Wednesday night’s most important college basketball game will pit No. 12 Texas against No. 8 Marquette at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
This will be Shaka Smart’s first game against his former team since leaving the Forty Acres in 2021.
But Texas head coach Rodney Terry has been on a roll, leading the Horns to a 6-1 record this season after reaching the Elite Eight last year.
I think the market will roll into the Shaka Smart Bowl, and I’ll be betting on points against the Golden Eagles on Wednesday night.
Texas vs. Marquette odds
Texas vs. Market Prediction
(8 p.m. TNT ET)
I mostly play markets because of the situational spots.
Texas has had a laughable schedule. The Longhorns are playing one of the very KenPom Top 150 teams, Connecticut, where they lost by double digits. This is also their first real road game.
Not only that, but Texas hasn’t been playing all that well. The Horns are 6-1 in straight games, but 2-5 against the spread, unable to cover teams like Rice and Texas State, while poor Louisville, a 17.5-point favorite, falls behind. They defeated the Cardinals by one point.
It’s no surprise that the Longhorns have struggled early in the season. Terry had to replace three starters and two key reserves from last year’s team, with new transfers Max Abmas and Kadin Shedrick adjusting to the new team.
The return to production is monumental in the early-season college basketball handicap. In November and December, teams with more continuity typically beat teams with less continuity.
Is this fresh Texas team ready for increased competition in a hostile environment? I doubt it.
Marquette, meanwhile, is a balanced and experienced team that returns four starters from last year’s Big East Championship team, with sixth man David Joplin joining Oliver-Maxence Prosper’s former power forward. It slid smoothly into the seat.
And the Golden Eagles overcame the hurdle. They play five teams in the KenPom Top 40, three of which are ranked in the Top 15. They have never played a home game and have already defeated Illinois on the road by seven points.
You can also bet on Marquette’s comeback after a blowout loss to Wisconsin on the road and a three-point loss to Purdue on a neutral court. I expect the Eagles to show up at full strength in a semi-desperate situation.
They are veterans and have been tested early, so it will be relatively easy for them to play at home in Texas.
From an on-court schematic standpoint, I don’t mind playing against Marquette.
The Eagles’ perimeter defenders are pressing and playing more aggressively than ever before, and you can see that bothering Abmas and Tyrese Hunter in the backcourt.
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Texas likes to score inside, running handoffs, cuts, and post-up sets to create near-perimeter shots.
However, Marquette’s aggressive perimeter defense prevents opponents from getting the ball in the paint or at the rim, and the Eagles’ post-up defense has been surprisingly adept this year (0.75 PPP allowed, among DI teams). 70th percentile). .
I don’t think Texas can get the shots they want against Marquette’s athleticism.
On the other side of the court, the key to stopping Marquette is stopping Xhaka’s ball screen attack.
The Eagles run one of the most creative and explosive pick-and-roll offenses in the nation. Tyler Kolek is the leading facilitator of these sets, Oso Ighodalo is a dynamic inside scorer and an excellent backdoor cut passer from these sets, and Cam Jones is the nation’s best from these sets. He is one of the spot up shooters.
Behind those three, the Eagles circle the horn until they find an open shot. It’s almost impossible to stop.
Unfortunately for the ‘Horns, Texas ranks 323rd nationally in pick-and-roll PPP by ShotQuality’s metric (1.02), which bodes very badly for the Fighting Shakas.
It’s also worth mentioning that I give Smart a huge coaching advantage over Terry. I think Xhaka can outwit this young opposing manager in this Top 25 matchup.
But ultimately, I think this is a great situation for Marquette to bounce back with a big win in front of their home crowd, and I’m against the Eagles taking advantage of an unproven Texas team. I’m betting.
If it’s less than 10, match the points with the market.
Texas vs. Marquette Picks
Market -8 (-110) (Bet365) | Play until -9.5 (-110)