At the beginning of March, the Marquette Golden Eagles and Xavier Musketeers had the third- and fourth- shortest odds to win the Big East tourney. Now, they’re both headlining the biggest conference battle of the season as they each fight to claim their first Big East title.
Both programs have a combined one Big East championship appearance (Xavier, 2015) heading into Saturday, so this is nearly uncharted territory for these two teams. Let’s take a look at the Marquette vs. Xavier odds, along with our prediction, as we gear up for the championship game.
Marquette vs. Xavier Betting Lines
Marquette (between -134 and -140) is a 2- to 2.5-point favorite against Xavier (between +112 and +120), and the point total is set at 153.5 at top US sportsbooks.
NCAAB · Sat (3/11) @ 6:37pm ET
|XAV Xavier||at||MARQ Marquette|
|Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
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Marquette vs. Xavier Betting Preview
This is the best squad Marquette has had since joining the Big East in 2005. After winning the regular season title with a conference record of 17-3 (27-6 overall), the Golden Eagles had to go through St. John’s and UConn in its first two tournament contests.
They prevailed over St. John’s in overtime and beat UConn (the favorite to win the Big East coming into the tournament) by a combined four points to reach its first Big East title game in program history.
Offense is the name of the big for this Marquette team. It ranks second in points per game (80.4) and field-goal percentage (49.6%), as well as first in three-pointers made per game (8.8), in conference play. From a national standpoint, it ranks sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency (per KenPom).
The offense is dynamic and balanced, with four players averaging in double figures. Kam Jones leads the group at 15.1 per game, but right behind him is Tyler Kolek, who averages 13.1 points to go along with 7.8 dimes a night.
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Xavier went 15-5 in conference play to finish right behind Marquette for the regular-season title, but it was enough to clinch the second seed and a bye in the conference tournament.
The Musketeers struggled early against DePaul in the quarterfinals, but rallied back to win by five. The following day, they showed their true strength by crushing a tougher Creighton team by 22 points.
Like Marquette, Xavier favors the offensive side of the ball. It averages 81.6 points against Big East opponents (most in the conference) and boasts the 14th-highest adjusted offensive efficiency in the nation.
Marquette vs. Xavier Prediction
These two teams play very similar styles of basketball. Both squads are led by their offenses and have vulnerable defenses. It seems that they look to outscore their opponents, rather than stop their opponents on the defensive end.
Momentum is key to winning tournaments, and Marquette gets the nod in that department. They’re currently riding an eight-game winning streak, whereas Xavier has won its last five games.
The Golden Eagles were able to edge Xavier in their second meeting because they turned one of their weaknesses – rebounding – into a strength. Marquette out-boarded the Musketeers, 36-32, en route to a one-point victory.
A big reason for Marquette’s surprising success on the glass was because Xavier forward Zach Freemantle was out with a foot injury. Freemantle will miss the rest of the season after getting foot surgery, which is why we pick the Golden Eagles to win their very first Big East title.
Marquette vs. Xavier Broadcast and Game Day Information
- Game Day: Saturday, Mar. 11, 2023
- Game Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Madison Square Garden | New York, New York
- Channel: FOX
Also read: March Madness Odds: Marquette Outside Top 10
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