The Pirates have lost six games in a row. They'll be without star Sterling Gibbs for a second straight game and they've all but squandered their hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid. They play host to a Creighton Bluejays team that despite having one heartbreaking loss after another, has clawed itself out of the conference cellar. Here are three things to watch for in Saturday's 4 p.m. ET contest on CBS Sports Network:
1. Will Creighton continue their improved play?
The Bluejays are 4-3 in their last seven games after beginning 0-8. They're finally starting to hit some shots after some atrocious shooting performances earlier this season and the team continues to fight, regardless of their league position. Creighton is coming off of a 75-62 win over DePaul, a game that saw the Bluejays out-rebound the Blue Demons by 16. Earlier this season when Creighton hosted Seton Hall, it took an unlikely three-pointer by Sterling Gibbs with 2.1 seconds left to give the Pirates the victory. It was just one of many tough losses for Creighton this year. You can bet the Jays want to exact revenge for that game and shut out the lights on Seton Hall's season at the Prudential Center.
2. Calling all freshmen
Without Sterling Gibbs, it is going to take a huge effort from all of Seton Hall's talented freshmen. Guard Khadeen Carrington will have to be the distributor on a team made up of good shooters. Carrington is only averaging 1.8 assists per game while committing almost as many turnovers (1.6 per game this season). The offense is going to have to come from Isaiah Whitehead, the Brooklyn native that is averaging just over 12 points per game. Whitehead will have to be a volume scorer. He put up 24 shots last game, making just eight. The last time these two teams met, senior Brandon Mobley was one point away from a double-double. He could be the game's difference maker and a real match-up nightmare for the Jays as he was in Omaha.
3. Rebounding battle
Creighton is just 180th in the nation in rebounding while Seton Hall is 58th. It's been a calling card for the Pirates at times this season while it's been a bit of a bugaboo for the 'Jays. However, Creighton did out-rebound Seton Hall (33-31) in their first meeting in Omaha, allowing the 'Jays to come within inches of a win. And as previously mentioned, Creighton destroyed DePaul on the glass earlier this week. McDermott and the players have said it's been a key point in practice recently. Let's see if it continues to pay off against the Pirates.