Seton Hall-Creighton Matchup Projects as Low-Scoring Thriller

Rainman M.

Thursday, December 28, 2017 2:06 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 2:06 PM UTC

No. 23 Seton Hall (11-2) hosts No. 25 Creighton (10-2) tonight at 6:30 ET. Seton Hall opens conference play as a 4-point favorite, and the game total is set at 161.5.

College Basketball Thursday: Creighton vs. Seton Hall

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Free NCAAB Pick: Under 161.5
Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

Three starters departed last season from Creighton, including the team's second-leading scorer.

Creighton’s offense revolves around shooting guard Marcus Foster. He leads the team in percentage of minutes and shots taken, and has 22 more three-point attempts than any of his teammates. Last year's first-team All-Big East selection leads the Bluejays with 19.5 points per game and ranks 207th in three-point completion. He’s ball secure and is effective scoring inside the arc, although he completes only 72 percent of his free throws.

Shooting guard Khyri Thomas can do everything that Foster does on offense, but he also plays superb defense. The former co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East ranks 286th in steal percentage.

So even though Creighton lacks a reliable point guard, they have two very capable shooting guards.

The Bluejays are abysmal at offensive rebounding but rank fourth at defensive rebounding percentage. Power forward Ronnie Harrell and center Martin Krampelj rank in the top 200 in defensive rebounding.

Seton Hall returns four starters from last season -- its most important players.

The biggest change for the Pirates is Khadeen Carrington’s transition to point guard. He is a less effective scorer; his points per game has dropped from 17.1 last season to 13.1. Carrington is struggling to compensate for the scoring drop by being more of a distributor. His strength continues to be driving inside, and he ranks 370th in drawing fouls.

Contrary to Creighton, Seton’s most important contributors are not guards. Small forward Desi Rodriguez leads the team with 17.9 points per game. He uses his physicality to be effective inside. He ranks 344th in fouls drawn and 309th in two-point completion.

Center Angel Delgado is one of the nation’s top rebounders and leads the team with 11.3 rebounds per game. He ranks in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. Like Rodriguez, he uses his physicality to draw fouls and averages a double-double per game.

Shooting guard Myles Powell is making up for Carrington’s lack of scoring. Initially known as "butter ball" when he arrived to Seton Hall in 2016, the sophomore is unrecognizable when compared to his freshman self. Powell has improved from 10.7 points per game last season to 14.4, thanks to vastly improved shooting both inside and outside the arc.

The Verdict

This game has the third-highest total on our NCAAB Picks because both teams play at a high tempo.

Seton Hall plays with the 69th-shortest length of offensive possession because they like to force turnovers and score in transition. However, Creighton ranks ninth in giveaways. In their few games that have gone under, Seton Hall has either forced few turnovers or allowed a low shooting percentage. For instance, the Pirates forced only eight turnovers against Rutgers and scored 65 points in an under.

This year’ Creighton is more focused on shooting threes. It has the 66th-highest point distribution from three, 70 ranks higher than last year’s team. But the Pirates continue to boast one of the better perimeter defenses. They slow opponents' offenses by being stingy with pressure and using their length to make ball movement difficult. The Jays will struggle to create plays like they did last year because they don’t have point guard Maurice Watson, who had ranked No. 1 in assist rate. The teams that Creighton has scored the fewest against have been Baylor, Gonzaga and Nebraska, which compare to the Hall in terms of slowing the opposing offense’s pace, length and quality of perimeter defense.

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