Syracuse Orange at Marquette Golden Eagles, Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
Saturday, January 29, 2011, 3:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Marquette -2
Current Line: Marquette -2.5
Opening Total: 146
Current Total: 147
Money Line: Marquette -140 / Syracuse +120
The ninth-ranked Syracuse Orange (18-3, 5-3 Big East) will look to stop the bleeding and play improved defense when they visit the struggling Marquette Golden Eagles (13-8, 4-4) on Saturday. The Orange got off to a brilliant 18-0 start but have since dropped three games in a row – all in conference play – as opponents have figured out a way to crack their vaunted 2-3 zone thanks to successful 3-point shooting.
The Golden Eagles (-2.5) hope to become the next in line to get hot from beyond the arc against Syracuse, although that has not been one of their strengths in dropping three of their past four. Marquette is shooting just 38.4 percent from 3-point range at home this season while the Orange have done a good job defending the shot in three true road games.
But the last two games for Syracuse have seemingly broken the team’s defensive spirit, with Seton Hall and Villanova combining to sink 21 of 41 3-point attempts (51.2 percent), including 15 of 21 in the first half (71.4). Those poor starts have doomed the Orange, and another one here on the road could translate to the school’s longest skid in five years.
Guards Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche have also struggled offensively for the Orange during the losing streak, making only 20 of 63 shots from the field (31.7 percent). Freshman Dion Waiters has been pressed into more action lately due to their poor play, and he reportedly got into an argument with head coach Jim Boeheim during Tuesday’s shocking 90-68 home loss to the Pirates. Waiters went 0 for 4 in 14 minutes against Seton Hall, and rumors circulated that Boeheim was going to kick him off the team. Those rumors were put to bed when he practiced on Thursday after the team’s mandated day off.
Syracuse has not lost to the Golden Eagles since they joined the conference, going 4-0 straight-up and 3-1 against the spread in four meetings. The OVER has cashed in the last three games between the teams along with the past three games overall for the Orange.
Three of Marquette’s last four losses have taken place on the road, but the team is coming off a 76-68 home loss to Connecticut on Tuesday. The Golden Eagles led the Huskies 56-51 with nine minutes remaining thanks to a 13-2 run. However, UConn countered with a 13-0 run to pull off the victory. Marquette has failed to cover two straight following a streak of seven wins in a row ATS.
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