Looking for offense? Make sure to tune your dials to Fox Sports 1 Wednesday afternoon. #13 Creighton Bluejays and #22 Xavier Musketeers have been lighting up opposing defenses all season, averaging 85.0 and 84.1 points per game respectively.
Creighton comes into this game boasting the highest scoring offense in the Big East and the fifth most efficient in college basketball, per KenPom. Big East Preseason Player of the Year Marcus Zegarowski headlines the dangerous Bluejay attack with 14.3 points and 5.4 assists per game. All five of Creighton’s starters average more than ten points per game. Seven-foot freshman Ryan Kalkbrenner has added 8.3 points per game off the bench. The Bluejays are 6-2 thus far, including a 2-1 record in Big East play.
Reigning Big East Player of the Week Paul Scruggs mans the point for Xavier and leads the conference with 7.0 assists per game. Sophomore Zach Freemantle has been sensational and is having a breakout season, leading the Musketeers with 17.5 points per game. Grad transfer Nate Johnson has hit 3-pointers at nearly a 60% clip and is averaging in double-figures. Kyky Tandy is also scoring more than ten points per game. Xavier is undefeated on the season, sitting at 8-0 overall and 1-0 in-conference.
Both of these teams are coming off dramatic wins this past Sunday. Creighton withstood a 40-point performance from UConn’s James Bouknight to defeat the Huskies 76-74 in overtime. Denzel Mahoney had his first double-double in a Bluejay uniform with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Later that afternoon, Belmont transfer Adam Kunkel gathered a loose ball and drilled a three as time expired to give Xavier a 91-88 victory over Marquette.
This contest is the Big East’s first ranked matchup of the season. Creighton fell from 9 to 13 in this Monday’s AP poll after losing at home to Marquette last week, but Greg McDermott’s team has been in the top 25 all season long. Travis Steele, on the other hand, has Xavier back in the rankings for the first time since early last December at 22.
Creighton swept Xavier last season, beating the Musketeers 77-65 at the Cintas Center and then knocking them off once again 77-66 in Omaha a few weeks later. Creighton holds a 6-3 series lead at CHI Health Center Omaha.
Time and Date: Wednesday, December 23, 2:00 p.m. CT
Records: Xavier (8-0, 1-0) | Creighton (6-2, 2-1)
Rankings: Xavier (#22 AP, #48 KenPom) | Creighton (#13 AP, #14 KenPom)
TV Channel: FOX Sports 1
Watch Online: FOX Sports Go
Line: Creighton -7