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Pirates Open Big East Play at Home against Creighton

The Pirates enter Big East play ranked 23rd in the country with an 11-2 record.

NCAA Basketball: Manhattan at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

No. 25 Creighton Blue Jays (10-2) vs. No. 23 Seton Hall Pirates (11-2)

WHERE: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m.

TV: FS1 (Brian Custer, Jim Spanarkel)

LINE: SHU -3.5

ALL-TIME: Pirates lead 11-5

Big East play is finally back, and after a fantastic opening night on Wednesday, the other four Big East teams are set to take the floor on Thursday.

The marquee matchup is a battle of Top-25 foes, as No. 25 Creighton visits No. 23 Seton Hall.

This marks the second consecutive year these two teams will face off to open Big East play. The Pirates fell 89-75 in Omaha last year to the then 10th-ranked Bluejays.

The Pirates will likely be without senior forward Ismael Sanogo for a second straight game as his indefinite suspension continues. His absence will certainly be felt by the Pirates, dealing with a Creighton team averaging 92.3 PPG.

Players to Watch

Marcus Foster- Foster is averaging 19.5 PPG so far this year and is the go-to guy on offense for Creighton. He can score in a variety of ways, whether it be putting the ball on the floor and driving to the hoop or pulling up from deep. He is shooting 52 percent from the floor and 44 percent from deep this season.

Khyri Thomas- While Seton Hall will be missing their lockdown defender, Creighton will have theirs. Thomas is one of the most underrated players in the country, playing stellar defense while also chipping in with 15.3 PPG. Expect him to have his eyes on either Desi Rodriguez or Myles Powell defensively.

Myles Powell- Because of Thomas likely being matched up with Rodriguez, Powell will have to shoulder a good portion of the offense in this one. This is something he has done before, just go take a look at the Texas Tech highlights.

Angel Delgado- The senior has a double-double in five out of his last six games, and has nine for the season. He is finding his groove down low, and Big East play is where Delgado typically shines. He’ll be matched up with Martin Krampelj, who is having a solid year, however Delgado will convincingly win this matchup.

Keys to the Game

Pirates need to play through Delgado- Seton Hall has the clear advantage down low in this one. With Thomas out on the perimeter shutting off either Powell or Rodriguez, the Pirates need to look to manufacture points elsewhere. Feed the ball down low to Delgado and let the big man go to work.

Creighton must stretch out the Pirates defense- For Creighton, they cause the most problems when their offense is spaced out around the perimeter. Seton Hall is a team that struggles when their bigs have to guard more than 12 feet from the basket, especially when they won’t have Ismael Sanogo to turn to. If Creighton is able to drag Delgado and Mike Nzei away from the paint, they could open up some lanes for dribble drives to the hoop or pick and pops for open threes.

Two of the three games on Wednesday night went down to the final seconds. Expect nothing less from this game. Not only are these two teams battling to start Big East play with a victory, but the loser will likely find themselves outside the AP Top-25 come Monday.