BYU vs. Marquette -5 O/U 153.5
It was a great comeback win for BYU in its play-in game against Iona but plenty of red flags suggest this team simply isn’t ready for the step up in class they’ll face in this matchup. For the Cougars, their Cinderella story ends today.
BYU repeatedly failed when stepping up against quality opponents in 2011-12. They were blown out by the two best teams in the WCC every time they traveled; the Cougars suffered a 19-point loss to Gonzaga in the conference tournament, an 11-point loss to the Zags away and a 16-point loss to St. Mary’s away. Their one big step up away from home against a “power conference” school? A 17-point loss to Wisconsin.
We should note that’s the same Wisconsin team that got beat down by Marquette in Madison earlier this year. The Golden Eagles will have the two best players on the court in Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. They’ll bring the better defense to the table which is especially impressive considering they faced a much more difficult schedule. This is a team that will harass the ball and force turnovers, bad news for BYU who just committed 20 against Iona.
And Marquette brings a toughness and maturity that comes not just from banging in the Big East all year but also from a strong tournament run a season ago with much the same roster that knocked off both Xavier and Syracuse in the Big Dance.
The buy back on this game seems unwarranted to me. We’ll jump in with the Golden Eagles.