20-11 overall, 10-6 conference, 6th Big East
Against the spread
16-8 (9-2 home, 5-5 away)
16-10 (6-5 home, 6-4 away)
2005 Season Summary
After making the Final Four in the 2003 NCAA Tournament the Marquette Golden Eagles had taken a quiet exit from the national stage in their final two seasons as a member of Conference USA.
In 2004-05 Marquette finished 19-12 straight up and 10-14-1 against the spread and was unimpressive in doing so. On the positive the Golden Eagles did make the NIT Tournament but were bounced in the opening round by Western Michigan. Marquette’s final season in Conference USA ended with three consecutive losses against the sportsbooks that followed a six-game undefeated string against the oddsmakers. Overall, however, Marquette was over-valued on the board but that was about to end with their defection to the Big East Conference.
Lowest of expectations
Marquette showed poorly in their final season as members of Conference USA, which did not inspire much hope or confidence that they would fare well in the brutal Big East Conference. Add to that fact with the problem that Marquette was touted as a young and rebuilding team and you had all of the ingredients necessary for the lowest of expectations by both the college basketball media and the mainstream gambling public. Even Marquette officials themselves quietly conceded that they would be fortunate to avoid the basement of the Big East and that they were simply hoping to not be embarrassed in their first year as a member.
One potential positive for gamblers, however, was that Marquette had the possibility of becoming a bargain value on the betting boards as they had absolutely little appeal with gamblers otherwise.
Marquette opened the 2005-06 season with a home win/cover over Rice before an embarrassing 64-71 loss to Winthrop as 3.5-point home overlays. They next got a win/push over Eastern Washington before scoring back-to-back neutral court wins and covers over Oral Roberts and South Carolina for a decent start at 3-1-1 against the spread.
Marquette went 6-2 straight up and 1-2 against the spread the rest of preseason as they mostly had a cupcake feast with five unlined home wins. It was alarming to note that Marquette lost both SU&ATS at Nebraska and at Wisconsin during this stretch with the lone cover at home against lightly regarded San Francisco.
Big East bargains
Marquette opened Big East play with a stunning 94-79 upset home win over conference powerhouse Connecticut as 10-point dogs, which was a portent of things to come as the Golden Eagles proved to be lightly regarded Big East bargains. They next got a home loss/cover against fellow CUSA defector Cincinnati before getting a win/cover at Seton Hall.
Marquette had a brief dip on the betting boards starting with a SU&ATS loss at West Virginia. After a win/cover at DePaul they scored a 67-65 win over Notre Dame as 4-point home overlays. This was followed by four consecutive covers against the sportsbooks although they lost two of those games, demonstrating Marquette’s continuing value as an unwanted Big East dog. The Golden Eagles had covered eight of their first ten Big East games and were surprisingly competitive and in the hunt for a “Big Dance” invite. The streak ended with a, 84-91 loss at Rutgers as 1.5-point dogs.
Marquette next scored an impressive 57-51 home win over Georgetown as 1.5-point dogs and then beat Pittsburgh 84-82 as 2.5-point home dogs. The Golden Eagles kept proving themselves as dangerous dogs with a hard bite as they upset Notre Dame 80-72 as 4.5-point road pups. After a 60-67 overtime loss at Louisville as 4.5-point dogs Marquette closed strong with a home win/cover over Providence to earn their fifth payoff in six games.
Out of gas and value
Marquette got a loss/push in the Big East tourney to Georgetown and then lost to Alabama in the “Big Dance” to finish out of gas and of value.