Providence continues its unexpected Big East run tomorrow when it travels to the middle of the country to take on Marquette in Milwaukee. The Friars have turned some heads with a Big East Conference record that only Villanova and Creighton can top as of the current standings. Marquette looks at the home game as a chance to even up its 3-4 conference mark. Vegas likes the Golden Eagles to do as much. Buzz Williams’ team is a four point favorite to take down Providence Thursday evening.
It’s been a struggle for Marquette all season and the last three games have been no exception. Thought highly of coming into the season after an Elite Eight finish last season, Marquette is just 1-2 in its last three games. All three of these games have gone to overtime and Thursday evening doesn’t seem to be a much easier time. The Golden Eagles take on Providence – a team with a 5-2 conference mark after opening up Big East play with two straight losses.
The Friars are a veteran team that has been through a lot as a total unit. This is the third year of the same core playing together after years of misery in the old Big East. Kadeem Batts, Bryce Cotton, Josh Fortune, etc. All of these now veterans have experienced plenty of losing together under Ed Cooley and now the bunch is finally experiencing what it feels like to win. Bryce Cotton is, once again, putting up over 20 points per game as one of the most underrated prolific scorers of the last couple years. LaDontae Henton is chipping in nearly 14 a game and Batts continues to do it all as the only legitimate big in that Providence rotation.
Marquette is still trying very much to find a rotation. The Golden Eagles lead the nation with 11 players averaging double-digit minutes per game this season. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing for ‘Quette. With fresh legs and much more size than Providence, look for Marquette to feed off the home crowd in what could be a huge swing game in the Golden Eagles’ season. Wilson and Mayo on the perimeter will compete with Cotton and Fortune and Gardener should be able to wrestle with Batts to free up the deeper, more talented Marquette reserves. The Golden Eagles cover at home in a statement victory.
Free Pick: Marquette -4