The Blue Jays are coming off high profile losses in two of their last three contests to the likes of Kansas and Marquette while the Red Storm have lost two straight themselves at the hands of Big East rivals Seton Hall and Georgetown. Tonight, St. John’s hosts Creighton and will have their hands full attempting to avoid a third consecutive loss.
These two teams played against each other in March prior to the pandemic shutdown with the Red Storm handing Greg McDermott’s guys a 20 point thrashing. On top of that, they actually led the Blue Jays at halftime of the Big East Quarterfinals before the league pulled the plug on the tournament and the world as we know it came to a screeching halt. Was this an aberration or does Mike Anderson have the formula for attacking Creighton’s poor defense? I suspect the answer will prove to be the former in this case.
Conference Player of the Year candidate Marcus Zegarowski and rising star Denzel Mahoney should give St. John’s fits on the offensive side along with Mitch Ballock who could prove to be the deciding factor if he’s on from beyond the arc in this one. St. John’s Julian Champagnie currently leads the Big East in scoring during his breakout sophomore season and I expect the Red Storm to put up points in this game. I just don’t think they have enough firepower to stay with Creighton for the full 40 minutes at this stage.
The Blue Jays are top five in the nation in points per possession and while St. John’s has been effective at turning teams over to jumpstart their offense, Creighton is outstanding at protecting the basketball. If the Red Storm can’t create easy scoring opportunities, they’ll struggle to stay within single digits against an elite shooting team like Creighton. I grabbed the Blue Jays at -6.5 but feel comfortable laying up to 8 points if the number gets there prior to tip-off.
BET: Creighton -7 @ -115