Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Connecticut Huskies Pick & Prediction MARCH 6th 2024

If No. 8 Marquette wants to extract home-court revenge against No. 2 UConn in a Big East Conference showdown Wednesday night in Milwaukee, the Golden Eagles will have to do it without star guard Tyler Kolek.

Marquette announced Monday that Kolek, who leads the nation with 7.6 assists per game, will miss the final two games of the regular season with an oblique injury.

Kolek, the reigning Big East Player of the Year, did not play in the Golden Eagles’ 89-75 loss at then-No. 12 Creighton on Saturday after suffering the injury in the previous game, against Providence.

“We’re going to be really, really aggressive in trying to help him move forward to get ready to go,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said after the Creighton game. “At the same time, he’ll play when he’s ready to play, just like any other injury.”

Marquette has won 11 of its past 13 games, and UConn is even hotter, having won 16 of 17.

UConn (26-3, 16-2) routed Seton Hall 91-61 on Sunday to win its first outright Big East regular-season title in 25 years. In their first meeting of the season, on Feb. 17, the Huskies pounded a full-strength Marquette 81-53.

At Creighton, Marquette (22-7, 13-5) also was without its top big man, Oso Ighodaro, who was out with an illness.

For UConn, Donovan Clingan had 19 points and 11 rebounds to help UConn beat Seton Hall on Sunday and finish 16-0 at home this season. Freshman Stephon Castle matched his career high with 21 points and Tristen Newton had 17 points and 10 assists.

“Next to a Final Four or winning a national championship, I think winning the regular season of a conference like this is the hardest thing to do,” said UConn coach Danny Hurley. “Harder than the Big East tournament, because you’ve got to earn it in a true round robin.”

The Huskies shot 55.9 percent from the field against Seton Hall, including 62.1 percent in the second half. They also scored 24 points off 11 turnovers and had a 52-30 advantage on points in the paint.

UConn averages 81.6 points per game while allowing 64.0.

The Huskies have five players who average in double figures in scoring, led by Newton at 15.3 per game. He also averages a team-best 7.1 rebounds. Cam Spencer averages 14.8 points, Alex Karaban 13.9, Clingan 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, and Castle 11.3 points.

Despite being without two of its top players on Saturday, Marquette trailed Creighton by just two points with 4:26 to play, before the Bluejays hit four 3-pointers for a 12-2 run. Kam Jones finished with 23 points and David Joplin 21 for the Golden Eagles.

Jones averages a team-leading 16.1 points, and Kolek adds 15.0 points and is second with an average of 4.7 rebounds per game. Ighodaro averages 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds.

In their first meeting of the season last month, UConn was ranked No. 1 and Marquette No. 4, and the Huskies’ 28-point margin of victory marked the largest in a top-five conference game in the history of the AP Poll.

The Huskies closed the first half with a 26-10 run for a 42-26 lead at the break and were in control the rest of the way. Clingan had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the game as UConn pounded Marquette in rebounding, 45-27.

UConn has won six of the past eight games vs. Marquette and leads the overall series 9-7.

–Field Level Media

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