College Basketball: West Virginia at Marquette - Marquette Favored

Team Page: West Virginia :: Marquette

55% of Bets Placed on Marquette -1 | Matchup | CBB Picks
After finally playing like the top-flight Big East team everyone predicted it to be in the preseason, Marquette tries to even its conference record against one of the early surprises in the 16-team league Saturday when it hosts No. 21 West Virginia at the Bradley Center.

Oddsmakers have made Marquette -1 point spread favorites (College Basketball Odds) for todays game, the over/under has

been set at 126 total points (View College Basketball Sports Books).

The Golden Eagles (14-4, 1-2 Big East) - picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll of Big East coaches - stumbled out of the blocks in conference play, struggling against the zone defenses of Providence and Syracuse en route to double-digit losses. But Marquette righted itself Wednesday with a 73-69 victory at No. 24 Connecticut, thanks in part to a stellar performance from center Ousmane Barro, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds.

"This was a great get-better, stay-together game for us,'' Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "The losses were a great reawakening for our guys to get back to what we are. There weren't a million things wrong with us, we just didn't play the way we had played.''

While the Golden Eagles struggled from 3-point range - going 2-for-10 - guards Jerel McNeal and Dominic James relentlessly drove to the basket, helping Marquette outscore Connecticut 38-22 in the paint. McNeal scored 19 points and James added 17, including a 3-pointer that capped a 16-2 run to provide a 60-48 lead.

"Going 0-2, you know it's back against the wall, it's kind of an emergency,'' James said. "But one thing Coach told us is just don't panic. We're going to get this thing turned around, and just stick with the things we're accustomed to doing.''

Marquette has shot just 10-for-54 (18.5 percent) from 3-point range and averaged 63.3 points - almost nine below its overall mark of 72.2 points per game - in its three Big East contests. After faring well against UConn's man-to-man defense, the Golden Eagles will try to solve West Virginia's 1-3-1 zone.

The Mountaineers (13-2, 3-1), who were pegged for a 12th-place finish in the conference with four new starters this season, had their eight-game winning streak snapped with a 61-58 loss Tuesday at No. 22 Notre Dame. Alex Ruoff had 14 points and Frank Young added 13 for West Virginia, which nearly rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes before Young failed to get off a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.

"It's a three-dribble play and he's got to let it go, but he hasn't been in many situations like that,'' West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "He's got to get it off before then, but he just misjudged the clock.''

Young, who is the Mountaineers' leading scorer at 14.5 points per game and has made a team-high 50 3-pointers, was 4-for-11 from the field and 4-for-14 overall as West Virginia shot just 37.7 percent. The Mountaineers, though, did make at least 10 3-pointers for the 11th time this season and are shooting 38.4 percent from beyond the arc.

West Virginia made a Big East and school-record 20 3-pointers last season in its 104-85 home rout of Marquette. Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle combined for 12 of the 3-pointers and 63 points overall, while James had 28 points and eight assists for the Golden Eagles.

The teams have split four all-time meetings, with the home team victorious each time.

by: Marc Young - - Email Us

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