UConn and Marquette will both try to get their first Big East win of the season as the Huskies meet the Golden Eagles at the Fiserv Forum on Tuesday night. Let’s take a look at the NCAAB odds for this matchup.
Connecticut Huskies vs. Marquette Golden Eagles
Tuesday, December 21, 2021 – 09:00 PM EST at Fiserv Forum
Connecticut lost its conference opener, at home to Providence, by four in the last game, its second loss in the last three, to drop to 9-3. All three losses this season have been by four points or less, to Providence, West Virginia and Michigan State.
Marquette has lost it's last two and three of four, including its Big East opener to Xavier on Saturday, to drop to 8-4.
Connecticut has been playing short-handed in recent games, with injuries to Adama Sanogo and Tyrese Martin. Martin injured his wrist on Nov. 24, in a win over current No. 12 Auburn in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The senior wing was averaging 13.1 points and 7.4 rebounds. He missed four games before returning against Providence.
“Not sure if there will be a minutes restriction on him, relative to conditioning,” said coach Dan Hurley before the game. “Everything looks really good for him unless something bad happens.”
Clearly, he was feeling fine, as Martin logged 33 minutes against Providence, his second-longest outing of the season. He scored 15 points with five rebounds in the game.
Sanogo, a sophomore center, has also missed four games as he battles an abdominal injury. He is averaging 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds. He was able to practice on Monday for the first time, and Hurley said he might be available for limited minutes against Marquette.
“He’s doing more,” Hurley said. “He desperately wants to be out there. We’ll see how he feels after he does a lot more than he’s been doing. Could he give us some spot minutes? We’ll see.”
The two injuries helped UConn develop depth Freshman Jordan Hawkins took Martin’s place in the starting lineup when he was out, and junior Akok Akok saw expanded minutes while Sanogo recovered.
Hawkins averaged 23.8 minutes and 8.3 points in the four games Martin missed, up from 13 minutes and 6.5 points. Akok went from 13 minutes and 4.1 ppg to 25.5 and 6.0.
“I think it forced other guys to step up and it probably helped the team in the long run, actually,” guard Jalen Gaffney said. “I don’t like injuries in sports, but it definitely helped the team, helped players find their confidence.”
Finding His Stride
While Marquette has struggled in the last four games, taking losses at Wisconsin and Xavier and at home to UCLA, the Golden Eagles have seen one of their key players get on track. Redshirt junior Greg Elliott averaged 20 points over that tough stretch of games that also included a one-point win over Kansas State.
Elliott had been slow to find his footing this season, after missing Marquette’s exhibition game and the first four games of the year due to a suspension for violation of team rules. He then averaged just over nine minutes an outing in his first four games on the floor, taking a total of just seven shots, and making two.
Elliott is 18-of-34, .529, since. He joins Justin Lewis (15.3 ppg and 7.8 rebounds) and Darryl Morsell (13.8 ppg), giving the Golden Eagles three scoring threats on the floor.
Both teams have played challenging non-conference schedules and should be ready for the heart of the Big East season. UConn has an advantage on the boards as well as the tougher defense.
This is just the second true road game of the year for the Huskies, however, and Sanogo’s return could shake up some of the chemistry the team has found in recent games. Look for Marquette to cover as a home dog for your NCAAB pick tonight.
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