Thursday Night in CBB we will see the 9th ranked Marquette Golden Eagles take on the Louisville Cardinals in the 3rd round of the Big East Tournament. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm tipoff and will be televised live on ESPN. Currently Marquette is favored by 3 points with the total being set at 135 for the game. The winner of this matchup will advance to Friday's semifinal round to face the victor of the day's final Big East game between South Florida and Notre Dame.
Free Analysis: Safely into the NCAA Tournament field, seventh-seeded Louisville may have dealt a fatal blow to Seton Hall's at-large hopes with a 61-55 victory in Wednesday's second round. The Cardinals will now be out to avenge a 74-63 defeat at Marquette on Jan. 16, which was only their third loss to the Golden Eagles in the last 12 meetings. Overall Louisville holds a 40-26 lead in its all-time series with Marquette. Coach Rick Pitino guided his team to a 61-55 victory over the Seton Hall Pirates on Wednesday's in its tourney debut. Although their scoring output was not overwhelming, the Cardinals' 61 points on Wednesday broke a four-game stretch of being held under 60 points, plus their ball handling was a bit better, as they turned the ball over just 9 times after committing 14+ turnovers in 6 straight games. Peyton Siva had received criticism for his inconsistent play heading into the postseason. The Cardinals' point guard silenced the critics on Wednesday as he scored a team-high 14 points and swiped six steals to lead the team past Seton Hall. An inconsistent but well-balanced offense has been led by senior guard Kyle Kuric (12.9 points), one of six players who averaged at least 8.4 points during the year. Kuric managed to add 13 points, in the win over the Hall despite continuing to struggle with his shot. The senior swingman went 2-of-10 from three-point range in the victory. Pitino is still encouraging Kuric to keep firing, as he is aware of his ability to become a game-changer when he catches fire. The Cardinals were extremely effective in limiting opposing offenses, allowing only 37.9 percent shooting during the regular season. Louisville was seventh nationally in steals (9.2) entering the tournament, and Dieng (9.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.2 blocks) was the No. 8 shot-blocker in the nation. Marquette has been the most impressive team in the Big East this season not named Syracuse. The Golden Eagles have been unstoppable and averaged a league- best 76.1 ppg. Coach Buzz Williams has done an excellent job getting his team to play unselfish basketball. Marquette's success has come as it hands out 17.0 assists per game, which is the sixth highest average in the nation. The Cardinals will have to stop the highest scoring duo in the league to advance. Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom of Marquette were two of six players named to the All-Big East First Team. Johnson-Odom averaged 18.9 ppg while Crowder chipped in 18 points and 8.3 rebounds per game to earn the Big East Player of the Year award. Junior Cadougan is partially responsible for his high-scoring teammates success, as he leads the team in assists with 5.5 per game. Marquette trailed by as many as 16 points early in the only meeting this year, before ending the first half with a 32-12 surge, while they will be looking for revenge for last years 81-56 loss to the Cardinals in the Big East Tournament.
Free Pick: I have had a good pulse on this Marquette team since day 1 of CBB this year and I feel i have a good read on them here. The Golden Eagles lost their very first appearance in the Big East tournament, Marquette has advanced every time but has yet to play for the title.They just may get that chance this year, The Golden Eagles had a bit of a hiccup vs Cincinnati in the 2nd to last game of the year, but they have still won 6 of their last 7 games and by an average of 9.4 ppg. Louisville did beat Seton Hall last night, but they still shot just 38.8% in the game and it marks the 6th time in their last 7 games that they have shot under 40% and in 4 of those games they shot under 35%. That kind of offense won't get it done here vs a strong Marquette attack. The Golden Eagles have revenge on their minds after losing by 25 the Cardinals in last years tournament, they are the much better team here and Louisville just doesn't have enough offense to keep this one close. Marquette will pull away in the second half for the easy win.
Betting Strategies: College Basketball Conference TournamentHost Marco D'Angelo and Pregame's own Johnny Detroit talk about how important the college basketball conference tournaments are for some teams and also discuss: Conference tournaments are purest handicap of the season and other various handicapping angles.