#5 Villanova vs #19 Creighton

#5 Villanova vs #19 Creighton Road to March Madness | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on February 12, 2021

It’s the Game of the Year in the Big East on Saturday when No. 5 Villanova visits No. 19 Creighton. The Wildcats (13-2, 8-1 Big East) and Bluejays (15-5, 11-4) technically are tied for first in the conference. Villanova will be a short favorite on the NCAAB odds Saturday.

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

  • When: Saturday, 5 PM ET
  • Where: CHI Health Center Omaha
  • TV: Fox
  • Stream: Fox Sports Go
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Villanova will be favored)

Last Meeting

These teams are scheduled to play again March 3 in Philadelphia. Last season, the split the two meetings. The one in Omaha was a 64-59 final in favor of the Wildcats. Collin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey (now in NBA) made back-to-back 3-pointers to give Villanova the lead for good in the final four minutes, and the Wildcats s forced crucial turnovers in the second half to complete a comeback from a 14-point deficit. Gillespie finished with 24 points, making 8 of 10 from the field, 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Creighton was just 3-for-14 from deep. The Bluejays missed eight of nine shots during a stretch late in the game.

Why Bet on Villanova? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Villanova (13-2) destroyed Marquette 96-64 on Wednesday. The Wildcats used a 12-2 run spanning the halves to take a big lead on Jeremiah Robinson-Earl’s 3-pointer that made it 45-32 less than two minutes into the second half. The Golden Eagles got their deficit under double digits on Koby McEwen’s 3-pointer that cut Villanova’s advantage to 45-36.

However, Theo John was called for a Flagrant 1 foul on Collin Gillespie on the play. Gillespie made both free throws and Jermaine Samuels hit a jumper on the ensuing possession and it was a 13-point Wildcats lead and the game was over for the most part. Marquette shot 46.0 percent from the field as a team, but the Wildcats knocked down over 60 percent of their opportunities and scored 30 points off MU miscues.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl fell one shy of a career high with 27 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field, including 5-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc. Entering Wednesday, the 6-foot-9 Robinson-Earl had made 12 three-point baskets in 14 games while shooting 27.2% from deep. His career high for threes in a game was two.

“I work at it with the assistants (coaches) to get my shot preparation right, just the little details, pay attention to the details getting a lot of those shots up,” said Robinson-Earl, who added eight rebounds and three steals. “So when you’re in the game taking those shots, you’re just as confident as possible.”

Gillespie added 16 points and 11 assists. The 96 total points were also a Villanova season high. In the second half, the Wildcats scored a season-high 56 points on 70% shooting from the field and 66.7% (10 of 15) from three, with 15 assists against two turnovers. It was the 11th time in 15 games this season that Nova has scored 40 or more points in the second half.

“The shots were falling for us in the second half,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “It was just one of those nights. You’re happy when you have them but you know you aren’t going to have them every night. We’ll take it.

Why Bet on Creighton? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Creighton (15-5) won 63-48 at Georgetown on Tuesday. The Bluejays made a school-record 19 steals, with Mitch Ballock and Denzel Mahoney swiping the ball four times apiece. The Hoyas, with 24 turnovers, committed more than 20 for the third time this season. Creighton’s 11 steals in the first half tied its season-high for any game and were its most in any half of any game since also having 11 in the first half vs. Southern on Dec. 15, 2008.

Georgetown shot 27.6%, its worst mark since making 25% of its field goals in a loss to Cincinnati on Feb. 23, 2011. The 48 points were the least allowed by Creighton to a Power 5 or Big East team since Nebraska scored 42 in 2012 back when the Bluejays belonged to the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Bluejays embarked on a 14-2 run spanning halftime to stretch their lead to 37-21, and the margin grew as big 24 (58-34) in the second half. Christian Bishop led Creighton with 17 points, just ahead of Ballock (14) and Damien Jefferson (12). Bishop also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

The Jays also won the paint battle 38-12, just six days after losing 32-30 in that same category. They became the first major conference team to win seven conference road games this season, their most since 2011-12 when they were in the Missouri Valley.

Ballock (1,202) surpassed Ray Yost (1,196) for 27th on Creighton’s career scoring list. Ballock also moved into a tie for 10th on the Big East’s all-time list for 3-pointers in league play with 166, matching Kerry Kittles and Terry Dehere.

Creighton improved to 101-39 under Greg McDermott and 135-51 all-time when ranked in the AP poll.

Expert Prediction
  • Creighton 75, Villanova 73
   
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