March Madness Betting Picks -- Marquette wants to escape from UConn's Big East shadow

  • In Charles Jay
  • Fri, Mar 29th, 2024 3:39:11 pm
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

The Marquette Golden Eagles are trying to demonstrate that UConn and Creighton aren't the only schools in the Big East who can play with the best. They'll meet the NC State Wolfpack on Friday.

NCAA Tournament preview and pick for NC State vs Marquette

Shaka Smart got to the Final Four with the VCU Rams in 2011, and he won the CBI with the team the year before. Whe he was at Texas he won the NIT.

Now he wants to scale the heights with the Marquette Goiden Eagles.<

BetOnline patrons who are real veterans of basketball betting might remember that Marquette cut down the nets in 1977 under legendary coach Al McGuire. The next time they got to the Final Four was in 2003, with star guard Dwyane Wade and coach Tom Crean. who is perhaps better known as the brother-in-law of Jim and John Harbaugh.

Marquette NCState free pickNow they are two wins away from making another Final Four trip, and they'll have to deal with a Cinderella story in order to get there. The NC State Wolfpack survived a scare from upset-minded Oakland (which had beaten Kentucky previously) and they are a headache to deal with on the inside.

This Sweet Sixteen game is set for 7:09 PM ET at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, which is home to the Mavericks.

In the March Madness betting odds posted on this game at BetOnline, Marquette is favored:

Marquette Golden Eagles -6.5
North Carolina State Wolfpack +6.5

Over 151 points -110
Under 151 points -110

If you're not old ernough but have seen the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary "Requiem for the Big East" you have an idera about how dominant this conference actually was. One season they had three teams in the Final Four, and the most lightly-regarded of those three, Villanova, won in a big upset over Georgetown for the title.

NC State NCAA March Madness pickBut the Big East eventually folded under the weight of football obligations, and re-formed as a basketball conference mostly comprised of Catholic colleges and universities.

And the University of Connecticut. That monster in the room destroyed everything in its path to win the national title last season and they look like they are on that same road now.

And Creighton gets a lof credit for its inside-outside game. As of this writing, they are going to have a chance to move ahead to the Eloite Eight if they can beat Tennessee.

And then there's Marquette, who could conceivably make it three Big East squads in the last eight standing. That would be three-for-three, by the way, because while a conference like the Mountain West got six bids into the NCAA Tournament (with none still remaining), the Big East got only those three. And the people in that conference are none too happy about it.

That may have been one of the factors involved in UConn's horrific beating of Mountain West rep San Diego State on Thursday night.

But meanwhile, Marquette has been operating in UConn's shadow. Even though they have beaten some capable teams, including Kansas and Texas, they haven't cracked the Huskies' code - well, not this season anyway. They did beat them two out of three last year, but they have lost all three meetings in the 2023-24 campaign, by scores of 81-53, 74-67 and 75-57 (that one in the Big East tournament).

Marquette may have some problems on the inside with NC State's powerful 6-9, 275-pound forward DJ Burns, who had 24 against Oakland, but they bring an extremely solid defensive defensive ethic, a brand of pressure that more closely resembles the "havoc" Smart applied at VCU then he had at Texas, where he said the players didn't buy in; and the combination of floor leader Tylar Kolek (fourth in nation in Assist Rate) and scorer Kam Jones. Oh, not to mention an awful lot of experience. We give them the nod here.

And they may get that fourth crack at UConn.

Join BetOnline by using your credit card or any of sixteen different cryptocurrency options..... And once you're in, compete in the $50,000 Sweet Sixteen Bracket Contest. The top prize is $2500, but 2000 players are going to be paid!

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