Marquette vs. UConn NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Justin Lewis #10 of the Marquette Golden Eagles. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP

Dan Hurley and the UConn Huskies look to stop a mini two-game slide when they host the Marquette Golden Eagles in a key Big East matchup on Tuesday’s NCAA Basketball odds board.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Connecticut Huskies

Tuesday, February 08, 2022 – 06:30 PM EST at XL Center

Marquette arrives in Hartford up a game on UConn in the Big East standings, the Golden Eagles and Huskies sitting third and fourth, respectively. Shaka Smart has Marquette in great position to defy the college basketball futures where the Golden Eagles were something of an afterthought in the Big East Race.

Hurley and the Huskies are trying to live up to the expectations of being the chief contender for the conference title behind Villanova. Connecticut just dropped a decision at the Wildcats this past weekend, and everyone in the conference is chasing a streaking Providence Friars team that will sit at home most of this week and watch the turmoil behind them.

Eagles-Huskies Series Knotted 6-6

Marquette and UConn are part of a busy Tuesday card that finds 12 ranked teams in action, and this contest one of three pitting top 25 clubs against one another. Anyone not in Hartford can follow the action on FS1, and that action includes the Huskies favored by 6.5-7 at online betting sites with 140.5-142 available for the total.

We got a chance to see these teams in action a few days before Christmas when Marquette and UConn met for what was the second conference game for both teams. The Huskies went to Milwaukee as 5.5-point favorites, and left with a 78-70 win and cover. It was a 1-point game at 66-65 with just over four minutes to go, but the Golden Eagles went about three minutes without a point as UConn pulled away.

That victory for the Huskies leveled the all-time series at six wins apiece, all 12 of those matchups coming since Marquette joined the Big East in 2005-06. Connecticut has won the last three to pull even in the rivalry, and eased to an 80-62 win as 7-point chalk when the teams met at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs last year. Four of the last five meetings went past the totals, including both games played in the Nutmeg State.

Marquette Aims for 10th-Straight Cover

Marquette is on the climb in the two polls, the Golden Eagles zooming up six spots to No. 18 in the AP and five spots to No. 19 according to the coaches. Part of the reason for the improvement was a gutsy performance at Providence a couple of Sundays ago. It ended in a close 65-63 setback, but the Golden Eagles were getting 2.5 to just eke out their eighth consecutive cover in the defeat.

They made it nine in a row last Wednesday at home with a stellar 83-73 upset of Villanova. Getting 4.5 at home from Bet365, Marquette led wire-to-wire thanks to excellent shooting and winning the glass battle. Justin Lewis led the way with 19 and netted 4-of-5 from 3-point range. The Golden Eagles shot nearly 54% overall, and swished 10-of-24 (41.7%) outside the arc.

‘Over’ Cashes in 7 of Huskies’ Last 9

Getting beat in Milwaukee by Marquette must’ve upset Villanova, because the Wildcats went home and took care of business against UConn on Saturday. The Huskies were 4-point underdogs on the betting odds, and put up a good fight for the first 10 minutes or so, but Villanova then took charge and kept UConn at a safe distance for the 85-74 final.

That loss was preceded by a poor effort from the Huskies at home earlier in the week when Creighton came to Hartford and pulled off a 59-55 upset. The Huskies came out flat and suffered through a horrible night on offense by sinking just 20-of-67 (29.9%) from the field, and let the Bluejays take a 10-point lead into the locker room.

Akok Akok missed the Villanova game with a foot injury, or what really amounts to lingering issues with his Achilles. The 6-9 junior has been used primarily to give Adama Sanogo and Isaiah Whaley a breather at times, and is questionable for Tuesday’s tilt.

Everyone seems to be sitting around waiting on Villanova to take charge in the Big East, and for UConn to fit itself for the bridesmaid dress. Marquette and Providence, meanwhile, are the ugly sisters who are being ignored. I’m dancing with one of the ugly sisters tonight with a college basketball pick on the Golden Eagles.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Marquette +7 (-110) at Caesars