Head Coach: Greg McDermott
Location: Omaha, NE
Conference: Big East
Nickname: Bluejays, Sweatervests
Mascot: Billy Bluejay
Last time out: Beat North Dakota
Typical Rotation Depth: 8+
Line: Creighton by 11
Style: High Assists/High 3pt Attempts
4 Factors Good: Shooter U, doesn't turn the ball over
4 Factors Bad: Not trying to turn you over, don't draw contact
|Off. Reb. %:||25.2||19.6||29.1|
Most Frequent Lineups
The word on the street is that TOBY! Hegner is moving back to the starting lineup over Ronnie Harrell. That was their lineup to start the season before Hegner severely twisted his ankle.
Players to watch: PG by committee
I think the vision for this team was to bring in Syracuse Kaleb Joseph and have him be the man for the next two years. A combination of ineffectiveness and injury has given the starting job to Davion Mintz with freshman Ty-Shon Alexander as backup and then Khyri Thomas in a pinch. Eventually I think the Jays would love to see the talented Alexander grab the starting job. Currently that belongs to Mintz who comes off as a taller Benny Parker in the sense that his usage in the offense is extremely limited. One thing to note that could just be a fluke: his worst two games were the two games the Jays have lost.
Players to watch: Post by committee
When the Jays redshirted Justin Patton, they probably figured they had their center of the future for the next 3-4 years. After going to the draft early, they Jays had a pretty good shot at Brian Bowen before Loui$ville $wooped in. Not ideal.
Martin Krampeli, when not flailing around on defense, has proven to be quite skilled at the paint as he's scoring almost as efficiently as Patton. He does show just a little range but mostly lives in the paint. Ronnie Harrell has been one of the better rebounders on the team but like Mintz isn't aggressive offensively. TOBY! Hegner is Michael Jacobson with a 3pt shot. The wildcard in this group is senior transfer Manny Suarez who hasn't played much all year. Suarez is an aggressive offensive player who is limited by his defense. You could argue that the ineffectiveness of the Nebraska centers on offense could mask this deficiency.
Hey, it's Nebraska goes to Creighton and Creighton boat races them to start the game and wins in a laugher because that's what always happens, right? Let's take a look anyway.
The Jays arguably have the two best players on the court in Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas in an offense that is the fastest that Greg McDermott has run to date. The rest of the cast is serviceable but relative to last year, it's a downgrade. The only player I haven't mentioned to this point is the other talented freshman Mitch Ballock. While he's talented he's also a guard who isn't a PG. Even though it's a down year talent wise the Jays execute their stuff as good as anyone in the country. With their top tier shooting, ability to hold on to the ball, and fast pace they are able to overwhelm most teams.
Defensively the Jays pack the paint though with their length they've been doing a good job at holding down opponent's 3pt % the last couple of years. On top of that in Thomas they have one of the best defenders in college basketball as he's shut down almost everyone he's been assigned to guard. Given this is how they've defended Nebraska for almost all of the Miles era I'd expect to see a lot of this again.
The big difference here is that Nebraska is fielding a completely different type of team. Defensively the Huskers have added length and athleticism that have allowed them to cover the 3 without being destroyed inside; the shot blocking ability is the best anyone has seen in a decade. Offensively this is the first Miles team since the tourney squad that isn't a couple of guys + hoping someone else will show up. The offense no longer is completely dependent on individuals driving into 5 Jays sitting in the paint.
It's been mentioned by a lot of people inside and some on the outside that this Nebraska team had enough talent to sniff the post season. The Minnesota game showed that the Huskers possess this ability but the issue here is that one good game at home doesn't make you a good team. Learning to win takes time and are they there after one good game? Probably not.
This Creighton team isn't necessarily more talented than Nebraska but they're further along as a team and at home. That's a lot to overcome.
Prediction: Creighton 82 - Nebraska 70