The Big East schedule makers had their wishes granted this season as they are concluding the regular season with a de facto Big East title game. Seton Hall travels to Omaha Saturday to take on the Creighton Bluejays. A Pirate win means that Seton Hall would secure the outright Big East regular season title. Should Creighton come out on top, it would guarantee that at least these two squads will be co-champs and it would also allow Villanova to make it a 3-way split should they beat Georgetown in Washington D.C. on Saturday.
The Pirates and Bluejays have met once earlier this season when Creighton went on the road to Newark and managed to go home with a win in a tightly contested game that finished 87-82. Their upcoming game looks to be another high scoring affair as both teams are averaging nearly 80 points per game on the season.
The Pirates star shooting guard Myles Powell looks to get some payback after his performance was uncharacteristically flat against the Bluejays when they met in February. Powell only managed 12 points on 3 of 16 shooting from the field, including 1 of 11 from beyond the arc. Powell will be squaring off with another of college basketball’s top-5 shooting guards in Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexander. While this is a tough matchup, there’s no reason to think that Powell won’t improve upon his performance from their earlier meeting. Look for Powell to get a few more shots to drop and be an important factor in deciding this game.
The good news for Powell is that his teammate, Sandro Mamukelashvili, has been on a tear as of late. In his last three games, Mamukelashvili has averaged essentially 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. At 6’11” and 240 pounds Mamukelashvili can hold his own in the paint, but recently he’s also been stepping away from the hoop to show off his very capable jumper. His recent performances should warrant some extra attention from the Creighton defense which will only create more opportunities for his Pirate teammates.
As previously mentioned, Creighton also possesses one of the best guards in the country. Ty-Shon Alexander will be a stern test for the Pirate defense, but they showed in the previous meeting that they are capable of keeping a lid on Alexander’s production. He managed to score 18 points when these teams met in February, but as a player who can go for 28-30 on any given night, Seton Hall will consider it a success if they can hold Alexander under 20 points again. Effectively, the Pirates will be challenging the rest of the Bluejays to step up if they want to remain unbeaten on the season against Seton Hall.
Creighton may have a difficult time competing with Seton Hall’s big men, especially when Mamukelashvili and center Romaro Gill are on the floor together. Creighton will be at a disadvantage in the paint and on the boards as their forwards struggle to break 6’6” apart from Kelvin Jones at 6’11” but he only sees about 10 minutes of playing time per game.
Betting Line & Pick
Bookmakers have installed Creighton as a 3.5-point favorite and have set the total at 152. Just like the contest in February, this game looks to be a high-scoring shootout. Unlike their previous contest however, Seton Hall now has the X-factor that will push them to revenge their earlier loss and secure the Big East regular season title; his name is Sandro Mamukelashvili.
Another 20 point and 10 rebound game from him will be plenty for Seton Hall to go home with a W. Look for Seton Hall to win this game outright, but take the 3.5-point gift as a nice insurance policy in what may be a close game until the final horn.
Pick: Seton Hall +3.5
*Odds provided by VegasInsider