The Big 12 has rolled off six consecutive victories in the Big East-Big 12 Battle, winning the competition for the first time. These conferences had finished tied in each of the past three seasons following the Big East’s win in 2019, the event’s inaugural year.
Shaka Smart went 0-3 for the Big 12 while serving as head coach at Texas, the school that bought him out in 2021 after sixth season at the helm. He resurfaced at Marquette and earned National Coach of the Year honors in 2022-23 and will be facing the Longhorns for the first time since his exit.
Texas looks to add to the Big 12’s 7-3 edge in the Big East-Big 12 Battle, but it does so in an underdog role on the road against a talented team guided by Smart.
Handicapping Texas vs. Marquette odds and props requires identifying whether the new-look Longhorns have enough to pull off an upset in their first true road game of 2023-24.
Marquette is looking to avoid consecutive losses for the first time since 2022. The Longhorns are aiming to beat their first nationally ranked opponent of the season after coming up short against defending champion UConn in the Empire Classic final back on Nov. 20.
This will be their toughest test until Big 12 play begins in January.
Texas vs. Marquette odds: Point spread, moneyline, total
Here are the latest college basketball betting odds for the Longhorns vs. Golden Eagles:
Texas betting news: Longhorns facing lone true road test on nonconference schedule
Rodney Terry is in his first full season as head coach after taking over for Chris Beard last December, so he’s approaching nearly a full year on the job. Terry took the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed following a Big 12 Tournament title, so he earned the full-time job and has won plenty of big games upon moving over to the head seat in Austin, but this season’s group is still coming together.
Texas (6-1 SU, 2-5 ATS) was beaten 81-71 by UConn in its only game against a ranked opponent to date, and its best win came in an 86-63 rout of Wyoming on Nov. 26. It will face LSU in Houston on Dec. 16, but this will be the team’s only true road game until a Jan. 9 conference game at Cincinnati.
Oral Roberts transfer Max Abmas, who already has a game-winner to his credit in an Empire Classic semifinal win over Louisville, scored a season-high 26 points last Thursday in a 77-58 win over Texas State. In that same game, bigs Dillon Mitchell and Kadin Shedrick each posted double-doubles.
Mitchell added four blocks and played 38 minutes, breaking out for the best performance of his short career. The 6-foot-8 sophomore averaged 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds last season despite being the school’s top recruit, so it will be interesting to see how the former McDonald’s All-American fares coming off an 11-point, 11-rebound game. Mitchell, one of this season’s X-factors, scored 21 points against UConn and is averaging 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds over his last three games.
His development is all the more important since Texas is still awaiting the return of 6-foot-9 forward Dylan Disu, one of the team’s leaders, who has an injured foot, and remains at least another week away from a return to action.
Wisconsin native Tyrese Hunter will look to help the Longhorns pull off an upset by helping them stand strong as they play their first true road game. The senior floor general leads Texas in assists (4.1) and will be tasked with disrupting the rhythm of a Marquette team led by one of the nation’s best at his position, senior counterpart Tyler Kolek.
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Marquette betting news: Battle-tested Golden Eagles seek bounce-back win
The Golden Eagles (6-2, 6-2) come off their worst loss of the season, a 75-64 loss to in-state rival Wisconsin in Madison over the weekend. Marquette was pushed around from start to finish and was outrebounded 38-23 while shooting just 24.1 percent from 3-point range (7-for-29). Marquette never led in a disappointing performance, so this is most certainly a bounce-back spot.
There’s no doubting the talent or experience of Smart’s Golden Eagles, as they haven’t lost consecutive games since his first season on the job. It’s still going to be interesting to see how they bounce back from such a rough effort, especially since all of their outings have been so promising.
Marquette owns a true road win over Illinois in the Gavitt Tip-Off games and knocked off then-No. 1 Kansas in the Maui Invitational before coming up just short in the championship game against another team that ascended to the nation’s top ranking, Purdue.
It also earned a dramatic win over UCLA out in Hawaii and nearly erased a 17-point deficit at Wisconsin on Saturday thanks to a 17-2 run. The Golden Eagles then failed to record a field goal for over seven minutes despite a loaded roster comprised of willing passers who typically excel making plays for one another.
Six-foot-11 center Oso Ighodaro finished with a season-low five points and a season-worst four turnovers, so his response to a brutal effort will be telling. Smart said there were some tears shed in the locker room following the frustrating loss at Wisconsin, and his team is expected to come out with great intensity as they look to get their coach a win against the team that unceremoniously fired him just a couple of years ago.
The first few minutes of this matchup should be telling, and Smart told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he hopes his team displays more “championship habits” after suffering through Saturday’s humbling setback.
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Texas vs. Marquette player props
Ighodaro averaged 3.3 assists last season, but has registered more than two only twice in his first eight contests. Look for him to facilitate in this one since Kolek will have his hands full against Hunter, one of the nation’s peskiest defenders. Ride the over on the Marquette center’s assist total of 2.5.
Texas’ Mitchell is really beginning to blossom and will be one of the most physically gifted players on the floor at Fiserv Forum. He took a step forward in the loss to UConn and is brimming with confidence in emerging as one of his team’s top players after taking a backseat as a freshman. Look for Mitchell to surpass his points + rebounds + assists figure of 19.5.
If you’re looking for someone to fade, it has to be Abmas, whose points total is set at just 15.5 in what appears to be a trap. Abmas has averaged over 20 points per game throughout his career and led the nation with a scoring clip of 24.5 in 2020-21, but he’s down at 16.7 this season despite coming off his best game and may take time to adjust to a new building, having shot a dismal 10-for-33 at Madison Square Garden in a pair of Empire Classic games.
A host of talented Marquette athletes will be tasked with disrupting the diminutive scorer’s rhythm, so backing the under on his scoring total seems like a good bet.
Big East-Big 12 Battle: Texas vs. Marquette ATS pick
Between the Golden Eagles coming out angry and intense following their listless performance at Wisconsin, their desire to win this one convincingly for their beloved coach, and Texas playing a true road game for the first time, there are a lot of ingredients for a blowout in place.
Smart is probably less interested with sticking it to Texas than seeing his group respond following an awful performance, but in this case, they happen to go hand-in-hand.