Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Creighton Bluejays Pick 1/1/20

by | Jan 1, 2020 | cbb

Marquette Golden Eagles (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Creighton Bluejays (11-2 SU, 6-6 ATS)

When: Wednesday, January 1, 9 p.m.

Where: CHI Health Center, Omaha, Neb.

TV: CBS Sports

Point Spread: MARQ +3/CREI -3 (Intertops - Deposit $200 Get $100 FREE!)

Total: O/U 151.5

Last Time Out:

Marquette smashed Central Arkansas 106-54; Creighton routed Midland 91-54.

Scouting the Golden Eagles:

So what exactly does Markus Howard do for an encore? Last year, Howard had his breakout game in Omaha, finishing with 53 points as Marquette outlasted Creighton in overtime for its sixth win in seven tries against the Bluejays and its fourth consecutive win in Omaha. Howard has never really had problems with Creighton during his four years in Milwaukee, as he has averaged just under 25 points a game against the Bluejays in six games against them and scored 86 points on them last year alone.

It isn’t good news for Creighton that Howard seems to be rounding into mid-season form already. Grambling, North Dakota State, and Central Arkansas are nobody’s idea of opponents who would be competitive in the Big East, but topping 26 points in three consecutive games is impressive against anybody. Scoring beyond Howard is more limited, but as long as the Golden Eagles rebound it well, that’s OK. Marquette has five players who shoot better than 40 percent from deep, and they average more than 40 rebounds per game as a team, a combination that’s tough for opponents to match.

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Scouting the Bluejays:

This matchup might become Markus vs. Marcus, as Marcus Zegarowski has been stepping up as the main man for Creighton in his team’s recent games. Other than an off-day against Arizona State, Zegarowski has scored in double figures in six of the Bluejays’ past seven games, punctuated by 32 points against Texas Tech in an overtime win over the Red Raiders. Zegarowski has a bit more of a supporting cast around him in guards Ty-Shon Alexander and Mitch Ballock, but that’s by necessity, as the Bluejays don’t shoot the three as well as Marquette does and definitely don’t rebound on the same level as the Golden Eagles.

Nor does Creighton push the ball anywhere near as much as Marquette does. The Golden Eagles love to run, but Creighton’s style is more about offensive efficiency and making it stand up. More often not, the style has worked for Creighton.

X-Factor:

Senior leadership. This is Howard’s last swing through the Big East and his last chance to claim the conference championship that has proven elusive throughout his time at Marquette. With a chance to win a share of the Big East title last year, the Golden Eagles botched it by losing their last four regular-season games, including a home loss to Creighton that marked their only loss to the Bluejays since 2016. Howard wasn’t the reason Marquette lost its chance to topple league kingpin Villanova, but he knows that this is his best and last chance to win a title, and he’ll likely have every reason to try to take this game over.

Marquette will Cover if:

The Golden Eagles can use the rebounding edge to pound away at Creighton. Marquette has a significant advantage in size and strength over an opponent that barely ever sends a player taller than 6-foot-7 on the court. Creighton is very guard-oriented, so anything the Golden Eagles can do to either give themselves the early edge or force Creighton to play the game on the perimeter will go a long way toward their success.

Creighton will Cover if:

The Bluejays can get enough of their deeper shots to go down. Creighton’s best hope is getting some smart shots and at least giving themselves a chance to track down the sometimes long rebounds that come with trying a 3-pointer. If Creighton can neutralize the edges that come with this matchup, they can get the cover and home win.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:

Creighton has really struggled against Marquette in recent years, and this doesn’t look like the time for that to change. Howard has been nothing short of sensational against the Bluejays in the past meetings of 2019, and he’s coming off three consecutive games of finding the weakest link in the defense and exploiting it fantastically, which suggests that the Golden Eagles might continue to have success against Creighton in a location that’s been a home away from home for Marquette in recent years.

I think Marquette is the better team and has the best player, and that’s going to make a big difference here. Give me the Golden Eagles. Bet this game and ALL of your sports bets (sides and totals) at discounted odds -105 at the web’s BEST sportsbook —> 5Dimes!