Murray State vs Marquette

Murray State vs Marquette Prediction: Betting Odds, Line & Pick The Murray State Racers battle the Marquette Golden Eagles in what should be an intriguing No. 5 vs. No. 12 game in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon. Marquette will be more pressured to advance but Murray State has enough talent to surprise them.

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Murray State vs Marquette

Murray State point guard Ja Morant has had a breakout sophomore season and he’s emerged as a projected lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Morant leads the Racers with 24.6 points and 10.0 rebounds and he’ll have OVC Defensive Player of the Year Shaq Buchanan (13.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals) and freshman Tevin Brown (11.7 points per game, 37.0 percent from 3-point range) as solid pieces around him.

There’s a recipe that Murray State can use in order to beat Marquette but it all comes down to how focused they are. Marquette is vulnerable, they have lost five of their last six games, including two setbacks against Seton Hall.

Ja Morant will have his hands full guarding junior point guard Markus Howard, who’s also built his own draft stock, averaging 25.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.1 steals this season. This is a can’t-miss contest, the matchup between Morant and Howard alone will be exciting and we could witness one of the first upsets of the NCAA Tournament here.

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Murray State has to contain the Hauser Brothers, Marquette’s other leaders on offense. Sam Hauser averages 14.9 points, a team-best 7.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists, so the Racers need to keep him off the glass. He’s also making 40.1 percent of his 3-point shots. His younger brother Joey is also productive, averaging 9.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists on 43.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Sam and Joey Hauser are 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-9 respectively and their length and versatility can give Murray State some issues, as just three of their 13 players are 6-foot-8 or over. The Racers have a clear disadvantage and preventing big performances from them is a must if they want to be competitive in this game.

The Racers also have to defend the 3-point line. The Golden Eagles live and die by the 3. They went 11-2 when they made 10 3-pointers or more and 13-7 when they made less than 10 3-pointers. Markus Howard and Sam Hauser average 15.0 3-point attempts per game between them and if Murray State can force them to miss shots early Marquette can get desperate.

The Murray State Racers are capable of pulling off an upset, Ja Morant will be his typical self, trading baskets with Markus Howard and as long as he gets some production from his supporting cast they will at least cover.

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