Game preview: No.8 Seton Hall battles No.11 Creighton for the Big East titleDate: March 6, 2020
By: Liam Plate
Well, it all comes down to this. One final game for the No. 8 Seton Hall Pirates (21-8 overall, 13-4 conference) to clinch their first Big East regular season title since 1993. They will head to Omaha, Neb., to take on the No. 11 Creighton Bluejays (23-7 overall, 12-5 conference) for their last regular season game.
A win for Seton Hall would mean that they are the sole Big East regular season champions, but a win for the Bluejays would mean that the two teams would split the title. If you factor in a win for Villanova over Georgetown on Saturday with the scenario of Creighton winning the game, then all three teams would get a share of the title.
Both teams are coming off two very different games as the Pirates are coming off a disappointing one-point loss to Villanova on senior night while Creighton most recently topped the Georgetown Hoyas by 15 points.
This will be the second matchup between the Pirates and Bluejays as Creighton came out on top by a score of 87-82. Four players notched 18 points that night with one of them coming off the bench in Denzel Mahoney. As for Seton Hall, Quincy McKnight scored 20 points to lead the way while Sandro Mamukelashvili and Romaro Gill each scored 13.
The Hall’s biggest problem in the first game is that they tried to outshoot the Bluejays from beyond the arc and it did not work out for them. Creighton shot 38.1% from downtown in the game while the Pirates shot a struggling 22.6%.
In order to get the win on Saturday, Seton Hall will need to attack inside and guard the three-point line. The Pirates is a great three-point shooting team, but if they try and get into a shootout with Bluejays at home, it will not end well for them. The Pirates will also need to use their size their advantage and outrebound the Bluejays.
Seton Hall outrebounded them 39-38 last time they played, but I think the Hall needs to increase that margin by more in this game and outrebound them by at least five or six rebounds, which is where Gill and Jared Rhoden will need to step up.
Creighton is shooting 38% from behind the three-point line on the season, but if the Pirates can hold them under 35% this game, they will give themselves a better shot at winning. Myles Powell will be integral in winning this game because the last time they played Powell had an unusual 12 points and the Pirates only lost by five. Seton Hall needs to get Powell open more and get him lanes to the basket.
If Powell is scoring at a high level as usual and the Pirates get production from the supporting cast such as McKnight and Mamukelashvili, Seton Hall will better the chances to top Creighton.
As for the Bluejays, the main key for them to win is to stop Powell. They did a good job on Powell last time out and made him take forced shots. Powell barely had any time to set his feet and square up for shot in the Feb. 12 matchup and with a home crowd behind the Bluejays, they may be able to limit him again.
Creighton also shot 42% in a hostile Prudential Center, so one can only think that the Bluejays will be ready to shoot even better at home. Depending on Seton Hall’s defensive play, Creighton should be able to use their shooting to their advantage once again and shoot the lights out. With a lot riding on the regular season finale, you can expect both teams to bring their A-game.
Wilnir Louis and Michael Daly will be on the call from Omaha with pre-game coverage starting at 2 p.m. and tip off at 2:30 p.m. You can get all your coverage of Saturday afternoon top 15 matchup on 89.5 FM WSOU.
Liam Plate can be reached at email@example.com.