We have gone undefeated this week on college basketball picks, with two of what I would call, bad beats, where we actually pushed the bet. It is hard to argue that a push is a bad beat, but I certainly felt let down yesterday after taking Oklahoma at -1 against Mississippi State. I mentioned in my pick yesterday that I actually got Oklahoma as +1 underdogs the night before, but still felt there was value in backing the Sooners as small favorites after an early line move.
And after watching the game, OU was clearly the side to be on. The Sooners led this game for thirty-nine minutes and thirty-eight seconds of the forty-minute game. But every time they would go on a run, they would let Mississippi State right back into, and they could never put enough distance between themselves and the Bulldogs to put the game away for good.
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 25, 2020
Oklahoma led by four points with just over a minute left in the game, when Mississippi State guard Tyson Carter hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to just one point. And that is where the game ended. The Sooners had a couple of good looks to pad the lead on their final possession, and we had to fade a buzzer-beater from Robert Woodward, but in the end, the game finished with a 63-62 final score and we pushed the bet.
I guess you know you are running good when your bad beats result in refunds and not losses, but this felt like it should have been a winner. What can you do, sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce our way late in the game. We will look to get right back to our winning ways today as we head to the Big East for a showdown between Creighton and Xavier.
- Xavier Musketeers (13-6) at Creighton Blue Jays (15-5)
- CHI Health Center, Omaha
- 1:00 PM PST
- TV: FS1
The Creighton Blue Jays host the Xavier Musketeers tonight in a battle of two Big East teams trying to stay relevant in what just might be the toughest league in the country. While the Big East doesn’t have the star power at the top of the league as some leagues like the Big 10, ACC, or Big 12, there isn’t a single team in the league right now that isn’t in the top-80 on kenpom. No other conference in the country can say they don’t have a single bad team like the Big East can this season.
The Blue Jays are hoping they can stay hot in Big East play as they have won three out of their last four games. Creighton’s resume continues to be an impressive one as they have wins over quality opposition such as Xavier, DePaul, Providence, Marquette, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Louisiana Tech, and Texas Tech. The Blue Jays 15-5 record is especially impressive when you consider they have an SOS of 16th in the nation.
Creighton looks for its first regular-season sweep of Xavier on Sunday during our annual Pink Out Game.
— Creighton Men’s Basketball (@BluejayMBB) January 23, 2020
For Xavier, the Musketeers have really struggled in league play as they are just 2-4 in conference. But don’t think this team can’t compete with good teams. They have signature wins over top-100 teams Missouri, UCONN, Cincinnati, TCU, St. John’s, and Georgetown. They, too, have played an aggressive schedule as their SOS is in the top-50.
Creighton Blue Jays
This Creighton team is one of the more underrated teams in the country, especially on their home floor. Winning on the road at Creighton has always been a tough task for visiting teams, and this year is no different. The Blue Jays are 11-1 in Omaha, with the one loss coming to Villanova.
And it’s not just that they are winning at home, it is how they are winning at home. Ten of the Blue Jays home wins have come by at least nine points, and the only game that was really all that competitive was their four-point win over Providence. It is much more a testament to just how good the Big East is this year, than to where Creighton stands, when you see that the Blue Jays are in fourth place in the league standings.
When you have a league like the Big East, where every team is talented, some good teams are going to end up getting the short end of the stick. Right now, that team is Xavier. This team showed us in the non-conference that they could beat good teams, but they just haven’t been able to breakthrough in Big East play as they have lost four out of their first six games.
The Musketeers hosted Creighton on their home floor two weeks ago and did not have a performance they were proud of. In that first matchup, the Blue Jays led by double digits for nearly all of the second half and coasted to a twelve-point victory.
Despite getting fifteen offensive boards in that game, the Musketeers just couldn’t capitalize as they shot an abysmal 19% from three on twenty-six attempts. They must find a way to shoot at a higher rate from three tonight if they want to avenge their home loss on the road today.
Who Do I Like?
Now that we are hitting the second half of conference play in most leagues, we are starting to see a lot of rematches. And while we can’t always expect the games to go exactly the same way they did on the first go-around; it does give you a lot of relevant data to look at. And when you look at this first matchup between these two teams, the Blue Jays were clearly the far superior team.
They had five players score in double digits, shot 39% from deep, and won the rebounding battle. Nick Marshall, for Xavier, had one of his best games of the season as he flirted with a triple-double and ended his day with twenty-one points, nine rebounds, and seven assists, and it didn’t matter, as the Blue Jays coasted to an easy victory.
I don’t see how Xavier is going to be able to be much better in this game than they were at home in this matchup two weeks ago. We talked about how poorly they shot the ball from the perimeter, but when you look at their season stats, they are 326th in the country from three. So, you can expect another cold shooting night for the Musketeers.
And Creighton? They hit a bunch of threes in the first game, and when you look at their stats, they are 34th in the nation, shooting 37% from three-point land as a team. I see them making it rain in Omaha today. I think the Blue Jays dominate this one as Xavier just doesn’t have the raw shooting ability to hang with Creighton. At the end of the day, I see Creighton winning by double digits. Give me the Creighton Blue Jays laying -5-points tonight on their home floor!