Creighton and Seton Hall Matchup Begs Cappers to Take the Points

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 1:11 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 1:11 PM UTC

Our NCAAB handicapper Mark Lathrop checks out a Big East matchup that is definitely, well ... big. Read on as he breaks down the rematch between Seton Hall and Creighton on Wednesday night.

2017-18 NCAAB Record: 24-14 (+9.10 Units)

No. 19 Seton Hall Pirates at Creighton BluejaysFree NCAAB Pick: Seton Hall +5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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In a race to keep up with the Villanova Wildcats in Big East Conference play, Wednesday's game between the 15-3 (4-1) Seton Hall Pirates and 14-4 (4-2) Creighton Bluejays holds a bit more importance than normal. And while Seton Hall is ranked 28th in Pomeroy power rankings and 19th in the AP poll, the Creighton Bluejays are ranked 23rd in the same power rankings and not ranked by AP. That ironic discrepancy should get the home crowd rocking and has the books placing Creighton as early 5-point favorites at sites such as BetOnline. The early O/U totals are split at between 162.5 to 165.5 depending on where you look.

These teams met on Seton Hall’s court over Christmas Break with the Pirates winning 90-84 and barely covering as 5.5-point home chalk. Both teams shot well from field goal range with Creighton converting 63.0% of their 2-point shots and Seton Hall converting at 53.2%. The big difference in the game was shooting beyond the arc and getting to the free throw line. Seton Hall was 6-for-16 from 3-point range and Creighton 5-for-25, with Seton Hall enjoying a 32-15 free throw advantage at home. Creighton also used a deeper rotation than Seton Hall, with 8 players getting into double-digit minutes vs. just 6 for the Pirates. Creighton actually led in the game by 13 early in the second half before Seton Hall staged the comeback.

That free throw disadvantage is not a new thing for Creighton on the year, as it is nearly dead last in scoring distribution through free throws in the NCAA. Seton Hall also limits free throws attempts at the best rate in the Big East this year. Instead, Creighton’s field goal percentage inside the arc is ranked 3rd in the NCAA at 60.7% and 2nd in the Big East when isolating conference play. The Jays are led by two guards in Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, who average 18.8 and 14.2 points per game, respectively.

Both of these teams play with a quick pace, which explains why the total is currently sitting as high as 165.5 right now. Creighton sits at 19th in the country in adjusted tempo, while Seton Hall ranks 99th. With this game being on Creighton’s home court and the last game hitting 176, I am not surprised at the current line available. The 90 points reached by Seton Hall in that game matched its highest of the season, though, and exceeded its season average, and that was with home court calls on the foul line, but it is Creighton which has a 93.5 point per game average at home coming into this game. Those two factors are meeting in the middle at that total line, which I think is very sharp.

For me, this game comes down to some offsetting advantages and no great statistical edge owned by either team. For that reason, I will take Seton Hall and the 5 points as my Wednesday NCAAB Pick.

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