It’s getting late but if I don’t get to the preview now it’s not happening tomorrow before tipoff, let’s just be honest with ourselves. So the #10/#10 Creighton Jays come to town tomorrow afternoon at the Dunk for a 2pm tipoff. I will be battling the impending elements and making my way to the Dunk for the contest. If any of you can’t make the game it will be televised on CBS Sports Net, channel 856 for those who have Comcast in Boston. I’m hearing that Steve Lappas will be on the call, as he was the last game against Georgetown. Before we continue, I have to take a little sidebar here to address Lappas. Watching the game Vs. Georgetown the other evening I felt that he was VERY biased towards Georgetown and against the Friars. I felt like I was watching a Sox Vs. Yankees game with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on the call. Listen Lappas I get it, you’re upset that Jay Wright won a NCAA Title as head coach at Nova and you didn’t but you don’t need to take it out on the Friars. Anyways I sat down and really got to watch a good chunk of Creighton play in their game Vs. St Johns and I got to say I came away very impressed with what I saw. The Creighton Jays are absolutely LOADED this season! Although they lost to Villanova by 10 in Omaha the other day I absolutely believe they can contend for the Big East regular season title. Let me just wrap your heads around how loaded the Jays are. They return BE top-3 PG Maurice Watson and added scoring two-guard Marcus Foster (who dazzled his freshman year at K State). Cole Huff was a solid contributor last season, he returns for the Jays. Remember Toby Hegner and Isaiah Zierden because they’re back and come off the bench. Then finally the Omaha natives Khyri Thomas and freshman Justin Patton round out the majority of the rotation. Justin Patton reminds me off Hassan Whiteside, he’s very tall, very long, can block shots and can rim run. THEY ARE LOADED!!
So much for this being a short preview but here are a couple of my keys to the game.
- Bullock and Holt MUST Answer the Call – This seems pretty obvious but with Creighton’s skilled front line our two main bigs must stay out of foul trouble and come to play. In the second half of the Butler game and then in the Georgetown game Rodney seemed to be getting out with his funk, which is good. I feel like Emmitt Holt has dominated against teams with small size up front and then becomes nonexistent vs teams with good post players. Finally he really stepped it up against Georgetown, that has a real solid front line, and he has to do this again Saturday afternoon.
- ROTATE ROTATE ROTATE – The Friar defensive rotations were so money all year long and then conference play happened. I’ll admit I did not watch the PC Vs. BC second half (listened on the radio) but as for the Xavier and Butler games the defensive rotation that has been our bread and butter evaporated. Creighton hits triples at a 42% clip and are tied for 54th in the most three point attempts in the country. If the Friars can rotate well again we may be in business.
- Can Alpha Diallo Bring It Again? – The Friar Freshman’s stash line Vs. Georgetown was 7 points on 3/6 from the floor, 1/1 from the line, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. He didn’t light the world on fire here but I felt like he made winning plays and really boosted the Friars in the second half. If he can bring that same effort again it will go a long way.
Make no mistake this Creighton team is NOT the Creighton team that the Friars have gone 6-1 against since their inauguration to the Big East. The Dunk atmosphere and the Friar physicality alone is not going to beat the Jays. Friars need to defend and MUST avoid long offense draughts that they’ve been accustomed to recently. Having said all that I feel like this is Cooley’s M.O. Every year there’s a stretch in the season where Friartown feels like the world is about to end and then Cooley rights the ship. I think he does the same tomorrow!
Friars 71 Creighton 67 (although we win this one, I think we go to Omaha 2/22 and get destroyed)
So there it is! I got to go to bed because I have to be at the Dunk in 12 hours.