Never afraid of too much of a good thing, we've fired our questions about Creighton in the direction of Big East Coast Bias, SBNs site for everything Big East related. Hopefully you'll find the answers we got back to be illuminating. At the very least, we all know an awful lot about the Bluejays now.
Banners: Creighton loves to shoot the three and Xavier loves to surrender it. I'll put the over/under on Bluejays attempted threes at 30. What do you take and why?
BECB: I will go under. Although Xavier loves to allow threepointers, the median for three point attempts over the last 10 games for the Bluejays is 21.5. They have shot more than 30 three point attempts just once in the last 10, that being their record breaking performance against Villanova in January. So it would simply be uncharacteristic for the Jays to exceed 30 threepoint attempts.
Banners: Creighton is one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the league and one of the best defensive. Do they just not go to the offensive glass? What makes them so effective on the other end?
BECB: Creighton does not have many bigs. The starting lineup sees Doug McDermott as the talents player on the floor, and their big men don't allocate many minutes. Will Artino was benched early on in the season after he was proved to be ineffective on both the offensive and defensive side of the glass. Since then, they've gone small, and the problems have persisted and not gone away. As for defensive rebounding, it could just be being at the right place at the right time.
Banners: Currently the Bluejays are seen as a #3 seed in the tournament. In your eyes, what would it take to move up to a #2 before selection Sunday?
BECB: The two and three seed lines are very tricky at the moment. For starters, Creighton needs to win the conference in the regular season and the tournament to secure a 2 seed. Especially so if they beat Villanova thrice. For the rest of it, there are a lot of factors that come into play. Wisconsin and Michigan St. are two teams that the Bluejays need to see falter, more so the former and not the latter at this point in the season. The Badgers are hot, having won their last six games, and may win out to finish the season. Plus, their résumé is simply awesome. Elsewhere, the AAC situation needs to sort itself out. Both Cincinnati and I think Louisville also could find their way into that line if the season pans out well for them. Essentially, Creighton needs to take care of their own business, and hope for some upsets of the upper tier teams in the conference tournaments to eliminate any doubt that they can get that two seed.
Banners: There is no questioning Doug McDermott's POTY candidacy, but what is this team's identity heading into next year moving on from the best player in the program's history?
BECB: It will be an interesting transition. Not only is Doug leaving, but four fifths of the starting lineup won't be in uniform next year. Ethan Wragge, Jahenns Manigat, and Grant Gibbs will all be bowing out once the season is over, and the only holdover looks to be Austin Chatman. Their back court may be their strength going forward, with JUCO transfer Devin Brooks showing potential this season, albeit very streaky. So as a whole, this team looks to be getting stronger in the backcourt, but the front court depth should be a storyline to watch. Although, they did sign two three star forwards earlier this year, so they could get some impact out of those positions right away.
Banners: Ethan Wragge basically bombed Xavier out of the game last time these two played, hitting three ridiculously deep threes on his way to 5-10 from beyond the arc. Have teams shown any way to keep Wragge out of the game, or do you just have to hope he hits a rare cold spell?
BECB: Wragge has really, really cooled down since his mindblowing performance against Villanova. Just twice has he had more than 12 points, including a 22point performance last Wednesday against Marquette. Other than that, his median is five points, which is nothing to write home about it. They have played teams with good defense on the perimeter (e.g., St. John's) and his impact has been minimal as of late having taken him out of the equation for the most part. But, you would be wise to keep that up. Because if he gets it going: look out.
Banners: People know Doug McDermott because he may well be the player of the year, Ethan Wragge because he looks like a lumberjack and shoots exclusively 25foot jump shots, and Grant Gibbs because he's 47 years old and still in college. Who have been some of the unsung pieces of Creighton's season so far?
BECB: Jahenns Manigat and Devin Brooks immediately come to mind. Brooks has the second highest usage rate on the team, and it's just under 3.0% away from Doug McDermott's. Not something you might expect. Brooks has made an impact on the second unit and although statistically hew has been inconsistent this season, his head coach Greg McDermott has shown a lot of confidence in him. Manigat, meanwhile, has been flying under the radar all season but has been a very effective shooter. You can see that with his eFG% (63.0 percent) and his TS% (64.5%) an he does a great job of taking care of the basketball, with a TORate of just 13.4 percent.
Banners: What does Xavier have to do to come away from this game with a win? What is your prediction for the result?
BECB: Xavier needs to implement the defensive fingerprint that they had against St. John's on Tuesday. They held the Red Storm to an eFG% of just 38.3 percent. By the numbers, that's their third lowest eFG% allowed this season. Locking down Doug is priority number one, but lately teams have been using an interesting strategy of letting Doug get his and locking down everyone else. It's since produced mixed results. As a whole, Xavier should look to get it going offensively because if they can't keep Creighton quelled, that levee will break.
As for the prediction, I think Xavier takes this at home, actually. The Cintas Center has been kind to the Musketeers over the years, and I see that trend continuing. Give me Xavier by six, 7670.