BE&B Predictions: Creighton at Xavier, 3.1.14

Why the X-Men will take care of McDermott and Co:

– Posted by Buzz –

Chris Mack’s team needs one more key win for their resume in order to cement their place on the right side of the NCAA bubble. This is an opportunity to do just that. Granted, the Musketeers also have Villanova visiting next week so this isn’t a must win, but important nonetheless.

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Creighton only beat Xavier by 6 in their first meeting on January 12th. In that game, the Bluejays shot 14 of 28 from three point land. In order for the upset to occur today, the X-men cannot allow so many three pointers from Creighton’s sharpshooters.

Tuesday’s win over St. John’s was a statement game for this team in that they got back to who they wanted to be. Mack and sophomore leader Semaj Christon were both pumped up with their team’s competitiveness in the win and will look to take that forward into the Creighton game.

Also, the game being at the Cintas Center is a huge advantage. Xavier is 6-1 at home in Big East play, while Creighton has certainly been a little less formidable away from Omaha. Obviously, this is no easy test, and Doug McDermott will have something to say about it, but this is a great opportunity for Xavier to solidify their resume with an upset win.

Xavier 80, Creighton 78.

Why the Bluejays will continue their winning ways at Xavier:

– Posted by Zurg –

Creighton (AP: 9, KenPom: 5, BPI: 10) travels to play Xavier (AP: NR, KenPom: 43, BPI: 48). Creighton has won four straight since losing at St. John’s on February 9th and are winners of 8 of 9 overall.

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Creighton’s length and ability to stretch the defense presents matchup problems for many teams (Hey there, Villanova!) – and most of those teams are made up of a big, bruising frontcourt that has no means of guarding players like Doug McDermott, Will Artino, Grant Gibbs, and Ethan Wragge.

Players like Xavier’s Matt Stainbrook have a tough time contributing against a team like Creighton. Stainbrook has been a rock for the Musketeers, putting up 11.1 points and 8.1 rebounds a game this season, and he did have an impressive 15 and 11 line at Creighton earlier this season. Still, I expect Creighton to exploit the matchup of whoever Stainbrook guards.

Xavier’s defensive efficiency ranks 65th in the country but only 7th in the conference. Creighton has the most efficient offense nationally – and the highest effective Field Goal Percentage. The Bluejays are experienced, smart, and silky smooth from distance.

Unless Semaj Christon puts the team on his back, I expect Doug McDermott and the Creighton Bluejays to head to Georgetown on a five-game winning streak.

Creighton 78, Xavier 69

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