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The Murray State Racers will be looking for their 28th win of the season when the team travels to the XL Center to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles. Murray State enters this game with a 27-4 record after beating Belmont in its last game. Meanwhile, Marquette is currently 24-9 and lost its last game against Seton Hall. Now both teams will be looking to improve on their respective records.
Morant Must Carry Murray State
This season, Murray State was expected to build upon last year behind some veteran leadership and to compete for a conference title. So far this season, the team has fulfilled those expectations as it is 27-4 and won its conference tournament in order to get into the NCAA tournament. However, the team’s success is partially due to the relative easiness of the team’s conference as the team will now have to face one of its hardest opponents of the season. Murray State is an extremely solid team but one has to wonder if the team can handle such a big stage.
The Murray State Racers are led by sophomore guard Ja Morant who has looked great so far this season. So far this season, he leads the team in points per game and assists per game. Morant is currently averaging 24.6 points per game along with 10.0 assists as he has definitely embraced the leadership role on this team. Morant is a lock to be a top-five player in the upcoming NBA Draft if he declares and he will look to improve his stock in this game.
Coach McMahon believes that matching up with Marquette could be tricky due to the length and shooting ability of their other starters.
“I’m not sure how we’ll match up yet. But it’s not only Markus Howard. Hauser’s ability at 6’8″. His efficiency numbers are off the charts, averaging 15 a game and doing it at a high level. And his ability to shoot the three as well and his explosive drives to the basket.,” McMahon said.
Marquette Struggles Down The Stretch
This season, Marquette was expected to build upon last year behind some veteran leadership and to return to the NCAA tournament after failing to make it last year. So far this season, the team achieved that goal and then some as it won 24 games and got a five-seed in the NCAA tournament. However, the team has been awful lately as it has dropped five of its last six games including a loss to Seton Hall in the conference tournament. In that game, Marquette’s defense was awful as it allowed 81 points as the team lost by two. Marquette has the ability to be great but it will need to find its rhythm again as soon as possible.
The Marquette Golden Eagles are led by junior guard Markus Howard who has looked great so far this season. Last season, Howard averaged 20.4 points per game along with 2.8 assists while shooting 46.4% from the floor. So far this season, he has played even better as he leads the team in points per game and assists per game. Howard is currently averaging 25.0 points per game along with 4.0 assists as he has definitely embraced the leadership role on this team.
Coach Wojciechowski believes that Murray State has a lot of underrated players on its roster and that this team’s depth could be the key to pulling off this upset against his own team.
“Obviously Ja is an incredible player and prospect. I want to make clear this is not a one-man band. Murray State is not in this position because it’s a one-man show,” Wojciechowski said.
- Over is 5-1 in Golden Eagles last 6 non-conference games.
- Over is 4-1 in Racers last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 5-2 in Racers last 7 overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Overall, I think that Murray State has only succeeded due to Morant and has a significantly inferior supporting cast in comparison to Marquette. Marquette is the better overall team and has played the significantly harder schedule during the regular season. This spread also looks oddly large for a struggling team like Marquette to be favored by so I think this line looks like a trap. Give me Marquette as a result.
Prediction: Marquette -4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams have the ability to score a lot of points but I think that their respective defenses are okay at best. Both teams are coming off solid offensive outputs and I can see both teams clicking on offense once again in this one. I expect both teams to play efficient offense as Marquette likes to play extremely uptempo while Morant and Howard will most likely score at least 25 points each. As a result, give me the over.
Prediction: Over 149.5