Marquette (12-6) at Villanova (13-4)
When: Wednesday, January 19th 2022
Where: The Pavilion,
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: CBSN
Opening Odds: Villanova -12.5/138
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The Marquette Golden Eagles have played themselves back into the NCAA Tournament according to the latest projections and a win on Wednesday would improve their positioning even more. The Golden Eagles, who have won four consecutive games, visit the 11th-ranked Villanova Wildcats in a Big East Conference clash. ESPN’s Bracketology has Marquette as a 10-seed, which makes them pretty comfortably in. After losing four straight games at the end of December, the Golden Eagles have beaten – and covered – against Providence, Georgetown, DePaul and most recently, Seton Hall. Marquette shot just 42.4 percent against the Pirates, but nailed 11-of-22 from beyond the arc to make up the difference.
Villanova sits atop the Big East standings at 6-1 with the lone loss coming at Creighton on Dec. 17. That was the last time the Wildcats lost, as they’ve won and covered the spread in each of their last six games. They are also a perfect 6-0 at home this season, covering five of those contests. It was an easy 82-42 win over Butler on Saturday, one of the worst losses by the Bulldogs against a power conference all-time. The Wildcats dominated from start to finish, outshooting Butler 59.6 percent to 30.8. Villanova drained 12-of-19 from 3-point land and missed only one of 15 free throw attempts. The Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings with the Golden Eagles including a sweep last season.
Two of Marquette’s victories during the winning streak came against sub-90 NET teams (Georgetown and DePaul), the win against No. 20 Seton Hall should give the Golden Eagles some confidence heading into this week. Darryl Morsell led the team with a career-best-tying 26 points on Saturday and has scored 20 points or more five times this season. Justin Lewis is putting up 15.3 points per game, while Morsell is averaging 13.8 per contest. Marquette will host Xavier on Sunday before back-to-back road games.
Collin Gillespie led the Wildcats with 17 points against Butler, while three other starters scored at least 14 points. Justin Moore added 15 points while Jermaine Samuels and Eric Dixon had 14 apiece. On the season, Villanova is eighth in the nation with just 9.3 turnovers per game and ninth in turnover rate at 12.4%. The offense is sixth nationally with 118.8 points per 100 possessions and hold opponents to just 61.5 points per game. Villanova will be at Georgetown on Saturday.
Marquette is definitely playing well enough to hang at this number. Villanova is dangerous, but the Golden Eagles will limit the runs and keep it close.
Pick: Marquette +12.5
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