Marquette vs. UCLA prediction, line: Take Under in defensive battle

In past seasons, Marquette has been known for having an explosive offense, headlined last season by the top scorer in college basketball, Markus Howard. A lot of things have changed in 2020, including Marquette’s approach on defense, which will be tested out Friday against UCLA.

The Golden Eagles rank in the top 40 in fewest points allowed on a per possession basis and have gone to a balanced scoring attack with six players all registering at least eight points per game.

UCLA’s raw stats for the season are inflated by having played a triple-overtime game against Pepperdine, but the Bruins have six players who are logging at least 9.8 points per game and they have not allowed more than 73 points in a game outside of that triple-overtime marathon.

Both teams have been solid on the glass, ranking in the top 50 among Division I teams in rebound rate, with Marquette also 11th in the country in opponents’ field goal percentage.

Marquette has given up 70 points or fewer in each of its first five games of the season, so the newfound commitment is off to a good start. That should continue at Pauley Pavilion on Friday, providing a good defensive showcase.

The Play: Marquette vs. UCLA, Total Under 141.

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