There's dozens of different statistics and numbers that can explain how well Creighton played against Villanova on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center, but not one stat could explain the next day.
Following the team's most embarrassing loss of the season, a 28-point blowout to the unranked BlueJays, the No. 4 Villanova Wildcats didn't miss a step. The young team reminded their coaching staff that they were still a nationally ranked organization. Tuesday's practice was all business.
And during the game, Head Coach Jay Wright wasn't fazed similar to his demeanor at practice. At this point in the season, he expects this of his club, a team he said is one of his most intelligent in recent seasons.
"It was business as usual in practice yesterday," Wright said during Wednesday's Big East Media teleconference. "We stick together, we win together, we lose together. It's a real special group that way. Whether we win at Marquette or not, these guys come to play every day and come to play every game."
But Wright didn't forget about what happened two days ago. The Wildcats (16-2, 5-1 Big East) got mauled, but that doesn't mean the rest of the season didn't happen. Coach Wright is still as impressed with his team as before the Creighton game.
Wright just believed that his team dropped the ball on Monday night.
"I think we have been playing really well and consistently," Wright said. "Monday night we just put together an average performance and faced Creighton which put together an outstanding performance. I just thought we were a little off and they were great.
"Now we have to go at Marquette, a tough, physical team. They are always a great defensive team and will be tough to beat at home."
But one fluster hasn't stopped the rest of the conference from noticing when there could be blood in the water. Chris Mack, Xavier's head coach, stood firm in his belief that the Muskateers could compete with anyone in the Big East. Kevin Willard, Seton Hall's head coach, is coming off two strong performances in conference play and believed his Fuquan Edwin's defense, which he dubbed the "Fu Effect," is a major reason why.
But among the Big East minds that gathered in Wednesday's teleconference, Greg McDermott, Creighton's head coach, was the most confident in his team following Monday night. He said his team's shooting performance against Villanova was "nothing new to us."
"Ethan and Doug have that kind of range," McDermott said when asked about if his team launching shots from NBA range affected how teams played him defensively.
"We've been one of the top three pointing teams in the country and a lot of it I don't think is luck. You're going to have good nights and bad nights...We had a different experience at Providence but there's no difference. If you saw Ethan's shots at Providence compared to Villanova, his 14 at Nova were the same shots, they just went in. I've never been a part of anything like that making nine in a row to start the game."
While watching practice on Tuesday, Wright continued to be impressed with his team. Two losses in a historic turnaround season is nothing to disparage. As far as future match ups with Creighton, Wright wants them to be heated. He wants a Villanova/Creigton rivalry to brew in the next few years.
"I hope it's a rivalry," Wright admitted near the end of the teleconference. "When Kyle Korver was here, people asked why don't you play Creighton? I use to tell them 'I don't want to play them.' I'm looking forward to a rivalry with Creighton these next few years."
- Xavier's Chris Mack on if he could compete at the same level Creighton and Villanova are at even though his team isn't getting as much national attention: "I certainly hope so. I don't think we are a JV team."
- Buzz Williams on Villanova match up for Satuday: " Excited to play Villanova and you look at what they've done this year and it's remarkable what they've done to this point. We'll have to play our best game to even compete... I think that's one of the reasons why Villanova has had the success they've had, they stretch you with all their players. You can't leave Ryan [Arcidiacono], [Josh] Hart might be the best player they have, Ochefu is having a good season, you can't point at one guy. They put stress on your team defensively. Pinkston has a perimeter skill set but he can guard the post and perimeter guy. Their team is back to what it was my first year in the league when they had four guards on the floor that can all dribble, defend and shoot the ball from the perimeter.
- Williams also had this to say in reference to his game plan against Villanova: "We probably have one, but I'm not going to say it on a teleconference. Not trying to be a jerk."
- Jay Wright on the strength of the Big East: " "I think it's going to take a couple years to really figure it out, we are all guessing. I think we are going to be a unique entity and a problem for the committee. Top to bottom this year, RPI wise, the last team is Seton Hall. They can beat anyone in the country: Arizona, Wisconsin, etc."
- Wright on Marquette: " They are kind of finding their way right now but they are much more interior oriented. They are playing really good basketball. They've figured out how to play."
- Greg McDermott's opening statements: " Couldn't be more pleased with our game against Villanova after coming off a disappointing loss to Providence especially on the defensive end, so for our guys to turn it around and be focused against a good 'Nova team is important. We are pleased to still be in the hunt for a championship. That win on Monday kept us in the hunt."