Get ready for a Big East battle on Wednesday night as the no. 7 Creighton Blue Jays host the Seton Hall Pirates. The Blue Jays are favored by five points at home, with the over/under set at 148.5 points. Tipoff is set for 8 pm EST.
The Bluejays have been tripped up a couple of times this season. First, there was a one-point loss against Kansas and then a more surprising home loss to Marquette. However, Greg McDermott’s team has won four in a row since the Marquette loss, including a victory over a ranked Xavier team. Of course, the 8-2 Bluejays are still looking up in the Big East standings at Villanova, who is 3-0 in conference play.
It’s worth noting that Seton Hall is also ahead of Creighton in the Big East standings. The Pirates are 5-1 inside the league. That one loss came against Providence. However, the Pirates have responded with three straight wins over the likes of Georgetown, Xavier, and Butler. In fact, since starting the season 1-3, Seton Hall has won seven of eight to maintain relevance inside the Big East.
Pirate and His Mates
With Myles Powell leaving after last season, Sandro Mamukelashvili has stepped up as Seton Hall’s go-to guy in 2021. The 6’11’’ big man is averaging 18.7 points, nearly seven rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. The entire Seton Hall offense revolves around the skilled big man from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. He even shoots 32% from the perimeter, showing the ability to score at all three levels and distribute the ball to his teammates.
Fortunately for the Pirates, they have capable scores outside of Mamukelashvili. Both Jared Rhoden and Myles Cale are proven three-point shooters who average double figures for Seton Hall. The 6’6’’ Rhoden is also the team’s leading rebounder and a fierce competitor with three double-doubles this season. Finally, Shavar Reynolds is not to be overlooked. Like Mamukelashvili, he’s an excellent passer and doesn’t need to score to make an impact on the game.
The Z Man
For Creighton, junior guard Marcus Zegarowski is the player to watch. He saved the Bluejays with a 20-point performance over the weekend against Providence in a game in which several Creighton players had an off-day. Zegarowski is also the catalyst for the entire Creighton offense, as he leads the team with 4.9 assists per game.
Of course, Zegarowski is not Creighton’s only capable scorer. In fact, the Blue Jays have five players who average double digits. Denzel Mahoney and Mitch Ballock are both strong outside shooters. Simultaneously, Christian Bishop and Damien Jefferson are more adept at scoring inside the paint, with the Blue Jays waiting for seven-foot freshman Ryan Kalkbrenner to develop into a consistent force. But without much size outside of Kalkbrenner, rebounding is a team effort for the Bluejays.
Too Close for Comfort
While the Bluejays are favored at home for good reason, their last three wins have all come by five points or less. Meanwhile, Seton Hall might be the best team the Bluejays have played inside the conference, especially the way the Pirates have played recently. Bet on Seton Hall to beat the spread and perhaps pull off an upset of the Bluejays.