Marquette made quick work of Colorado State in the first round of the NCAA Basketball tournament but the job gets immensely tougher when the Golden Eagles face Murray State. Who gets the nod as our NCAA Basketball pick in this game?
3RD seed Marquette (26-7 SU,
17-12 ATS) now plays sixth-seeded Murray State (31-1 SU, 16-10) on Saturday.
The Racers beat 11th-seeded Colorado State 58-41 while Golden Eagles survived
BYU’s comeback try beating the Cougars 88-88. Murray State fans and Kentucky
basketball fans alike are expected to come together on behalf of Murray at KFC
YUM Center in Louisville.
Sportsbooks have opened the NCAA basketball odds with Marquette listed at -5 with a total of 140. While early college basketball betting action has left the spread unchanged, the matchup's total has been risen to 142.
Lets preview this matchup and decide where us bettors should lay our NCAA Basketball picks.
Golden Eagles fly
Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder came
up with big shots every time the Cougars threatened, and
the Golden Eagles withstood another furious second-half rally by BYU
for the 20-point victory. Crowder finished with 25 points and 16
rebounds, while Johnson-Odom scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half.
Crowder, the Big East Player of the Year personally outscored BYU 9-5 in the
first five-plus minutes of the game as Marquette jumped out to an 18-5 lead.
The Golden Eagles also got solid
contributions from Davante Gardner and Todd Mayo. Gardner, the most imposing
post presence on the Golden Eagles, looked as good as he has since his return
from a knee injury. If he can continue playing like he did against the Cougars,
the Golden Eagles will be a very tough out.
Brandon Davies had 19 points and 12
rebounds for the 14th-seeded Cougars (26-9), who looked for a brief while as if
they might have a chance to top their historic comeback against Iona in the
First Four on Tuesday night. But a year after advancing to the regional finals,
the BYU was knocked out early.
Murray State struggles
Despite getting the win and cover,
Racers first-year coach Steve Prohm said that his team was pretty ordinary in
the first 20 minutes against a Rams team that just squeezed into the
tournament. I hate to say I told you so but I recall writing earlier this week
that Colorado State didn’t belong in the tournament and I was right. CSU hung
around because Murray State looked lethargic and flat. Maybe it was nerves or
perhaps the early start time but whatever the case they shook the jitters in
the second half.
The Racers outscored the Rams 35-17 over
the final 20 minutes to earn the 17-point victory. Their backcourt came up big,
with Isaiah Canaan scoring a team-high 15 while grabbing seven rebounds and
Donte Poole contributing 13. Forcing 21 turnovers and only giving it away seven
times themselves was key for the Racers. The big negative was free throw
shooting with Prohm’s team going just 13-of-26 from the stripe. This coming
from a team that shot nearly 73 percent from the line in 31 games this season.
Murray State’s victory tied the school
record for wins, matching the 2009-10 team that finished 31-5 and was coached
by Billy Kennedy, now the head coach at Texas A&M. It was just the third
tournament victory in MSU school history.
Favorites won the first nine games on
the first full day of the tournament and Murray State recieved the most sports picks of all teams on Day One of the tourney.
Marquette is a No. 3 seed for the first
time since 2003, back when a guy named Dwyane Wade led the Golden Eagles all
the way to the Final Four in New Orleans. Marquette is hoping to make its way
to the Big Easy again this year, but they can't afford little lapses like the
ones they had against BYU.
Harvey’s Take: Marquette looks to Crowder for another
big game and I’m sure the outstanding guard will deliver. The crowd is going
make this seem like a road game for Murray State but the Warriors have played
in tougher venues.
Lay the points and take Marquette.