BYU comeback gives them Marquette
Marquette knows it better let the foot off the gas if they get ahead of BYU in West Region action, after seeing what the Cougars did in the play-in game.
The Cougars rallied from 25 points down to beat Iona in Dayton and earn the West's No. 14 seed. They get 3-seed Marquette, who lost to Louisville in the Big East tournament. BYU lost to Gonzaga in the WCC finals.
Of note, 3 seeds have dominated the betting in the first round against No. 14s for several years (No. 3 is 11-5 ATS past 4 seasons vs 14s). [ Watch the opening line for this game at Bovada and check out their bracket contest ]
This game is being played at a neutral-site court (KFC Yum! Center).
The Golden Eagles currently sports a 25-7 record overall in NCAAB action, and have posted a corresponding betting slate of 15-12-2 ATS. The Cougars are 26-8 and 15-15 ATS. Betting totals have seen the Golden Eagles produce a 18-11 OVER/UNDER record on the season, while the Cougars have gone 11-19 against the number.
Power Rankings / Prediction:
The Odds Shark Power Rankings have the Golden Eagles at No. 21 and the Cougars at No. 14 heading into this contest. Handicapping models at Odds Shark project a 83-82 result in favor of the Cougars.
How They Match Up:
The game also pits Marquette's No. 31-ranked offense, averaging 75.9 PPG, against a Cougars defense that ranks No. 170 at 66.8 PPG. The Golden Eagles field goal percentage has averaged 45.9% so far, less than the Cougars marksmen have achieved on the year, 46.8% per game.
Defensively, BYU features the nation's No. 135-rated defense on the road, allowing 68.3 points per game. Marquette, meanwhile, comes in at No. 31 nationally in scoring at home.
BYU won its last outing, a 78-72 result against Iona on March 13. They covered in that game as a 1.5-point favorite. BYU got 23 points from Noah Hartsock en route to a 78-72 victory over Iona on Tuesday at Dayton Arena.
Marquette lost its last outing, an 84-71 result against Louisville on March 8. They failed to cover in that game as a 3.5-point favorite. Darius Johnson-Odom scored 23 points in a futile effort to lead the Golden Eagles to a win (they lost 84-71 to Louisville at Madison Square Garden on Thursday).