Marquette is still trying to enter bubble discussions while Creighton is trying to lock up a top-Four seed for March. A loss here would leave the Golden Eagles in trouble and likely out of the Big Dance. The good news for them is that Creighton has struggled in Conference road Games.
OUtside of the Villanova thrashing, the Bluejays lost at Providence and St. John’s, while also barely getting by Butler on the road. There’s no reason why Marquette doesn’t have a chance to win this Game.
The Golden Eagles have won three straight Games overall and their only home Big East loss was against Villanova in overtime. This is a team with Elite 8 experience that would like to get back to the Tourney.
In the first meeting between these teams, Creighton made 13 threes and that was it as three different players made at least three from long range in the 67-49 win. Marquette couldn’t really do much on the offensive end shooting 36 percent and only making two three-pointers.
That should change a bit in this one, not only because of the aforementioned road/home differences for these teams, but also because Davante Gardner had one of his worst Games of the year in that matchup. Gardner, Marquette’s leading scorer (14.7 PPG), played only 16 minutes scoring just Four points. Gardner has reached double-digits in eight straight Games and should cause matchup problems for the Bluejays down low. He’ll probably draw either Ethan Wragge or Will Artino, both of whom will have trouble going muscle-for-muscle with Gardner.
That’s probably where the advantages end for Marquette because of how well Creighton is playing. Wragge will be a tough mark for the bigger Chris Otule and Gardner. Then you have Doug McDermott who’s averaging 32.2 points over his last five Games. Marquette will use the likes of Jamil Wilson and Juan Anderson on him, and probably any other number of guys. McDermott creates mismatches all over the place due to his size and shooting ability which opens up other players.
Grant Gibbs and Austin Chatman run the show for the Bluejays with both being able to shoot and dish the ball out. While they lack big guys, their bench is filled with feisty guards that can score.
One of Marquette’s problems this year has been scoring at a consistent rate so if Creighton continues to shoot well, someone on the Golden Eagles will have to step up. Jamil Wilson is the likely candidate as he’s been on a tear since scoring one point in the loss at St. John’s. Wilson is averaging 19.3 points of his last three Games to go with 21 total rebounds. Todd Mayo has also reached double-digits in three straight Games, due to his ability to draw fouls with 17 made free-throws in those Games.
The Golden Eagles have depth, but they aren’t as consistent as the Bluejays which is why they’re on the outside of the Big Dance looking in.
If Gardner struggles again in this Game, it’ll be difficult for Marquette to pull out the win, even at home. This should be a much closer Game and come down to the final couple minutes just like in the recent road Games for Creighton.
Predicted Score- Creighton 75 Marquette 69