Marquette head coach Shaka Smart slapping the floor

Marquette head coach Shaka Smart slaps the floor during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

  • Ole Miss is a 3.5-point favorite against Marquette
  • Marquette upset No. 10 Illinois the last time out
  • Ole Miss is 1-1 ATS, Marquette is 1-2

Ole Miss (2-0) is a 3.5-point favorite against Marquette in the first round of the neutral-site Charleston Classic in Charleston, SC, on Thursday at 7:00 pm ET on ESPN2.

Marquette (3-0) has won the first three games of the Shaka Smart regime, stopping No. 10 Illinois in its last game Friday. Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell has scored at least 20 points in all three games.

Marquette vs Ole Miss Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Marquette Golden Eagles +146 +3.5 (-115) Over 136.5 (-110)
Ole Miss Rebels -176 -3.5 (-105) Under 136.5 (-110)

Odds from DraftKings on Nov. 17.

Marquette Stings Illinois

New Marquette coach Shaka Smart needed only three games to record his first signature victory in his home state, when the Golden Eagles overcame a 12-point deficit in a 67-66 home victory over No. 10 Illinois last Friday.

Transfer Tyler Kolek made a layup after a steal with 18 seconds remaining for the go-ahead score, converting after one of Illinois’ 26 turnovers against Smart’s pressure defense, a staple of his programs at Virginia Commonwealth and Texas. The Golden Eagles held Illinois to 37.9 percent from the field.

Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell and holdover 6’7 Justin Lewis continued their strong offensive play against Illinois. Morsell had 21 points and made of 4 three-point attempts and Lewis had 17 points.

Morsell, a 6’5 guard, is averaging 22.7 points in a small sample size this season. He had a career 8.7 scoring average with the Terps, topping out at 9.0 last year. He has three 20-point games this season after none in 126 games at Maryland.

Rebels Pick Up the Pace

Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis is committed to playing at a higher tempo and with more of an emphasis on perimeter scoring this season, and early results are positive.

The Rebels, who were ranked 318th in tempo by KenPom last year, have averaged five more possessions per 40 minutes this season in easy victories over New Orleans and Charleston Southern. They have averaged 87.5 pointes per game and have attempted 51 3-pointers.

Ole Miss, which never made more than nine threes during its 16-12 season that ended with a first-round  NIT loss to Louisiana Tech a year ago, made nine threes against New Orleans and 11 against Charleston Southern. The goal is to shoot between 20-25 threes per game, Davis has said.

Senior 6’1 guard Jerkel Joiner and junior 6’5 guard Austin Crowley have been the prime beneficiaries. Each has six makes on 11 3-point attempts. Joiner had 24 points with four threes and added seven assists in the 93-68 home victory over Charleston Southern last Friday. The Rebels shot 59.1 percent from the field in the first two.

Ole Miss will play its second game without freshman guard Daeshun Ruffin, a McDonald’s All-American a year ago and the highest-rated recruit in program history. Ruffin is expected to miss four weeks after suffering a broken hand in the second half of the New Orleans game. He had four points, two steals and two assists against the Privateers.

Early Tournament Test

The Charleston Classic will provide an early gauge for Marquette, Ole Miss and the rest of the eight-team field. AP No. 22 St. Bonaventure is ranked 33rd in the KenPom rankings entering event, which will be played at the TD Arena on the College of Charleston campus.

Entrants  West Virginia, Clemson and Ole Miss are ranked among KenPom’s top 55. Marquette enters at No. 87, also behind Boise State (74).

The Marquette-Ole Miss winner will play the West Virginia-Elon winner in the semifinals. St. Bonaventure is on the other side of the bracket.

By the Numbers

Darryl Morsell has three 20-point games this season after having none in 126 games at Maryland, where he topped out at 18.

Marquette was 11-16 ATS last season, the lowest winning percentage in the Big East, but was 6-7 as an underdog. Ole Miss was 15-13 ATS a year ago, 10-9 ATS as a favorite.

The Golden Eagles have played a stiffer schedule than Ole Miss entering the Charleston Classic, according to KenPom. In addition ton stopping Illinois, Marquette has beaten No. 321 SIU-Edwardsville and No. 213 New Hampshire. Ole Miss has victories over New Orleans (318) and Charleston Southern (337). There are 351 NCAA Division I teams.

The pick: Marquette +3.5 (-110)

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Jack Magruder

Sports Writer


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