College Basketball Picks: South Florida Bulls vs. Marquette Golden Eagles

South Florida Bulls at No. 18 Marquette Golden Eagles
Tuesday, 1/24/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  Marquette -10.5
Current Betting Line:  Marquette -10.5
Opening Total:  126.5
Current Total:  126.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Marquette Golden Eagles are 16-3 SU all-time against the South Florida Bulls

South Florida will put its three-game winning streak on the line Tuesday night and total bettors will find that the “under” has cashed in the team’s last four games.  “It’s a little early to start making judgements about the Big East Conference power structure,” commented Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.  “This team is good.  South Florida can beat you.”  Bulls head coach Stan Heath had 77 percent of his scoring and 67.8 percent of his rebounding return from a year ago.  South Florida is 17-13 ATS on the road the last two-plus years.

The Bulls normally get off to a solid start defensively, holding 15 consecutive opponents to 30 points or less in the opening 20 minutes.  South Florida is enjoying its best start to a Big East campaign, posting wins in five of its first seven games.  Defensively, the program is first in the conference rankings in allowing just 57.7 points per game, while sitting 13th nationally.  On the offensive side, the return of junior guard Jawanza Poland has provided a lift, as he’s averaging 12.0 points over the past nine games after missing the first 11 due to a back injury.

Marquette shot 53.7 percent from the field in capturing a 79-72 road win over the Providence Friars, winning its fourth game in a row after dropping two consecutive games to Georgetown and Syracuse away from home.  The Golden Eagles have won 16 of 19 meetings with the Bulls, including a 63-52 win the last time they played in the Bradley Center on Feb. 13, 2010.  Marquette is 0-2 ATS as a home favorite of 9.5 to 12 points this year.

The Golden Eagles are led by senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom offensively, coming in averaging 18.2 points per game, which ranks third among Big East players and 41st nationally.  Forward Jae Crowder is another weapon, adding 16.3 points and grabbing 7.4 rebounds per game on 51.1 percent shooting.  Dating back to the start of the 2008-09 campaign, the Golden Eagles are 63-5 when finishing the game with a field goal percentage even-or-better than their opponents.

Bettors will likely back the Bulls due to their 5-1 ATS mark as an underdog, while the Golden Eagles are 0-5 ATS as a favorite of 7 to 12.5 points.

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