Teams that have experienced some success in the NCAA Tournament meet when the second-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles face the No. 15-seeded Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in a South Region first-round showdown on Friday. The Golden Eagles (25-9), who are making their 36th NCAA appearance, have made 16 trips to the Sweet 16 and are 42-36 all-time in the tournament. The Hilltoppers (22-11), who are making their 24th NCAA appearance, have won at least one game in three of the last four NCAA Tournaments in which they have played. Marquette won the only meeting between the schools, a 79-60 win during the opening round of the 1976 NCAA Tournament. Tyler Kolek (oblique) is expected to play for Marquette despite missing the last six games. 

Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET from Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Marquette has a plus-8.5 point differential, 40th-best in the nation, while Western Kentucky has a plus-6.5 differential, 80th-best. The Golden Eagles are 14.5-point favorites in the latest Western Kentucky vs. Marquette odds from SportsLine consensus, while the over/under for total points scored is 157. Before making any Marquette vs. Western Kentucky picks, be sure to see the college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The model simulates every Div. I college basketball game 10,000 times. It enters the 2024 NCAA tournament on a 148-106 roll on all top-rated college basketball picks dating back to last season, returning more than $1,700 for $100 players. It also has a strong 29-19 (+810) record on top-rated spread picks this season. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Marquette vs. WKU. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are several college basketball betting lines and trends for WKU vs. Marquette:

  • Western Kentucky vs. Marquette spread: Marquette -14.5
  • Western Kentucky vs. Marquette over/under: 157 points
  • Western Kentucky vs. Marquette money line: Western Kentucky +725, Marquette -1175
  • WKU: The Hilltoppers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games
  • MU: The Golden Eagles are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games
  • Western Kentucky vs. Marquette picks: See picks at SportsLine

Why Marquette can cover

Senior forward Oso Ighodaro is nursing a knee injury but is expected to play. He missed the final seven minutes of the Big East championship game, but still finished with eight points, four assists and three rebounds. He poured in 20 points and added three assists and three boards in the semifinal win over Providence. Ighodaro has registered double-figure scoring in seven of the past 10 games, and has four double-doubles on the year. In 33 games, all starts, he is averaging 14 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 blocks and one steal in 32.3 minutes.

Junior David Joplin has reached double-digit scoring in 21 games, including each of the past three. In the loss to UConn in the Big East Final, Joplin scored 12 points, while grabbing six rebounds. He had 12 points, six boards and two blocks in the semifinal win over Providence. In 34 games, all starts, he is averaging 10.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 27.3 minutes. See which team to back at SportsLine

Why Western Kentucky can cover

Senior forward Rodney Howard has come up big when needed this season. In the 89-69 Conference USA quarterfinal win over New Mexico State on March 14, he poured in a season-high 20 points, grabbed five rebounds and added three blocks. He has registered double-figure scoring in 17 games this season, including a near double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds in a 70-68 win over Liberty on Jan. 6. In 32 games, he has made eight starts, and is averaging 10 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.1 minutes.

Senior guard Khristian Lander has been on fire of late, reaching double-digit scoring in all three Conference USA Tournament games, including a 15-point and four-rebound effort in an 85-54 win over Middle Tennessee in the semifinals. He had 11 points, six rebounds and four steals in a 78-71 win over UTEP in the title game. He had 10 points, two rebounds and two steals in the quarterfinal win over New Mexico State. In 25 games, including 10 starts, he is averaging 9.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, two assists and one steal in 23.2 minutes. See which team to back at SportsLine

How to make Western Kentucky vs. Marquette picks

SportsLine's model is leaning Under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 155 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 60% of simulations. You can see the March Madness picks only at SportsLine.

So who wins Marquette vs. WKU, and which side of the spread hits well over 60% of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model on a 148-106 roll on its top-rated college basketball picks, and find out.