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The #2 seed Marquette Golden Eagles will clash with the #7 seed St. John’s Red Storm in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament Thursday night from Madison Square Garden. The Golden Eagles registered a 23-8 record with a 12-6 clip in Big East action, and the Red Storm went 20-11 in regular season play with an 8-11 record in conference action. St. John’s beat Marquette in both meetings this season, winning by a score of 86-69 and 70-69.
Ponds Leads St. John’s Past DePaul in 1st Round
The St. John’s Red Storm snapped a three-game losing streak in a convincing 82-74 win against DePaul in the first round of the conference tourney on Wednesday night. The Red Storm converted on 46.3% of their field goals while holding DePaul to a 43.1% efficiency. Red Storm’ leading scorer Shamorie Ponds was outstanding in the winning effort, collecting 18 points on 7 for 11 shooting. The junior guard is consistently producing, netting at least 18 points in three straight games, and he is posting 19.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG on the season. Ponds was a force against Marquette this season, scoring 26 and 28 points in the two meetings.
Mustapha Heron is also in a groove, going 10 for 22 from the field in his last two games for a combined 28 points. The junior guard is shooting a solid 45.7% on the season, and he stands second in team scoring with an average of 15.1 points.
— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) March 14, 2019
The Red Storm are currently placed 77th overall in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings, and ESPN has them as a #11 seed for NCAA Tournament in their latest Bracketology update. St. John’s usually relies on their offense to win games, and they are currently averaging 78.2 points, ranking them 53rd in the country. The Red Storm are conceding an average of 74.4 points, pegging them 255th overall.
Marquette Closes Season with Four Straight Losses
The #23 Marquette Golden Eagles enter the conference tournament on a surprising four-game losing streak. Marquette still managed to finish 2nd in the conference however, they could have won the Big East with two more wins. Golden Eagles’ top scorer Markus Howard was productive in the four-game slide, scoring at least 25 points in three out of his last four games. The junior guard came through with multiple 30+ point performances, and he is averaging 25 PPG on 43% shooting. Howard netted a combined 25 points in two games against St. John’s this season.
Sam Hauser is also a big threat, however, he was out of sync as the season concluded, shooting below 20% in two out of his last three games. The junior forward recorded four double-doubles in conference play, and he is averaging 14.8 PPG and 7.1 RPG on the season.
— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) March 13, 2019
The Golden Eagles finished the season ranked 23rd overall in the AP Top 25, and they are projected as a #5 seed for the NCAA Tournament in ESPN’s latest update of Bracketology. Marquette wasn’t as productive offensively in their four-game skid, and they are averaging 77.4 points on the season, ranking them 65th overall. The Golden Eagles are holding opponents to 69.2 points, placing them 122nd overall.
The Marquette Golden Eagles are:
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
The St. John’s Red Storm are:
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against Marquette.
- over is 5-1 in their last 6 neutral site games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am siding with St. John’s in this contest. St. John’s was terrific against Marquette this season, defeating them both times, and they limited the high-scoring Golden Eagles to only 69 points in both meetings. This is practically a home game for St. John’s who play in New York City, and they have already played at Madison Square Garden this season.
Furthermore, Marquette struggled as the season winded down, losing each of their last four games. They have gone cold offensively, scoring 64 or fewer points in three out of their last four games. Also, Marquette’s top scorer Markus Howard went a poor 7 for 32 from the field in two games against St. John’s this season.
Prediction: St. John’s Red Storm
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect a high-scoring battle in this one. The Red Storm have scored over 80 points in two out of their last three games, and their leading scorer Shamorie Ponds continues to shine, plus the over is 4-0 in their last four games overall.
In addition, while I expect the Red Storm to contain Marquette, the Golden Eagles rank 9th in the country with a 39.4% shooting percentage from three-point range, and St. John’s three-point defense stands at 167th in the country.
Full-Game Prop Bet
I am opting with the under on the Marquette team total. The Golden Eagles have only shot 38% and 34% from the field in their last two games. St. John’s was able to neutralize their offense by holding them to 69 points in both meetings this season, and Markus Howard only averaged 12.5 points in two games against St. John’s this season.
Prediction: Marquette Team Total: Under
Half-Time Side Pick
I am sticking with St. John’s on the halftime line. The Red Storm outscored Marquette by 10 and 8 points respectively in the first half in their two meetings this season. Also, the Red Storm are averaging a solid 38 points in the first half in their last three games.
Prediction: St. John’s