Creighton at Villanova Preview and Game Pick: One of the biggest Big East games of the season will happen when the Villanova Wildcats host the Creighton Blue Jays, in a game that has conference title implications.
Nova Needs to Avoid Sweep
Despite a rocky month, Villanova (15-4, 10-3) still has their eyes on another national title. They have one of the best combinations of side and scoring in the country, while also having the best coach.
Jay Wright’s team hadn’t lost since Thanksgiving weekend to, at the time, an unranked Virginia Tech team, who had gone on to enjoy a surprise season.
‘Nova had passed every test since and won nine straight, but an upset at St. John’s would be followed by two more road losses would begin to question the legitimacy of the Wildcats as championship contenders.
Senior guard Collin Gillespie leads an experienced team into what feels like a must-win situation. He’s another one of those great Villanova guards, and he averages 14.4 points per game, while leading the team in assists (4.7).
Guard Justin Moore is a versatile player who does everything well, and he averages 12.8 points per game. Tulane transfer Caleb Daniels scores 10.6 points per game and shoots 41% from deep.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Jermaine Samuels are the starters up front. The sophomore forward leads the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game. He recorded a big double-double against Butler and he will need to carry that momentum into this game. Samuels averages 11.1 points per game and grabs 6.3 rebounds per game.
Creighton Can Smell Big East Title
After splitting the Big East Championship three ways with Villanova and Seton Hall last season, Creighton (17-6, 13-5) has a chance to win their own for the first time in school history. Despite coming off a tough road loss to Xavier, they’re looking to sweep Villanova too.
Creighton is one of the higher scoring teams in the nation at 78.6 points per game and all five starters average double figures. Point guard Marcus Zegarowski leads the team in scoring (14.9) and assists (4.6). He scored 25 points in the win over ‘Nova last month, while senior guard Mitch Ballock caught fire, hitting six three’s en route to scoring 20 points.
Senior guard Denzel Mahoney is second on the team in scoring (13.9) and he grabs 4.5 boards per game. Damien Jefferson and Christian Bishop start in the frontcourt. Jefferson is an athletic player, who can score from inside and out.
He averages 12.3 points per game and he recorded a double-double in the previous meeting. Bishop also recorded a double-double, and he averages 11.5 points per game and he leads the team in rebounding (5.9).
Creighton at Villanova Preview – Game Pick: Trust the Blue Jays
Villanova is unlikely to come out as cold as they did against Butler. Being back on their home floor should help Jay Wright’s team as well. If the first matchup and anything else within the past month has taught us anything about Villanova, it’s that they aren’t invincible. They aren’t in that Gonzaga/Baylor tier.
They can be beaten, especially if their shots aren’t falling. Creighton is one of the more complete teams in the nation, and they’re just as strong as ‘Nova on both sides of the ball, if not better. The Blue Jays could beat the Wildcats again and it won’t be a surprise this time. Trust Creighton’s momentum and bet on them as road underdogs.