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UTEP vs. Marquette Prediction,
Preview,
and Odds - 12-4-2018

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#733 UTEP
Miners
#734 Marquette
Golden Eagles

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 8:40pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Game Stats

UTEP Miners

3 - 4

11-15
ATS
12-14
O/U
67
PPG
70
OPPG

Marquette Golden Eagles

6 - 2

16-17
ATS
20-13
O/U
81
PPG
78
OPPG

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UTEP at Marquette

When and Where: Tuesday, Dec. 4, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisc., 8:30 p.m. EST.

Coming off a signature victory and facing its bitter in-state rival this weekend, Marquette looks to avoid a trap-game scenario Tuesday night when it hosts UTEP.

Young Miners coming off first win over D-I foe

Starting three freshmen and a sophomore, first-year coach Rodney Terry is enduring some growing pains with UTEP (3-4). The Miners are already 0-3 on the road with losses by 27 at New Mexico State and 33 at Arizona.

After being swept by New Mexico State in its home-and-home series, UTEP broke through for its first win over a Division I opponent in emphatic fashion, routing Northwestern State 77-47 on Saturday.

Those three freshmen– Efe Odigie, Nigel Hawkins and Jordan Lathan — combined for 46 points and 19 rebounds for the Miners, who shot 50 percent, held the Demons to 34.8 percent shooting and forced 22 turnovers.

“I thought our guys came out and again the thing is we really try to challenge our guys with is continue to try and improve and build our offense and build our defense,” Terry told UTEP’s official website. “At this time of year so much is about each player trying to improve every single practice and every single game which makes it a process.”

Lathan and Odigie have been the C-USA Freshman of the Week the past two weeks, with Lathan averaging 7.3 points and 5.0 rebounds and Odigie averaging 14.3 points and a team-high 8.6 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Evan Gilyard is averaging a team-high 19.1 points and shooting 47.5 percent from 3-point range. UTEP’s biggest issue thus far has been valuing the ball — the Miners are averaging 17.9 turnovers and only 11.9 assists.

Howard shines, but improved Marquette defense getting job done

Marquette (6-2) has won three straight games since its second-half flameout against then-No. 2 Kansas in which it squandered a nine-point halftime lead and coming off its best effort of the season, an 83-71 victory over then-No. 12 Kansas State.

Markus Howard shook off the effects of food poisoning to score a season-high 45 points, sinking all seven of his shots from inside the arc and making 19 of 21 free throws. It was the junior’s second 40-point game of his career, trailing only his 52-point effort at Providence last season.

He is averaging 22.6 points and 4.8 assists, the latter number nearly double his 2017-18 mark of 2.8.

“People may only talk about Markus,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Obviously that’s a worthwhile storyline. I’d read the article. But I thought our defense on Wade and Brown, their two go-to guys, was huge.”

The numbers bear out Wojciechowski’s thoughts on his defense. After yielding 78.5 points per game and 47.8 percent shooting in 2017-18, the Golden Eagles are yielding 66.1 on 38.6 percent shooting through their first eight games.

Sam Hauser is contributing 15.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while younger brother and freshman Joey Hauser is averaging 9.9 points and 5.8 rebounds. Howard and the elder Hauser have combined to hit 50 3-pointers, and Marquette is averaging 9.5 treys.

After this game, the Golden Eagles — who are 5-0 in the new Fiserv Forum — will host archrival and 12th-ranked Wisconsin looking to beat the Badgers for the second straight year.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

It would not be surprising to see the Golden Eagles start slow before turning it on midway through the first half and then into the second half. Howard should be closer to 100 percent, a scary proposition considering what he did under the weather against Kansas State, and Marquette should be able to exploit a young UTEP team playing outside its region for the first time this season.

Prediction: Pick: Marquette -21

Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Marquette’s defense has been solid at home all season against mid-major opponents, holding four opponents to 52.8 points per game on 30.2 percent shooting. The Golden Eagles have scored 76 or fewer points in three of those contests, a good sign they can potentially cover this game while delivering on the under.

Prediction: Pick: UNDER 142 points

Half-Time Side Pick
Rating:

Marquette has enjoyed a double-digit lead after 20 minutes in four of its five home wins, including an 11-point advantage on Kansas State over the weekend. The Miners have been competitive in their three road games, not trailing by 11 points at halftime in any of them, but this is also their first road game out of their immediate region after contests in New Mexico, New Mexico State and Arizona.

Prediction: Pick: Marquette -12.5

Half-Time Total Bet
Rating:

Marquette has averaged 39.2 points in the first half of its five home games and scored at least 37 in four of those contests. The belief is the Golden Eagles are going to try and put this game to bed early against a young Miners team means they could take advantage of live-ball turnovers — UTEP has averaged 17.7 turnovers in its three road games — and carry them over the number in the opening 20 minutes.

Prediction: Pick: OVER 67 points

Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73)

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.

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