Cougars, Bluejays battle for Big Apple

Cougars, Bluejays battle for Big Apple

With the reward of visiting Madison Square Garden drawing ever closer, BYU and Creighton must first grapple with each other in tonight’s quarterfinal round of the NIT.

According to online sports book BetDSI, the Cougars opened as 4.5-point favorites to secure that coveted semifinal slot in New York. The over/under figure rests at 166.5.

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BYU (25-10) and its glass-cleaning ways dispatched both UAB and Virginia Tech last week. The consistency with which Dave Rose’s team dominates the boards is truly something to behold. Only five programs in the entire country boast more total rebounds than the Cougars’ 1,430.

The Bluejays (20-14) certainly can’t attest to being in the same ballpark in terms of paint production. Seven-foot center Geoffrey Groselle does fine work, but there’s little in the way of support. If Zach Hanson and Khyri Thomas fail to make baskets by the bushelful, Creighton usually finds it very difficult to compete.

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Versatility often reigns in Provo, though. Combo guard Nick Emery averages a squad-high 16.2 points per game. The freshman’s at his best when pulling up from deep and attacking the rim in equal measure. His ability to score from a variety of different spots on the floor also gives pivotmen Kyle Davis and Corbin Kaufusi additional room to roam.

BYU’s biggest advantage of all could be at the charity stripe, where it’s customary for the Cougs to get 20-plus attempts. If they’re able to stay relaxed and confident in that area, this one may spiral out of control early.

TUESDAY NCAA FREE PICK: BYU -4.5

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