No. 19 Seton Hall travels to Nebraska to battle Creighton after the Pirates came back from a 13-point deficit to win in the first meeting.
Yes, it’s the time of year again where we will start to see Big East opponents for the second time. Okay, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself as the next school to resurface is Marquette on February 7th, but we are undeniably entering the thick of league play.
Following a workman-like-but-not-spectacular win over Georgetown in front of a packed Prudential Center, No. 19 Seton Hall (15-3, 4-1) will play in front of another raucous crowd, but this time away from home.
Aiming for just their fourth 5-1 start to Big East play (’92-93, ’99-00, ’11-12), Seton Hall must complete a regular season sweep of Creighton (14-4, 4-2) for the second time to do so.
Previously ranked, Creighton dropped to the first team outside of the AP poll — A.K.A. No. 26– after beating Butler but losing at Xavier this past week. Before that, the Bluejays won three straight against mid-tier opponents after a loss in their league-opener in Newark.
While a little shaky away from the friendly confines of CenturyLink Arena, Creighton is an intimidating 27-3 over their last 30 home games; playing in front a routinely sold-out crowd has its added benefits.
Five-point underdogs tonight, Seton Hall has its work cut out if you remember the last meeting between the two: the Bluejays led by double digits early in the second half and held a 76-69 lead with ten to play. In the end, a big performance from the ‘Big Four’ (plus Mike Nzei) won out in a comeback.
Leading scorer Marcus Foster has been lights out from deep (17-of-36) since missing all four attempts after an early knee injury scare in Newark, while super redshirt sophomore (this is his first true season after two redshirts) Martin Krampelj is demanding neutrals to remember his name by averaging 13.3 ppg and 9.6 rpg in league play including a career-high 23 against the Hall that included seemingly infinite dunks.
It should be a fun one tonight with a bunch of seniors on a mission up against great coaching and a dangerous environment (and a pretty good team). It’s key for Seton Hall to withstand runs as best they can as they’ve haunted them in all prior away-from-home losses.
A win would prime this weekend’s visit from Xavier as an opportunity for Seton Hall to move into sole possession of second place in the league, should they win both games. While Kevin Willard won’t admit it, he breaks seasons up into chunks of games, and splitting the next two is the realistic goal here.
Stat to watch: Angel Delgado has recorded 17 consecutive double-doubles in Big East regular season play, dating back to the 76-46 loss at Villanova a year ago, yesterday.
Series history (since 1950): 11-5 SH
KenPom says: No. 23 Creighton 84, No. 27 Seton Hall 79
Projected Creighton starters
G – Davion Mintz
G – Marcus Foster
G/F – Khyri Thomas
F – Martin Krampelj
F – Toby Hegner
Projected Seton Hall starters
PG – Khadeen Carrington
G – Myles Powell
F – Desi Rodriguez
F – Mike Nzei
F – Angel Delgado
TV: 8:30et, FS1
Radio: AM970 / SIRIUS 135 / XM 203
Opening line: Seton Hall +5