Sunday, February 16, 2014
When: 5:07 pm ET
RPI: Villanova: 5 | Creighton: 11
KenPom: Villanova: 6 | DePaul: 6
CenturyLink Center (Capacity: 17,272)
Where: Omaha, NE
TV: Fox Sports 1
Odds: Creighton, -2.5 | O/U: 147
Creighton enters this game on a bit of a down turn. Things have not been all bright over in the Mid-West. Most recently, the Bluejays managed to survive an upset at the hands of the Butler Bulldogs, winning 68-63 thanks to Doug McDermott's late 3. Previous to that game, Creighton lost 70-65 to St. Johns. Their athletic and attack minded defense held the nation's 2nd most efficient offense to only 65 points. While controlling McDermott as he scored 25 points.
Of course, Doug McDermott is the reason their offense hums. He averages 25.3 ppg, along with 7 rebounds, all while shooting 43% from deep. The runaway National Player of the Year has been absolutely destroying any defender not named Isiah Armwood, who held him to 7 points. McDermott has scored over 20 points in 20 out of 24 games this season. Two of those games, he scored 19 points. It will be nearly impossible to hold him down, as he can score from anywhere on the floor.
What St. Johns discovered, and successfully accomplished, was controlling the rest of Creighton's players. In the game they won, 70-65, the Red Storm held the Bluejays shooters to 22% behind the 3 point arc. Most notably, Ethan Wragge has only shot 2-7 against St. Johns. The athletic defenders have stuck to Wragge like silly glue. St. Johns employed to strategy of guarding Wragge, with a smaller athletic defender who did not help, keeping Wragge from getting a clean look.
One distinct difference with the Bluejays between the game on Jan 20th and the upcoming game will be the addition of senior guard, Grant Gibbs. Gibbs had injured his kneecap and was unable to play in the game on the 20th of January. His given the Bluejays another boost to their lethal offense.
Here are a couple of thoughts from Jay Wright about the upcoming game:
"Creighton exposed a lot of areas where we were not good enough in that game," stated Jay Wright. "There had been a lot of earlier games where out offense had covered for our defense. In that game, we were just as bad offensively, which got them out in transition, which exposed our transition defense.
"It was a great learning experience for us to know that we had to get a lot better defensively. And we had to get better offensively, believe it or not. We had to find ways on nights when we weren't making shots to sore. I think it helped us to develop our inside game and we've worked a lot on our transition defense. I am still not convinced it's good enough yet but this is going to be a test."
- Colorado: 3:00 PM, The Handlebar, 305 S Downing St, Denver, CO
- Greater Washington DC: 5:00 PM, Mad Hatter, 1319 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (Dupont Circle Metro)
- Manhattan: 5:00 PM, Mason Jar NYC, 43 East 30th Street, New York, NY
- Monmouth/Ocean NJ: 5:00 PM, McCann's Tavern, 1704 Main St, Belmar, NJ
- Morris/Somerset NJ: 5:00 PM, Sona Thirteen, 13 South St, Morristown, NJ
- Phoenix: 2:30 PM, Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers, 4222 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ
- San Diego: 2:00 PM,High Dive Bar & Grill, 1801 Morena Boulevard, San Diego, CA