Big East Tournament: Seton Hall takes on Creighton

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Three-seed Seton Hall takes on six-seed Creighton in a Big East Tournament quarterfinals rubber match tonight at Madison Square Garden. Please use this for all in- and post-game discussion until I can publish my first story.

Seton Hall will win if…

They contain Maurice Watson Jr. Of Creighton’s last eight wins (which dates back to their victory at the Rock), Watson Jr. has been the KenPom MVP in four of them. The other four? He averaged 9 assists per. Derrick Gordon’s sharpness (concussion) will be something to keep an eye on here.

The battle on the glass is won. The rebounding margin was 46-27 in their win on the road and 40-39 in Newark. Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado combined for just nine in the loss and 22 in victory. Rebounds control how many second chance points a fine-tuned Creighton offense will get.

Seton Hall will lose if…

Four of the Hall’s six Big East losses have come when they allow a team to shoot over 40-percent from the perimeter; Creighton was 8-of-19 in Newark. In 11 of their 12 conference wins, they’ve held opponents to under 40-percent from three.

Creighton has a ton of threats that will keep Derrick Gordon & Co. busy: Isaiah Zeirden (71-181, 39%) and James Milliken (44-121, 36%) as two-guards while forwards Cole Huff (51-145, 35%) and Toby Hegner (40-114, 35%) can shoot it from deep a la Brandon Mobley. Expect Ish Sanogo to hound the latter two.

The team isn’t focused from the start. I’m not sure how much we can chalk the first meeting up to disrespecting an opponent, but a strong theme among fans going into the game was that Creighton at home would be one of the easier Big East wins.

Far from it.

Creighton was relentless offensively to the point that it made me think Seton Hall wasn’t expecting such execution and the game snowballed in the Jays’ favor. A few weeks later in Omaha, the effort from Seton Hall was workman-like and it showed as everyone chipped in; Sanogo’s 12 points, 8 boards and 3 steals encapsulates that.

KenPom says: No. 30 Seton Hall 74, No. 45 Creighton 72 (59%)

Series history (Seton Hall 4-3)

Jan. 30, 2016, SETON HALL 75, Creighton 65, Omaha, Nebraska
Jan. 9, 2016, Creighton 82, SETON HALL 67, Newark, N.J.
Feb. 28, 2015, SETON HALL 67, Creighton 66, Newark, N.J.
Jan. 10, 2015, SETON HALL 68, Creighton 67, Omaha, Nebraska
Feb. 23, 2014, Creighton 72, SETON HALL 71, Omaha, Nebraska
Jan. 4, 2014, Creighton 79, SETON HALL 66, Newark, N.J.
March 16, 1991, SETON HALL 81, Creighton 69, Salt Lake City, Utah

Projected Creighton starters:

Maurice Watson Jr. (14.5 ppg, 6.6 apg)
James Milliken (9.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg)
Khyri Thomas (5.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
Cole Huff (10.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
Geoffrey Groselle (10.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg)

Projected Seton Hall starters:

Isaiah Whitehead (17.9 ppg, 4.9 apg)
Khadeen Carrington (13.9 ppg, 2.5 apg)
Desi Rodriguez (12.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
Ismael Sanogo (4.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
Angel Delgado (10.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg)

When: 930 et
TV: FOX Sports 1
Radio: AM970
Opening line: Seton Hall -2