Good matchup from the Big East on Wednesday night between conference title contenders and maybe Final Four contenders as Seton Hall visits No. 7 Creighton. The Bluejays will be solid home favorites on the NCAAB odds.
- When: Wednesday, 9 PM ET
- Where: CHI Health Center Omaha
- TV: Fox Sports 1
- Stream: Fox Sports Go
- Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Creighton will be favored)
The Bluejays swept both a season ago. The most recent meeting was March 7 in Omaha, which Creighton won 77-60. Marcus Zegarowski made all five of his 3-pointers and finished with 23 points to lead Creighton. The Bluejays finished the game on a 21-6 run. There were 16 lead changes and seven ties. The Bluejays began taking control after Mitch Ballock made consecutive 3s and Zegarowski drove the length of the court and snaked his way through the lane for a finger-roll lay in to break a 50-all tie.
Why Bet on Seton Hall? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis
The Pirates (68-60) won their third in a row Saturday, 68-60 over Butler. Senior Sandro Mamukelashvili finished with team-highs of 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Mamukelashvili scored his 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. Junior Jared Rhoden added 19 points on an efficient 7-for-11 shooting to go with seven rebounds.
The victory was the Pirates’ seventh in their last eight games and improves them to 5-1 in Big East contests. Seton Hall is now 5-1 or better to start Big East play for just the fourth time in program history, joining the 1992-93, 1999-00 and 2019-20 squads.
The teams were nearly identical from the field. Seton Hall was 22-for-48 (45.8%) from the floor for the game, while Butler was 22-for-49 (44.9%). The Hall was 7-for-24 (29.2%) from three-point range, while the Bulldogs were 11-for-22 (50.0%). Seton Hall was 17-for-20 (85.0%) from the free-throw line, while the Bulldogs were 5-for-9 (55.6%).
Mamukelashvili reached 20 points for the sixth time this season and the ninth time of his career. It was also his 100th career game played. Mamukelashvili has moved up to 60th all-time in Seton Hall scoring history, now standing at 851 points.
Seton Hall improved to a perfect 8-0 this season when outshooting its opponent. The Pirates are now 108-14 (.885) since the start of the 2015-16 season when leading by seven points or more at any point of the game.
Mamukelashvili was named Big East Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 21.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in last week’s two games. After senior Myles Cale got the Player of the Week nod last week, Seton Hall now has the Big East Player of the Week on consecutive Mondays for just the fourth time in program history.
Mamukelashvili, who is a candidate for the 2021 Karl Malone Award and the 2021 Naismith Trophy, is averaging 18.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals on the season, putting him in the top-12 of the Big East in all four categories, including fifth in scoring. He has six 20-point games so far this season and is one of only four players in the “Power Six” conference to record multiple 30-point games in 2020-21.
Why Bet on Creighton? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis
The Bluejays (8-2) won at Providence 67-65 on Saturday. Christian Bishop’s dunk with 0.8 seconds left was the difference.
Marcus Zegarowski (20) and Damien Jefferson (18) combined for 38 points for the victors. The duo made 16-of-26 shots from the field and combined for nine points during a key 15-0 run midway through the first half gave Creighton the lead for good. Jefferson added a career-high six steals and eight rebounds in the contest.
Mitch Ballock has made a three-pointer in 16 straight games and Creighton has made a three-pointer in 892 games in a row. Ballock moved into 35th place on Creighton’s all-time scoring list with 1,103 career points, surpassing Tim Powers (1,093). Ryan Kalkbrenner had a season-high four blocked shots.
Creighton has won its first three conference road games for the first time since 2016-17 and has started 4-1 in Big East action for the first time since 2017-18.
On Monday, Creighton rose to No. 7 in the AP Top 25 to match its best-ever ranking. The Bluejays had previously been ranked seventh on Jan. 16, 2017, March 9, 2020 and March 16, 2020. This is the 17th time that Creighton has earned a top-10 ranking in program history, with all but one of those weeks during Greg McDermott’s tenure.
Creighton remains one of 10 schools that have been ranked each of the past 14 AP polls (since Feb. 3, 2020), joining Baylor, Duke, Florida State, Gonzaga, Houston, Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee and Villanova.
The Bluejays continue to be led by senior Denzel Mahoney (15 ppg) and Big East’s Preseason Player of the Year Zegarowski (13.8 ppg). They return four starters and five of its top six scorers from last season’s team that finished 24-7 and won a share of its first Big East regular-season title.
Creighton owns 21 victories under McDermott after trailing by double-figures at some point, none larger than the 18-point deficit the Bluejays overcame against then-No.18 Oklahoma on Nov. 19, 2014. Ten of those 21 comebacks have come away from home.
- Creighton 77, Seton Hall 72
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