Creighton vs. Seton Hall Preview, Selection, Odds

Game: Creighton @ Seton Hall (-6)

Sharp: Dave Miller

Selection: Seton Hall (-6)

No. 23 Creighton (18-6, 7-4 Big East) travels to Newark to take on No. 10 Seton Hall at the Prudential Center in a Big East clash on Wednesday night.

The Pirates (18-5, 10-1) are in the driver's seat to claim the Big East regular-season crown after defeating Georgetown and Villanova on the road after suffering a surprising 12-point home loss to Xavier earlier in the month. The Pirates have a three-game lead atop the league standings and have had quite the season nationally with the second-most Quadrant 1 wins (eight).

Kevin Willard's squad is riding high after snapping a 17-game road losing streak to Villanova with a 70-64 victory last Saturday, as Myles Powell had 19 points and Quincy McKnight added 14.

Meanwhile, Creighton's perimeter-oriented attack will need to be razor sharp, and the Bluejays will need to rely on their up-tempo style even more than usual as they battle a size disadvantage. Living and dying on the perimeter may be the only way to go against the Pirates, so Creighton will need to shoot a high percentage. Perhaps their speed can force Seton Hall to go with a smaller lineup

The good news for Greg McDermott's Jays is that they are used to the size disadvantage—that's a typical night at the office. But Seton Hall isn't a one-man show with just Powell, so the Jays will have quite the task trying to limit all of the Pirates' scoring options.

The X-Factor for Creighton is junior guard Mitch Ballock. In the team's three Big East road wins this season (Xavier, DePaul and Villanova), he has made five 3-pointers in each. In the team's conference road losses, he has made just two in each. That's about as consistent as a home/road split as you'll get. Can he connect on at least five treys in Jersey on Wednesday night?

Meanwhile, the X-Factor for Seton Hall is junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili, who is healthy and playing well. He combined for 25 points and 20 rebounds against the Hoyas and Wildcats, and his inside-outside game stretches defenses and makes the Pirates that much better. Mamukelashvili returned from a seven-week layoff on January 29 and began looking much more like himself in the team's last two victories.

Seton Hall was projected as a No. 3 seed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee when it released its first set of rankings last weekend. The Pirates have made the NCAA Tournament the last four seasons but have been unable to make it to the second weekend in any of those appearances. This group could be different.

The Bluejays should play well, but who would bet against this Pirates team right now? Creighton isn't as effective shooting the ball on the road, and it won't be able to rely on a rebounding advantage against any opponent. Seton Hall should take care of business and cover the 6-point spread to keep its strong season rolling.


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