NCAA Basketball Picks: Seton Hall Pirates vs. Marquette Golden Eagles

Seton Hall Pirates at No. 15 Marquette Golden Eagles
Tuesday, 1/31/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  Marquette -9
Current Betting Line:  Marquette -8.5
Opening Total:  137
Current Total:  139.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Seton Hall Pirates forward Herb Pope has really struggled over the past 10 games

Seton Hall has dropped its last four games in straight-up and against-the-spread fashion, as it comes in off a 60-51 defeat to the Louisville Cardinals as one-point home favorites.  “We’re lacking a lot of confidence and it’s kind of making us a step slow,” stated Pirates head coach Kevin Willard.  The Pirates are led by the three starters that average in double figures, with senior guard Jordan Theodore leading the way in averaging 16.1 points per game.  Senior forward Herb Pope is right behind him in averaging a double-double in points and rebounds.  Seton Hall is 0-4 ATS as a road underdog of 6.5 to 9 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Pirates are 2-8 all-time in their series versus the Golden Eagles, picking up an 85-72 victory in the last meeting as one-point home favorites.  Seton Hall can only hope that Pope is able to find some extra energy down the stretch, averaging just 9.9 points and shooting 36 percent from the field over the last 10 games.  The program has dropped 22 of 23 road games versus ranked competition.

Marquette is enjoying a six-game win streak and has gone “over” the total in three of four games during its current run.  The Golden Eagles have also covered their last four games, including an 82-78 win over the Villanova Wildcats as 3.5-point road favorites on Saturday.  The program is 11-1 inside the Bradley Center this year and has outscored its opponents by an average of 17.7 points a game.  Marquette is 20-6 ATS in January the last two-plus campaigns.

The Golden Eagles have been shooting the ball well over the past three weeks, hitting 41.1 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, while nailing down 73.4 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.  Guard Darius Johnson-Odom is the main threat on the perimeter, averaging 18.5 points per game.  Marquette moves the ball around as good as any team in the country, ranking sixth nationally in averaging 17.5 assists per game.  Dating back to the start of the 2008-09 campaign, the program is 64-5 when finishing with a even-or-better field goal percentage than its opponents.

Bettors will likely back the Pirates due to their 12-5 ATS mark versus winning teams, while the Golden Eagles are 1-5 ATS as a favorite of 7 to 12.5 points.

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