NCAA Tournament 2012 Picks: Murray State Racers vs. Marquette Golden Eagles

No. 6 Murray State Racers vs. No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles
Saturday, 3/17/12, 5:15 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Marquette -4.5
Current Betting Line:  Marquette -5
Opening Total:  140
Current Total:  142
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Forward Jae Crowder will lead the Marquette Golden Eagles against the Murray State Racers on Saturday

Murray State goes for its second win of the 2012 NCAA Tournament when taking on the 3rd seeded Marquette Golden Eagles in the third round of the West Region inside the KFC Yum! Center.  “We’ve come a long way as a team,” commented Racers guard Isaiah Canaan.  The Racers are 3-14 all-time in the Big Dance and are making their 15th appearance.  The program is trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.  Murray State is 10-4 ATS when playing a team with a winning record this year and the “under” is 8-6 in that situation.

The Racers entire starting five saw action in 2010 NCAA Tournament when beating the Vanderbilt Commodores before losing to the Butler Bulldogs.  Canaan is the offensive leader, averaging 19 points a game and shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc.  Murray State earned a bid to the event in winning its third straight Ohio Vally Conference regular season championship.  The Racers captured a 58-41 win over the Colorado State Rams as five-point favorites in the second round on Thursday.

Marquette earned a convincing 88-68 win over the BYU Cougars in the second round and have now gone “over” the total in eight of the last 10 games.  The Golden Eagles have matched up with the Racers just once in school history, posting an 82-62 victory in the 1969 NCAA Tournament.  Senior Jae Crowder has been awesome down the stretch in earning Big East Player of the Year honors, while scoring 25 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in 35 minutes versus the Cougars.  Marquette is 11-10 ATS when playing on a neutral court the last two-plus years.

The Golden Eagles are playing in their seventh-straight NCAA Tournament and will be looking to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second-straight season.  Marquette is known as a physical team and Murray State head coach Steve Prohm knows his team must match the intensity.  “They are some physical, physical guys,” commented Prohm on Friday.  “Their style of play is about being physical and tough.”  Marquette shot 43.6 percent from the floor and held BYU to 37.9 percent shooting.

Bettors will likely back the Racers due to their 4-0 ATS mark in the NCAA Tournament, while the Golden Eagles are 8-9 ATS in March the last two-plus years.

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