BYU pulled off a miracle rally to win its Play-In game, and faces another tough task as the No. 14 seed against Marquette.
But here's where it gets interesting for Vegas bettors and bracket poolies alike -- the scores prediction engine is calling an upset here. It hasn't happened since Ohio thumped Georgetown in 2010.
"Marquette looked strong down the stretch, but maybe the computer sees something that the handicappers don't," said Mark Presley of OddsShark.com. "They did lose to the aforementioned Cardinals in the Big East tournament last week."
The point spread has remained surprisingly tight, even though the Zags don't have much history in covering spreads (they are just 2-7 ATS past 9 tournament games). The OVER has been the better bet when the Zags are in action at tournament time (10-2 past 12 games).
(14) BYU (26-8) 2:45 p.m. EST
(3) Marquette (25-7)
Predicted Score: 83-82 BYU
Pick: Cougars +5.5
How They Match Up:
The game also pits Marquette's 31st-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 percent so far, less than the Cougars' marksmen have achieved on the year, 46.8 percent 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 the victory over Iona 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).
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