No. 19 Seton Hall Pirates (15-3, 4-1) at Creighton Bluejays (14-4, 4-2)
WHERE: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, NE.
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1 (Justin Kutcher and Nick Bahe)
LINE: Creighton -4.5
All-Time: Pirates lead 12-5
Any time the Pirates and Bluejays go toe-to-toe, it always results in an instant classic, no matter the sport.
It’s always guaranteed to be a close game between these two foes. In fact, of the 10 times these teams have met since Big East realignment in 2014, seven of those games have been decided by 10 or less points.
In other words, tonight’s game is appointment television.
Seton Hall has won four of the last five meetings between these teams, including the conference opener in which the Pirates overcame a 13-point second half deficit to win 90-84. In that game, four Pirates scored 17+ points, including Angel Delgado, who amassed 18 points as well as 14 boards. Desi Rodriguez also dropped 23 points, tied for the game high with Martin Krampelj.
Krampelj was a dominant force that night, snatching 10 boards and shooting 11-for-16 from the field in just 20 minutes of play. His time on the floor was limited due to the four personal fouls he picked up. If he had been able to stay out of foul trouble, the result of that game may have been very different.
CenturyLink Center is never an easy place to play, and Creighton has shown that this season, owning an 11-0 record at home and winning by an average of 25.6 points.
However, where these two teams find symmetry is that they are both coming off tough road losses. Creighton fell to Xavier at the Cintas Center on Saturday by 22, while Seton Hall made Marquette look like the best team in the country in a road loss to the Golden Eagles by 20 points last Wednesday.
For Creighton, look for Martin Krampelj to establish his presence down low once again. It worked to perfection last game, and the 6’9” Slovenian can’t let Angel Delgado walk all over him in the post.
Creighton also has to find a way to prepare for Seton Hall’s second half surge. The Pirates are proving themselves to be a strong second half squad, displayed back in the prior matchup when Seton Hall outscored Creighton 48-31 in the final 20 minutes.
For the Pirates, something surprising they have found as of late has been the offensive production from Ismael Sanogo. The senior dropped a career high 14 points, including two 3-pointers, in last Wednesday’s loss to Marquette. Sanogo then added another eight points in Saturday’s win over Georgetown. Sanogo is already arguably the best defensive player in the conference, and if this offensive element of his game is something we can come to expect, he becomes a downright scary player.
This one is bound to be yet another classic between these two teams. Tune in, because this could be one of the most entertaining battles in Big East play so far this season.