Saturday's Best NCAAB Bets
Marquette Golden Eagles at Connecticut Huskies (-2, 139)
Struggling UConn needs another strong game from freshman center Andre Drummond and junior Alex Oriakhi against undersized Marquette, which has been without 6-foot-11 center Chris Otule (torn ACL) for most of the season.
The Golden Eagles will spread the Huskies out with a 4-out, 1-in motion offense to take advantage of UConn's porous perimeter defense. The Golden Eagles lead the Big East in assists (17.5) and are second in scoring (76.7).
The roles are reversed from last season when it was Buzz Williams’ team that needed a quality win to boost its NCAA Tournament chances. Darius Johnson-Odom scored nine of his 17 points in overtime and Marquette left Hartford with a 74-67 win over then-No. 14 UConn.
Oriahki had 12 points and 15 rebounds.The Golden Eagles have won nine of 10 by using their helter-skelter style to wreak havoc on opponents. Marquette, which is third in the Big East in steals (8.8), scored 25 points off 14 turnovers in Saturday’s win 95-78 win over Cincinnati.
Pick: Golden Eagles
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Kansas Jayhawks (-25.5, 127.5)
Texas Tech traveling to Allen Fieldhouse for a meeting with No. 5 Kansas is just about the most lopsided matchup possible in the Big 12. The Jayhawks, who are tied with No. 3 Missouri atop the conference, are in solid contention for their eighth straight league title.
The Red Raiders, by contrast, picked up their first Big 12 victory a week ago. Texas Tech has seven freshmen on its roster, while Kansas is much more seasoned with senior guard Tyshawn Taylor and junior big man Thomas Robinson, a national player of the year frontrunner, leading the way.
There is no doubt that Robinson is the Jayhawks’ go-to player inside, but 7-footer Jeff Withey has burst onto the scene to help create perhaps the best one-two inside punch in the country.
Withey, a redshirt junior, is averaging 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.3 blocks over the past three games since being held scoreless in a loss at Missouri on Feb. 4. Withey has 53 blocks in conference play, which is more than twice as many as any other Big 12 player.