Texas vs Marquette prediction: College basketball odds, pick, best bets
Wednesday nights most significant college basketball matchup features No. 12 Texas battling No. 8 Marquette at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
This is Shaka Smarts first game against his former team since leaving Forty Acres in 2021.
But Texas head coach Rodney Terry has been doing just fine, leading his Horns to a 6-1 record this season after reaching the Elite Eight last year.
I think Marquette rolls in the Shaka Smart bowl, and Im laying the points with the Golden Eagles on Wednesday night.
Texas vs Marquette odds
Texas vs Marquette prediction
(8 p.m. ET. TNT)
Im primarily playing Marquette because of the situational spot.
Texas has played a laughable schedul. The Longhorns have faced precisely one KenPom top-150 team, Connecticut, where they lost by double-digits. This is also their first true road game.
Not only that, but Texas hasnt even played that well. The Horns are 6-1 straight up but 2-5 against the spread, failing to cover against teams like Rice and Texas State while beating the pathetic Louisville Cardinals by one point after closing as 17.5-point favorites.
The Longhorns early-season struggles make sense. Terry had to replace three starters and two key reserve pieces from last years team, with incoming transfers Max Abmas and Kadin Shedrick adjusting to their new team.
Returning production is monumental in early-season college basketball handicapping. The teams with more continuity generally beat those with less in November and December.
Is this fresh-faced Texas team ready for a bump in competition in a hostile environment? I doubt it.
Texas guard Max Abram shoots in a November game against UConn. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters ConMeanwhile, Marquette is a well-rounded, experienced team that returned four starters from last years Big East Championship squad, and sixth man David Joplin has slid seamlessly into Oliver-Maxence Prospers old power forward spot.
And the Golden Eagles have run through a gauntlet. Theyve played five KenPom top-40 teams, including three ranked in the top 15. Theyve played none of those games at home and already beat Illinois on the road by seven.
We can also bet on a bounce-back from Marquette after a tough road loss to Wisconsin and a brutal three-point neutral-court loss to Purdue. I expect the Eagles to come out with their hair on fire in a semi-desperation spot.
These guys are vets and have been tested early, and playing Texas at home will be a relative cakewalk.
From an on-the-court schematic perspective, I dont mind the matchup for Marquette.
The Eagles perimeter defenders are pressing and playing more actively than ever before, and I could see that bothering Abmas and Tyrese Hunter in the backcourt.
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Texas likes to score on the interior, running handoff, cuts and post-up sets to generate near-proximity shots.
However, Marquettes aggressive perimeter defense has been denying opponents the ability to get the ball in the paint or at the rim, and the Eagles post-up defense has been surprisingly adept this year (.75 PPP allowed, 70th percentile among D-I teams).
I dont think Texas will get the shots it wants against Marquettes athleticism.
On the other end of the court, the key to stopping Marquette is stopping Shakas ball-screen offense.
The Eagles run one of the nations most inventive, explosive pick-and-roll offenses. Tyler Kolek is a mastermind facilitator of those sets, Oso Ighodaro is a dynamic interior scorer and great back-door-cutting passer out of those sets and Kam Jones is among the nations best spot-up shooters off those sets.
Behind those three, the Eagles go around the horn until they find an open shot. Its almost impossible to stop.
The Marquette empty side ball screen is the early season leader in the clubhouse for the toughest action to guard in the country pic.twitter.com/CwhCczzUBB
— Jordan Sperber (@hoopvision68) November 16, 2023Unfortunately for the Horns, Texas ranks 323rd nationally in pick-and-roll PPP allowed (1.02) by ShotQualitys metrics, which bodes very poorly against The Fighting Shakas.
Its also worth mentioning that I give a significant coaching advantage to Smart over Terry. I think Shaka can out-scheme this young opposing coach in this top-25 matchup.
But, ultimately, I think this is a tremendous situational spot for Marquette to bounce back with a big win in front of the home crowd, and Im betting the Eagles take advantage of an unproven Texas squad.
At anything less than 10, Ill lay the points with Marquette.
Texas vs. Marquette pick
Marquette -8 (-110) at Bet365 | Play to -9.5 (-110)
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