifth in field goal percentage (45.7%). Their defense is sixth in the conference in opponent scoring (70.0 PPG), but they lead in blocks with 4.88 per game. The Huskies are 2-2 at home in 2023, with losses to Xavier and St. Johns. During that span, they picked up one of their best home wins against #23 Creighton.

The Huskies are led by a duo of scorers in Adama Sanogo (17.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 59.3% FG) and Jordan Hawkins (16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 39.4% 3PT). Sanogo leads the Big East in scoring and is fifth in field goal percentage. He’s been fantastic over his last five games, averaging 16.8 points and 8.6 rebounds. He had one of his worst games of the season against Marquette, scoring ten points and committing a season-high five turnovers. We’ll see if that was a fluke, as Sanogo had 24 points and 15 rebounds against Marquette a year ago. Hawkins was limited to eight points against Marquette, but he’s been far better in the six games that followed (21.3 PPG). He is third in the Big East in scoring.

UConn’s top scorers are supported by a deep group led by Tristen Newton (10.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.1 SPG), Alex Karaban (9.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG), and Donovan Clingan (7.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.0 BPG). After struggling to score most of the season, Newton has broken out to average 16.2 points and 1.8 steals over his last five games. Karaban is a physical forward and a deadly three-point shooter, making 38.4% of his attempts. He torched Marquette the previous month with 17 points and seven rebounds but did commit a season-high three turnovers. Clingan is one of their best rebounders and is fourth in the conference in blocks. He led the Huskies in scoring (20), rebounding (10), steals (2), and blocks (5) against Marquette. He has not been close to duplicating that since, but we’ll be watching him carefully on Tuesday.

Free Pick: Marquette +4

While the Huskies have one of the best homecourt advantages in the country, they have yet to play well there in the New Year. They lost to a Xavier team tied with Marquette for the Big East lead, but also to a St. John’s team that had won just two conference games. UConn was 5-6 in the Big East coming into last week, improving with wins over the conference’s two worst teams (Georgetown & DePaul).

We believe Marquette will keep this close thanks to their ability to take care of the ball and shoot efficiently. They are so aggressive on defense and had 16 takeaways against UConn last month, which they should be set to do again. We also love how Kolek has been playing and believe that will give their offense enough to pace or surpass what UConn can.

We’re taking the points to take Marquette on Tuesday.