While there aren’t a ton of college basketball games on the schedule today, just 36 total, there are some blockbuster matchups! Eight of the nation’s top-25 will be in action today, and we have headlining games between Duke and Michigan State and Kansas and Kentucky.
If those marquee matchups between some of college basketball blue bloods aren’t enough, we also have some stellar games scheduled between North Carolina and Stanford, Texas and Indiana, USC and BYU, and Oklahoma State and Marquette.
— NCAA Final Four (@FinalFour) November 30, 2020
With so many great games on the docket for today, it should be an exciting day of college hoops action! For our free daily betting pick, we will head to the Fiserv Forum on the campus of Marquette University for a non-conference game between the Golden Eagles of Marquette and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The game is a part of the annual Big East – Big 12 Battle.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-0) at Marquette Golden Eagles (2-0)
- Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: FS1
The Marquette Golden Eagles host the Oklahoma State Cowboys tonight in a Big East – Big 12 Battle showdown. The Golden Eagles are learning to live without Markus Howard, who graduated last season after leading the nation in points per game last year and finishing his career as one of the best scorers in the history of the program. Marquette has picked up wins in each of their first two games of the season, admittedly against weak competition, and a resume-building non-conference win against a top-50 OK State team tonight would go a long way into sending the Golden Eagles to the NCAA tournament.
It's game day in the Cream City!
— OSU Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) December 1, 2020
For Oklahoma State, the Cowboys have the top freshman in the country in Cade Cunningham, and despite being in a position where they won’t be able to compete in the postseason due to an NCAA ban, the Cowboys are hoping to wreak havoc in the Big 12 this season. Ok State is 2-0, with wins over UT- Arlington and Texas Southern and would love to pick up a true road win tonight at Marquette.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-0)
Cade Cunningham is the real deal. This kid could have played anywhere in the world he wanted to and was a preseason first-team All-American despite having never taken the floor in an NCAA basketball game.
The Cowboys were slapped with an NCAA postseason ban for recruiting violations back in 2017, and Cunningham could have changed course and went to another school if he wanted to. But he didn’t, and having him in Stillwater instantly makes the Cowboys a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12.
In his first two games as a Cowboy, Cunningham lived up to all of that hype as he has been great. He scored at least 20 points in each of those games and posted a double-double in his first-ever game, going for 21 points and 10 boards against UTA. Cunningham is ready to play in the NBA right now and truly does it all as he has 41 points, 14 rounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in a combined 63 minutes of playtime.
Marquette Golden Eagles (2-0)
What has life looked like without Markus Howard on the floor for Marquette? Surprisingly, it hasn’t been all that bad. Howard took an NCAA leading 19-shots a game last season and replacing all of that production surely isn’t going to be easy. But Marquette has still managed to score points this year. The offense is nowhere near as efficient as last year’s squad, but they are greatly improved on defense, and they should be right around the cutline in March.
The Cowboys aren’t the only team with a stud freshman that is doing big things, as the Golden Eagles have freshman Dawson Garcia impressing this year. Garcia is a big man at 6-11 and has scored 17.5 points per game on 55% shooting from the field. Garcia isn’t going to be a high-volume shooter like Howard was, but he also isn’t going to jack up 19 shots a game, with many of them from the parking lot, like Howard was known to do.
Who Do I Like?
This is a fun early-season college basketball matchup. Both of these teams are similarly ranked, with OK State coming in at 35th on kenpom and Marquette ranked 28th. Neither of these teams have played tough competition, and this will be the biggest test of the season so far for both squads. So, how does this one play out?
If they were going to let Marquette pack the house and fill the stands tonight, I would say that the Golden Eagles should be prohibitive favorites. Of their 12 losses last season, only 3 of them came at home, and those losses came to Providence, Creighton, and Seton Hall, all top-40 teams that were going to be dancing if the tournament weren’t canceled.
But without fans in the stand, it makes me wonder why they are being priced so aggressively? We have seen that home-court advantage just doesn’t have the same pull as it normally does without the fans in the stands, and this line feels like it’s giving the Golden Eagles too much credit for being on their home floor. To me, this is a coin flip game at best.
If I had to pick an outright winner in this game, I would lean slightly towards Marquette. These are evenly matched teams that have some high-end talent, but in my opinion, nothing really separates these teams all that much. But to see Marquette laying -4-points against Cade Cunningham and Oklahoma State tells me that the books are valuing that home-court advantage a little too much. Last year in this exact same game, I would have thought this number was right on point.
But in a post-COVID world, where there won’t be 17K+ fans cheering the Golden Eagles on at home, I think they are going to be on upset alert all night long, and I have no choice but to snatch up the points and back the Cowboys. We have seen what Cunningham has been able to do on the small stage, and it has been mighty impressive. I can’t wait to see what he does tonight in his first big-time college basketball game. I expect fireworks. Give me the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the +4-points tonight at Marquette!