NCAA Basketball Picks: Marquette Golden Eagles vs. LSU Tigers

No. 11 Marquette Golden Eagles at LSU Tigers
Monday, 12/19/11, 9:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  Marquette -8
Current Betting Line:  Marquette -8.5
Opening Total:  136.5
Current Total:  137.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Marquette Golden Eagles will put their perfect record on the line Monday night

Marquette tallied a 61-54 win over the Wisconsin Badgers in its only true road game thus far during the 2011-12 campaign, as it travels to Baton Rouge and play inside the Maravich Center.  The Golden Eagles will welcome back Darius Johnson-Odom after being suspended for a game after violating an unspecified team rule.  Senior guard Todd Mayo picked up the slack in scoring a game-high 22 points.  Through games as of Saturday, Marquette was one of just eight undefeated programs, but that number dropped with Xavier losing Sunday.

The Golden Eagles have played the Tigers just once, tallying a 101-79 win in a semifinal matchup of the National Invitational Tournament.  Marquette is proud to field one of the deepest rosters in the country, with 10 active players currently averaging at least 11.0 minutes per game and six are managing to score at least 7.0 points per game.  It will certainly be displayed tonight without the services of starting center Chris Otule, who has been suffering from a knee injury the last couple weeks.  Getting to the free throw line is going to be an important factor in this contest, with Marquette making more shots from the charity stripe (196) than its opponents have attempted (162).

LSU has won six of its last seven games and will now take a big step up in class after coming away with a 66-59 win over the UC Irvine Anteaters last time out as 15-point home favorites.  The Tigers have held four straight opponents under 60 points for the first time since the 2006-07 season.  Head coach Trent Johnson is looking to capture his first home win against a ranked opponent since he arrived in the Bayou, dropping the first six games in that particular situation.  LSU is 4-0 ATS as an underdog this year.

The Tigers certainly know they are up against it Monday night against one of the more talented squads in the nation.  “They are an ‘attack-oriented’ basketball team,” stated Johnson in watching film this weekend.  “We need to stay poised and not get away from our game plan.”  Dropping its last 11 meetings versus ranked teams by an average of 15.8 points is going to be a huge obstacle to overcome.

Bettors will likely back the Golden Eagles due to their 6-2 ATS mark versus Southeastern Conference teams, while the Tigers are 13-17 ATS at home the last two-plus years.

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