#14 Creighton vs #10 Villanova Road to March Madness

#14 Creighton vs #10 Villanova Road to March Madness | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Huge game in the Big East on Wednesday as first-place and 10th-ranked Villanova hosts second-place and No. 14 Creighton. Nova will be favored on the NCAAB odds and is +1800 to win the national title. The Bluejays are +3300.

How to Bet Creighton at Villanova NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Wednesday, 8:30 PM ET
  • Where: Finneran Pavilion
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Stream: Fox Sports Go
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Villanova will be favored)

Last Meeting

When these teams played in Omaha on Feb. 13, the Bluejays rolled shockingly easily 86-70 when they were ranked No. 19 and Villanova fifth. Creighton star Marcus Zegarowski scored a season-high 25 points. Zegarowski was a constant throughout and bested Collin Gillespie in the highly anticipated matchup of two of the nation’s top point guards. Creighton knocked off a top-five opponent for the first time since beating Villanova in February 2018. It was Villanova’s most lopsided loss since a 25-point defeat to Ohio State in November 2019.

Why Bet on Creighton? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Creighton (17-6) had a four-game winning streak snapped Saturday, 77-69 at Xavier. Senior Paul Scruggs and sophomore Zach Freemantle combined for 40 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Musketeers.

After Creighton hit the opening basket of the second half to tie the game, the Musketeers went on a 10-0 run capped by a Scruggs three pointer – giving Xavier its first double-figure lead (43-33) of the game at the 15:12 mark. Xavier led by as many as 13 points (67-54) with 5:48 left in regulation before Creighton scored nine unanswered points, closing within four points (67-63) and forcing a Xavier timeout (3:38). The Musketeers outscored Creighton, 10-6, down the stretch on 4-for-6 shooting. Dwon Odom and Adam Kunkel both scored four points in the final four minutes of the game.

Xavier won the battle on the glass, 36-32, and scored three more points off of turnovers (12-9). The Musketeers also had four more blocks (9-5). Xavier hit 54.2 percent (32-for-59) of its shot attempts, its fourth-highest mark in a game this season.

Damien Jefferson paced Creighton with 19 points and Marcus Zegarowski had a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists. Creighton shot 42.6 percent from the field and just 50 percent in 16 free throw attempts.  The Bluejays did own a decisive advantage in transition, outscoring XU 19-4 in fast break points. Mitch Ballock tied a Big East record by appearing in his 72nd career league game. With 11 points, Ballock tied Ben Walker for 26th on Creighton’s all-time scoring list with 1,238 career points. Zegarowski moved into 32nd on Creighton’s all-time scoring list with 1,149 career points, passing Khyri Thomas (1,140).

Why Bet on Villanova? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Wildcats (15-4) were upset 73-61 at Butler on Sunday. After a 9-0 Villanova run cut Butler’s lead to 42-37 with 14:14 to play, Butler responded with a 12-2 spurt to take its largest lead of the game (54-39) at the 10:40 mark. Villanova got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

Butler limited Villanova to 2-of-27 shooting from three-point range in the game. Butler’s last four opponents have combined to shoot only 15-of-91 from three-point range (16.5 percent). Freshman Chuck Harris had a game-high 20 points, his fourth 20-point game of the season. Fifteen of Harris’s points came in the first half. Senior Bryce Nze posted his fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Nze tied a career-high with five assists. It was Butler’s second Top 10 win of the season; the Bulldogs also defeated No. 8/6 Creighton on Jan. 16.

“I don’t think you could have scripted this any better for our seniors on their Senior Day,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. “This is one where you felt like our guys deserved it. We had great commitment to the game plan and had really good resiliency throughout. We knew that Nova would have a run in them, and we were able to respond each time.”

Sophomore Jeremiah Robinson-Earl delivered his fourth double-double of 2020-21 with 16 points and 16 rebounds for Nova. Colin Gillespie finished with 14 points, five boards, and two assists. Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels finished with 10 points apiece for the Wildcats, but the team could not overcome the Bulldogs’ defense. The Wildcats had just six assists on their 24 made field goals.

Butler’s huge win at Hankie Fieldhouse was a stark contrast to the teams’ previous meeting back in December, which the Wildcats dominated, 85-66.

“They just played us 1-on-1 and said, go ahead, try and beat us,” said Villanova coach Jay Wright. “They didn’t bring help and we weren’t physical or aggressive enough to beat them 1-on-1 or force help. I give their physicalness a lot of credit.”

Villanova dropped to No. 10 in the new AP poll on Monday. Creighton dropped a spot to #14 and is the only other team from the conference ranked.

Expert Prediction

  • Villanova 75, Creighton 72

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