The LSU Tigers (7-3) will have a stiff challenge on Monday night when they welcome in the 10th ranked undefeated Marquette Golden Eagles (10-0) into the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:00 pm ET on Monday, December 19th.

NCAA Basketball odds boards opened with Marquette as an 8 point favorite with the total set at 136.5. Sportsbooks have since adjusted their lines after early NCAA basketball betting action on the Golden Eagles, now listing a spread of 8.5 with the total at 137.5.



Can the Tigers give the fans at the Maravich Center an early Christmas present by upsetting the undefeated Golden Eagles? The task will be even tougher as Marquette welcomes back it's leading scorer Darius Odom-Johnson after a 1 game suspension for unspecified reasons.

DJO

Darius Johnson-Odom

Leading scorer Darius Johnson-Odom returns to the Marquette lineup much to the dismay of the Tigers faithful. Johnson-Odom was suspended for unspecified reason in Marquette's last game, but the Golden Eagles still managed to crush Northern Colorado 93-72.

Nevertheless, the level of competition has risen, and the Golden Eagles will be entering a hostile environment in SEC territory. Johnson-Odom leads a bigtime offense with 18.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. This is a hefty 6 foot 2 guard that can provide instant offense when Marquette needs it most. 

The Golden Eagles are a team that ranks 8th in the nation in scoring (84 points), 15th in field goal percentage (.497), and 4th in the nation in assists at 19.5 per game.

Guard Junior Caudigan is also a very productive player on this team. He has the responsibility of keeping this offensive machine running smoothly. Thus far, he's done a great job at finding the open man, leading the Golden Eagles with 6.6 assists. One of his favorite targets is senior forward Jae Crowder.

Crowder power

Jae Crowder is the main reason why Marquette is such an elite team. He has pro style skills and size at 6 foot 6, 225 pounds, and is a very active player that can score, rebound, and can keep the opposing offense in check. Crowder is an active pickpocket, averaging 1.6 steals to go along with his 17.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

He had one poor outting against Wisconsin, but other than that he has been a flatout star in his senior season. Crowder faces another tough team in LSU and will be looking to avoid another poor performance against high level competition. Look for a big game from Jae Crowder.

Marquette is also very strong on the defensive end. They hold their opponents to just 37.4% and have a point difference of +21.9 per game. LSU has their hands full here.

Poor matchup?

Let's call it the way it is, as the Tigers will have a difficult time keeping pace with the Golden Eagles on the offensive end of the floor. They have a solid defense, but it has yet to test itself against a worthy opponent.

On the season, the Tigers rank 152nd in the nation in points scored, 307th in field goal percentage at just 39.7%, and 203rd in 3 point shooting and 176th in assists.. What the Tigers do well is rebound and they'll have to dominate the boards, not letting Crowder and company get any 2nd chances.

Crashing the boards

As I've stated, the Tigers will need to impose their will on the Golden Eagles with their ability to protect the glass. Two key players in gaining success will be center Justin Hamilton and freshman forward, Johnny O'Bryant. Both of these men are massive in size, as Justin Hamilton is 6'11, 260 and O'Bryant is a growing young player at 6'9, 250 pounds.

LSU will need to use their size and prevent undersized talents like Johnson-Odom from getting in the paint and making their presence known.

Stringer status

Leading scorer Andre Stringer has already missed two contest and is listed as doubtful for this game (illness), so other players will have to step it up against Marquette.

Guard Ralston Turner is coming off of an awful shooting performance against UC Irvine at just 2 of 17 from the field. IfTurner has a similar performance against Marquette, the Tigers will get blasted out of the building quickly. Forward Eddie Ludwig who averages 2.9 points per game, came up with 12 points and 5 rebounds in the UC Irvine game, but that can't be expected here.

Outcome of the game

This is a great spot to add Marquette to your NCAA basketball picks. They get
back from suspension and they're playing an ineffective team in LSU without their leading scorer Andre Stringer. The Tigers defense isn't good enough to stop the Eagles with or without Stringer. Containing Justin Hamilton and Johnny O'Bryant of LSU can make things more difficult for Marquette but the Golden Eagles offense is just too strong, so look for Marquette to run away with this game.

Monday night NCAA Pick- Marquette -8