Creighton at Xavier
|Date & Time||Thursday March 14, 2019, 2:30 PM (EDT)|
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
Creighton Bluejays -2.5 -- O/U: 140.5
The Creighton Bluejays and the Xavier Musketeers meet in a Big East tournament quarterfinal matchup in college basketball action from Madison Square Garden on Thursday afternoon.
The Creighton Bluejays come into the tournament as the #5 seed after finishing the regular season with a 18-13 overall record, including 9-9 in Big East conference play, finishing in a 4-way tie for 3rd but ending up in 5th due to multiple tiebreakers. Creighton had some stiff competition out of the gate, recording wins over Clemson and Boise State as well as losses to Ohio state, Gonzaga, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Creighton started conference play 1-4, but then rebounded by winning 3 of their next 4 games to get back to 4-5. Creighton then lost their next 4 games but rebounded by winning 5 in a row to finish the season at .500 in conference play. Ty-Shon Alexander led Creighton in scoring with 16 points per game while Martin Krampelj added 13.6 points and a team-high 7 rebounds per game. Mitch Ballock came 3rd in team scoring with 10.9 points per game while Marcus Zegarowski came 4th with 10.5 points and a team-high 3.3 assists per game. As a team, Creighton is averaging 79.3 points per game on 48.5% shooting from the field, 39.6% from behind the 3-point line and 69% from the foul line this season.
The Xavier Musketeers ended up with the #4 seed in the tournament after finishing with a 17-14 overall record, including a 9-9 conference record like Creighton, but beating out the Bluejays on a head-to-head tiebreaker for the higher seed. Xavier had some tour opponents in the non-conference portion of their schedule, with a win over Illinois as well as losses to Missouri, Cincinnati, San Diego State, Auburn and Wisconsin. Xavier started conference play by splitting their first 6 games, but that last loss sparked a 6-game losing streak to have the Musketeers near the bottom of the Big East standings. Xavier responded by winning 6 of their last 7 games down the stretch to finish the year at .500 in conference action. Naji Marshall leads Xavier in scoring with 14.9 points per game while Paul Scruggs averaged 12.2 points per game and Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin each had 11.3 points per game, with Goodin dishing out a team-high 4.7 assists per game while Jones grabbed a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game. Zach Hankins averaged 10.1 points per game as Xavier’s 5th double-digit scorer this season. As a team, Xavier is averaging 72.3 points per game on 47% shooting from the field, 34% from behind the arc and 69% from the foul line this season.
Creighton is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record while the under is 9-3 in their last 12 conference games. Xavier is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 1-3-2 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games while the under is 5-0 in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record. Creighton is 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings between these two teams.
This might be one of the hardest games to call on Thursday’s card, as you have a pair of teams that were red hot to finish the season and both teams split the two regular season meetings. Creighton’s offense always gives the Bluejays a good chance to win basketball games, but the Bluejays have struggled against Xavier in recent meetings. Xavier hasn’t been doing it pretty, but the fact is that the Musketeers just keep finding ways to get the job done. This is a game I genuinely seeing being decided on the last possession of the game so I’ll take a shot with Xavier and the points in a game that’s probably better to just watch rather than try to bet.