Creighton vs. Seton Hall Pick – February 15th

Seton Hall has dropped six of nine overall to see their bubble dreams start to evaporate.  They get a HUGE opportunity tonight at home against Creighton.  Can they take advantage of it?

We got back on the winning track last night as Clemson kept their NCAA dreams alive with a convincing home win over bubble-mate Wake Forest.  The Tigers are still just 4-9 in ACC play, so it is an uphill climb, but if the preview bracket the NCAA Committee released is any indication, the love is strong for the ACC Conference (and surprisingly light for the Pac-12 and Big Ten).

Nothing major to report from yesterday; the good teams all won convincingly, Kentucky stomped Tennessee in a revenge game, Purdue yawned past Rutgers and Florida stayed red hot.  The Florida game was the most interesting one to me, because not only did they win on the road against an improving Auburn program, but they scored 61 points in the second half en route to a 114-95 victory.  Florida is looking like a dangerous team no one saw coming a month ago, and they could very well win the SEC.

There are some really good games on the schedule tonight, starting with Arkansas’s HUGE opportunity to get on the right side of the bubble with a season-making win at South Carolina, Northwestern with a chance to go from “will they make the Tournament” to “could they be a Top Four seed and make a Sweet Sixteen?” with a home win tonight over Maryland, and the biggest game on the schedule, Duke puts their five-game winning streak on the line against an angry and desperate Virginia squad, fresh off a bizarre overtime collapse to instate rival Virginia Tech and losers of three of their last five.  That game in on ESPN at 9pm (and, no, I do not have a pick – Duke Ban still not rescinded)

Today’s NCAA Basketball Pick:

Creighton Blue Jays -1.5 at Seton Hall Pirates

Like many people, I left Creighton for dead after the devastating injury to their point guard, Maurice Watson, Jr. and the subsequent two losses to Marquette and Georgetown.  But a funny thing has happened since then.  They had a pair of dominant wins over DePaul (think of those like aggressive scrimmages), a tough two-point loss to Xavier and an awesome road win at Butler.  Redshirt-freshman Justin Patton has emerged to help fill a huge void and Marcus Foster assumed some additional burden, and all of a sudden, Creighton looks just fine.  And remember, this was a borderline Final Four contender before the injury.

Meanwhile, a closer look into Seton Hall’s resume and you see a shaky picture.  They are 3-6 in their last nine games with losses to St. John’s, Providence and Marquette.  All three of those are on the road, and losing by 30 to Villanova is no big deal.  So maybe we give them a pass?  Well, their wins weren’t real impressive either, struggling to beat Providence at home.

Seton Hall isn’t a bad basketball team, but they aren’t a real good one either.  Creighton was a Top Ten team before Watson went down, and somewhat surprisingly, they still appear to be a Top 20 team without him.

I like Creighton to win and cover with some room to spare on the road tonight and put a pin in the Pirates already flimsy bubble. The Jays are 7-1 ATS on the road this season, and now that losing Watson doesn’t appear to be a deal-breaker, I put much more credence in that number.

Today’s Pick:  CREIGHTON BLUE JAYS -1.5