It comes with no surprise that the Big East faced adversity coming into the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Many have questioned how the Big East can live up to its historical name with only 4 teams in, two of whom are in the underdog state. The two could not pull off the respective upsets, and while the other moved on to the Round of 32, they struggled out of the gate. We know how the Villanova Wildcats faired, so let's see what the other three schools were able to do.
Loss 74-59 vs. NC State Wolfpack
NC State had great offensive flow in this contest. Just looking at their 54.7% FG% and 16 assists proves it. However, Xavier's lack of offensive prowess was more to blame. Semaj Christon shot a great 6-11 from the floor, however he totaled more than half of the team's turnovers with 7 of his own. Plus, the Wolfpack blocked 9 Xavier shots. The Musketeers could only convert of 2 of their 14 three-point attempts, and only 11-16 FT's. To pile on the struggle, the bench went without a field goal.
NC State went on to lose to the 5th seeded Saint Louis Billikens, blowing a 16-point lead in the game.
Loss 79-77 vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
This was not the way Bryce Cotton envisioned going out. The senior finished with 36 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists. The Friars, like the Musketeers, struggled from deep going 4-16. With 5 seconds remaining in the second half, the game stood tied at 77-77. Brice Johnson's jumper was blocked by Kadeem Batts, and James Michael McAdoo got the offensive rebound. Carson Desrosiers committed his 5th foul on McAdoo with 3 seconds left. The 53.6% free throw shooter made the first and missed the second, but was able to get his own offensive rebound and was immediately fouled by Cotton. McAdoo again made the first and missed the second, and at that point Providence could not respond.
UNC goes on to play the 3rd seeded Iowa State Cyclones.
Win 76-66 vs. Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
(Currently playing Third Round)
Creighton did not have this game in the bag until late in the second half. Doug McDermott had a double-double at halftime, but did not score a single point for 14 minutes in the latter half. ULL, a team that ranks 13th in the country in PPG, hung around until Ethan Wragge connected from deep. Junior Elfrid Payton of the Ragin' Cajuns played each minute of the game and finished with 24 points and 8 rebounds. McDermott again finished with a stellar offensive outing with 30 points, but went more inside this game as he only went 2-4 from beyond the arc. Wragge went 4-8, all from three. The Bluejays only shot 9-23 from beyond but shot 51.9% overall.
Creighton will play the Baylor Bears on Sunday at 7:45pm.