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Non-TCU Game of the Week: Marquette vs. Texas

College basketball is in full swing. Inter-conference battles continue to rage on.

Marquette v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

The Headliner:

#8 Marquette vs #12 Texas at 7:00 p.m. CT Wednesday, December 6 on FS1

Marquette marks the second biggest test of the non-conference season for the Texas Longhorns. Texas is 6-1, with its only loss coming at the hands of the fifth-ranked UConn Huskies. In that affair, the Longhorns were overpowered by the Huskies’ superior frontcourt. Texas was outrebounded 40-29 and had seven shots rejected at the rim. UConn bigs combined for 42 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks against a small Texas frontcourt. Without big man Kadin Shedrick, the Longhorns were in for a long night, as senior Dylan Disu has yet to play a game this season.

However, the only game Shedrick has missed this season was against the Huskies. Thus, the former Virginia Cavalier will be available tonight as Texas takes on Marquette. Alongside Shedrick, returnee Dillon Mitchell will surely make his presence felt. The athletic big man averages 11.6 points to go along with 8.9 boards per game. Despite a strong collection of guards, Marquette big man Oso Ighodaro has truly broken out this season. Ighodaro will be a tough matchup for Mitchell and Shedrick as he uses a unique combination of power and athleticism to cause havoc on the interior.

As for the aforementioned Golden Eagle guards, Kam Jones and Tyler Kolek. Both guards pose major threats to the Longhorns' defense. Jones is a lights-out shooter who can also attack the rim. Kolek is more of a playmaker, averaging 5.2 assists per game. The floor general is a crafty passer, capable of breaking any defense down. The Longhorn backcourt is no slouch either. Texas guards, Max Abmas and Tyrese Hunter are on the smaller side, yet both guards are capable of putting up points in a hurry. Now in his fifth season, Abmas is averaging 16.7 points and 4.0 assists per game. Hunter, in his second season in Austin, is up to 12.0 points and 4.1 assists per game.

Although the Golden Eagles have lost more games, they’re favored against the Longhorns. Marquette enters the day as an 8.5 favorite at home against Texas. While the Golden Eagles are a well-balanced squad, the Longhorns have the advantage in this contest. The Golden Eagles roster only one player taller than 6-foot-9. The Longhorns are also on the smaller side but have the guard power to compete with Marquette.

In Marquette’s loss to Wisconsin, the Golden Eagles were severely overmatched on the inside. The Golden Eagles lost the rebounding battle 38-23. And to make matters worse, the Badgers attempted 28 free throws against Marquette. No matter what Marquette did, Wisconsin got to the rim with ease. Whether it be scoring in the paint or dominating the glass, the Badgers continuously picked their spots against Marquette. Texas will look to replicate this strategy against the Golden Eagles. The Longhorns are the guards to match up with Marquette, but their frontcourt will make the difference in this contest.

My pick: Texas wins 75-71

Mid-Major Game of the Week:

UC Irvine vs #25 San Diego State at 9:30 p.m. CT Saturday, December 9 on FS1

After a Final Four appearance a season ago, the San Diego State Aztecs began the season as a ranked squad. It took until the second game of the season for the Aztecs to lose a game. San Diego State lost to the surprising BYU Cougars, who have soared into the College Basketball limelight. Looking back, this loss doesn’t look so bad, yet the Aztecs can’t also take the Anteaters lightly.

UC Irvine defeated the hyped USC Trojans by 10 points in early November. But, after a 6-1 start, the Anteaters have dropped two straight. Nevertheless, UC Irvine is a veteran-squad, with the ability to knock off any team, at any time. The Anteaters boast a well-balanced team, full of double-digit scorers. Four of the five Anteaters averaging double-digits are upperclassmen. In the win against USC, senior guard Justin Hohn to matters into his own hands. Hohn scored 25 points and knocked down three 3-pointers. While Hohn was the star, his teammates executed exceptionally on the defensive end. The Anteaters held the Trojans to a 28.8 percent mark from the field.

After the surprising run a season ago, San Diego State has performed well, but not without flaw. The Aztecs only shoot 44.4 percent from the field. Several Aztecs have underperformed this season. But not former Horned Frog Jaedon LeDee. The San Diego State big man is averaging 22.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this season. Before this season, LeDee had never started nor averaged more than eight points per game. Led by LeDee, the Aztecs are still one of the best mid-major squads. Look for San Diego State to continue their winning ways against UC Irvine. The Anteaters are reeling after two consecutive losses to Duquesne and Utah State.

My pick: San Diego State wins 81-70