Big East play continues Tuesday with two intriguing matchups.
The first will pit the Marquette Golden Eagles against the Providence Friars. Both teams are coming off victories and each will be looking to build off of those respective wins as they jockey for positioning in the Big East standings.
Marquette took down the Villanova Wildcats over the weekend in Milwaukee. The 71-60 win for the Golden Eagles propped them up to 1-1 in Big East play, temporarily erasing the 92-75 loss they suffered to the Creighton Bluejays on New Year’s Day. MU is 11-3 on the season now and their win over ‘Nova brings them to 2-2 against teams ranked in the Top 30 on KenPom.
Providence, meanwhile, edged the DePaul Blue Demons in Chicago 66-65 to score their second win in Big East play. The Friars are 2-0 against Big East opponents, having ripped the Georgetown Hoyas limb by limb on New Year’s Eve. After their 7-6 start, few could’ve pictured the Friars being 2-0 in league play. But, here we are anyway.
Providence is hoping to keep their furious offensive play up. They have posted the best offensive efficiency marks in Big East play so far out of any team (105.2), as well as the top eFG% (54.0%) and 3-Point FG% (40.0%). And they’ve done that with the lowest Tempo mark as well (67.5). Marquette’s defense hasn’t been particularly good, although they’ve mostly been cut up inside versus outside. PC’s interior game has been the ‘weaker’ part of their game, so I’d look to see how this game is decided on the perimeter.
Marquette will have to figure out how to stop the Friars’ stingy defense also. They have posted very good marks in their first two Big East games, but this is easily the best offense that they’ve faced to this point. One area that’s been a big plus for MU has been the FT line. They’ve hit 86.8 percent of their free throws through their first two conference games, the best mark of any Big East team so far. The Friars have done a good job of preventing teams from getting to the line in conference play, but Marquette can be very dangerous if they get there. And that’s something they’ll have to no doubt account for.
Individually, I’d hazard that the stars of these teams will be the ones to watch. Alpha Diallo scored just three points against DePaul, but I reckon he’ll play better than that this time around. Markus Howard dropped 29 points against Villanova and 18 against Creighton, so I’d expect him to keep at that pace meanwhile.
Something to watch for also is how this game plays out for the home team. Home favorites this year are 5-2-1 ATS in Big East play so far. Two of those wins come from the teams playing in this one, and Marquette is a 5.5-point favorite over Providence tonight. Act accordingly, if you’re into that sort of thing.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Watch Online: Fox Sports Go
Spread: Marquette -5.5
Moneyline: Marquette -245 | Providence +195