Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Texas Longhorns Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 6th 2023

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Eighth-ranked Marquette will look to bounce back from an in-state upset when it hosts No. 12 Texas in the Big East-Big 12 Battle on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.

It also will be the first time Golden Eagles coach Shaka Smart faces Texas, where he coached for six seasons before taking the Marquette job prior to the 2021-22 campaign.

Marquette (6-2) is coming off a 75-64 loss at Wisconsin on Saturday that dropped the Golden Eagles from the No. 3 spot in the AP poll. Marquette, which trailed by 16 late in the first half, got within 52-51 with just under 12 1/2 minutes left in the game but failed to find a go-ahead bucket in the heated annual rivalry.

“We always break our games down culturally, defensively and offensively, and we weren’t good enough in any of those three phases (Saturday),” Smart said following the loss.

Texas (6-1) defeated Texas State 77-58 on Thursday behind a season-high 26 points from Max Abmas.

Against Wisconsin, the Golden Eagles were outrebounded 38-23, allowing 15 offensive boards that the Badgers parlayed into an 18-2 advantage in second-chance points. Marquette also was 7-for-29 (24.1 percent) from 3-point range.

“We clearly have a long way to go building our championship habits on the defensive end,” Smart said. “Guarding the basketball, blocking out and rebounding, being quicker to the ball, defeating screens, contesting outside shots. Clearly.”

The Golden Eagles average 79.3 points per game while allowing 67.0. They force 16 turnovers per game, outscoring opponents 19.3 to 8.3 in points off turnovers. Marquette is being outrebounded by four boards per game.

Kam Jones averages a team-best 16.4 points per game, Tyler Kolek adds 13.5 and Oso Ighodaro averages 12.6 along with a team-high 6.4 rebounds.

Marquette has played a grueling schedule so far, with wins over then-No. 1 Kansas, then-No. 23 Illinois and UCLA. The Golden Eagles fell 78-75 to then-No. 2 Purdue.

Texas took their lone loss against fifth-ranked UConn, 81-71 on Nov. 20 in the final of the Empire Classic in New York.

Against Texas State, the Longhorns trailed 50-49 with 10:45 remaining but closed the game with 28-8 run.

“It’s a 40-minute game,” Texas coach Rodney Terry said after the victory. “You have to continue to work the game the entire time. So, great learning from us. We’ll learn a lot from this game and we’ll try to continue to get better in the areas we need to get better.”

Abmas averages 16.7 points per game to pace a balanced attack that has four other double-figure scorers. Kadin Shedrick averages 14.2 points, Ithiel Horton 12.6, Tyrese Hunter 12.0 and Dillon Mitchell 11.6. The Longhorns average 81.3 points, while allowing 65.9.

Hunter, who transferred to Texas after being selected Big 12 Freshman of the Year at Iowa State in 2021-22, played his high school ball in Racine, Wis., at St. Catherine’s, which went 53-1 in his final two seasons there. Racine is about 30 miles south of Milwaukee.

Mitchell averages a team-high 8.9 rebounds for Texas, which has a 4.8-rebound advantage per game on the boards.

At Texas, Smart compiled a 109-86 (.559) record and guided the Longhorns to three NCAA Tournament appearances.

Marquette and Texas have met just once. The Golden Eagles came away with a 65-56 win in the championship game of the Milwaukee Classic on Dec. 27, 1977.

–Field Level Media

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