Xavier Musketeers vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Pick & Prediction MARCH 9th 2024

Eighth-ranked Marquette will look to head into the Big East tournament with some momentum and avoid its first three-game skid of the season when it visits Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati.

Marquette (22-8, 13-6) enters the regular-season finale for both teams coming off a 74-67 loss Wednesday to No. 2 UConn in Milwaukee.

“I know we lost,” Oso Ighodaro said, “but our goal for the season wasn’t to beat UConn at home. Our goal for the season was to win a national championship. We still haven’t done that, and that’s what I want my legacy to be.”

Ighodaro and Tyler Kolek were honored before the game on Senior Night. Kolek could miss his third straight game Saturday due to an oblique injury.

Marquette has dropped both games without Kolek, marking the second time it has lost two consecutive contests this season.

Kam Jones, Marquette’s leading scorer at an average of 16.2 points per game, has picked up the offensive slack in Kolek’s absence. Jones didn’t disappoint Wednesday with 18 points in the loss to UConn.

Ighodaro collected 16 points and eight rebounds in his battle with UConn big man Donovan Clingan.

“We’ve seen it all this season,” Ighodaro said. “We just keep fighting. Keep battling. Hopefully we get Tyler back soon and get even more healthy. Everyone’s bodies start to recover a little bit. And we’re the best us in the tournament. That’s the plan.”

Xavier (15-15, 9-10) is looking to finish its regular season with a break-even mark in conference play on Senior Day at Cintas Center.

The Musketeers had their modest two-game winning streak snapped with a 72-66 loss to Butler on Wednesday night in Indianapolis.

Also on the line for the Musketeers is Big East tournament seeding. They are seeking a win, combined with a UConn win over Providence and a Creighton victory over Villanova, to avoid playing in the 8-9 seed matchup in the tourney opener on Wednesday.

Xavier also was shorthanded. The Musketeers played their first game without freshman Dailyn Swain, who underwent a successful appendectomy Monday night and is out indefinitely.

“We’ve been undermanned, to some degree, from the onset of this season. Now we move to a different category,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said. “You could feel it during the game. We fought to the end. I’m proud of our guys. Butler had a great crowd, and this was their final home game of the year.”

Xavier couldn’t overcome an early 17-0 run by Butler on Wednesday that gave the Bulldogs a 20-4 lead.

“We were in jeopardy of letting the score get lopsided, and that did not happen,” Miller added.

Xavier had beaten the bottom two teams in the conference — DePaul and Georgetown — before losing to Butler.

The Musketeers are led by grad student Quincy Olivari at an average of 19.1 points per game, while sophomore Desmond Claude is averaging 16.1.

–Field Level Media

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