A premier Big East semifinal battle will take place in the Big Apple at Madison Square Garden as the Creighton Blue Jays will tip-off with the Xavier Musketeers with major implications on the line. Let's take an inclusive sneak peek at our Big East Tournament odds series where our Creighton-Xavier prediction and pick will be unveiled.
After downing Villanova by thirteen points yesterday in their quarterfinal matchup, Creighton overwhelmed the Wildcats with an impressive offensive display that included 87 points on the night while shooting 48% from way downtown. One of the more efficient offenses in the Big East, can Creighton finish off what DePaul failed to do against Xavier later tonight?
In the most impressive of comeback fashion, Xavier only led for a total of three minutes in their eventual victory of DePaul as they allowed the Blue Demons to shoot 61.5% over the course of the contest. Somehow, the Musketeers dug deep and prevailed by coming back from a 59-46 deficit with only 14 1/2 minutes remaining. With a 24-8 record overall during the regular season, the Musketeers are eager to continue to prove that they are the real deal come NCAA Tournament time.
Here are the Creighton-Xavier college basketball odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
Big East Tournament Odds: Creighton-Xavier Odds
Creighton: -3.5 (-110)
Xavier: +3.5 (-110)
Over: 152.5 (-115)
Under: 152.5 (-105)
How To Watch Creighton vs. Xavier
Stream: Fox Sports App
Time: 9:00 ET/6:00 PT
*Watch college basketball LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Creighton Could Cover The Spread
Finishing up the regular season a game behind Xavier in the Big East Standings with a 14-6 record in conference play, the Blue Jays were able to dominate the Musketeers in the two teams' latest meeting of the season dating back to Jan 28th when it was Creighton that put on a whooping resulting in an 84-67 victory. Prior to that, it was Xavier that sneaked by in a 90-87 high-scoring affair. Without a doubt, both sides know each other quite well, and Creighton would love to once again shoot efficiently like they did in their victory over Villanova.
Above all else, even when worst comes to worst, the Blue Jays are more than confident that they can put together a solid shooting performance. In an attempt to reach the Big East Championship for the third straight year, Creighton must remain hot from the field. Fortunately, Xavier's close-out defense was extremely suspect at times on Thursday versus DePaul, and the Blue Jays definitely have the pieces offensively to attack the Musketeers from all angles on the floor. Whether it's filling it up from deep or establishing a paint presence down low, Creighton has a multitude of offensive looks to get the job done this evening.
Alas, it will be important for the Blue Jays to force the Musketeers to miss some shots more often than not. Clearly, both teams can score the basketball at will, but the biggest difference on who will cover the spread will be the squad that gets the most stops on the defensive end of the hardwood.
Why Xavier Could Cover The Spread
Despite Xavier would most likely like to avoid playing similar to how they played on Thursday, the Musketeers truly survived and advanced en route to the Big East semifinals. Nevertheless, let's not forget why Xavier is the current two-seed in this tournament, as they thrive themselves on scoring lots of points and they also love to rack up assists on the offensive end.
At first glance, Xavier may truly have to outscore Creighton in shootout fashion after their defense could not get a stop top save their lives last night. Still, give credit where credit is due, as the Musketeers did buckle up big time on the defensive side of the floor versus the Blue Demons that saw Xavier force four straight DePaul misses in the final four possessions of the game. Clearly, Xavier's offense is far from the concern in this one, as their bend but don't break philosophy on defense will need to be implemented especially against a smoking-hot Creighton offensive onslaught.
Not to mention, but if Xavier is going to cover the spread, the Musketeers will need to rely on their experienced senior guard from Oakland in Souley Boum to go bonkers en route to the line-covering triumph. After dropping 16 points in the quarterfinals, Boum will be asked to do even more with the ball in his hands so that Xavier can consistently score each time down the court. Not only is Boum a sharpshooter from the perimeter with a 42.8 shooting percentage from deep, but he can also be a slashing playmaker that sets up his teammates for scores. In big games like these, your best players need to show up in dramatic fashion.
Final Creighton-Xavier Prediction & Pick
With not a whole lot of good feelings for one another, the intensity in this contest should be at an all-time high. Without a doubt, this game will be extremely fast-paced, but expect Creighton to be more consistent on both ends of the floor to get the job done and advance to their third straight conference championship game.
Final Creighton-Xavier Prediction & Pick: Creighton -3.5 (-110)