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Game Day Essentials: Game #6 at Creighton


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Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-2) at #8 Creighton Bluejays (3-1)

 

Date: Friday Dec 11, 2020
Time: 6:00 pm
Arena: CHI Health Centre

Broadcast:  BTN

Creighton Info

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Head Coach: Greg McDermott 
Location: Omaha, NE
Conference: Big East
Nickname: Bluejays
Mascot: Billy Bluejay
Typical Rotation Depth: 8
Line: Creighton by 14

KenPom rank: 14

Offensive Style: LET IT FLY

Defensive Style: Don't foul

Key Injuries: FR Modestas Kancleris (ACL), Rati Andronikashvili (ACL)

 

Players to watch:   Christian Bishop

In some ways Bishop is the most important player on this team as the bouncy 6'7" junior forward is the rebounder and rim protector for this perimeter oriented team. High level finisher in the paint. 

 

Players to watch:   Denzel Mahoney

The former SEMO Redhawk is an aggressive 3 level scorer who has slotted in for former Jay Ty-Shon Alexander. Look for him to be assigned with the task of slowing down Teddy Allen. 

 

Roster points

PG SG SF PF C Pct
1
11 Marcus Zegarowski
6-2  180  Jr
24 Mitch Ballock
6-5  205  Sr
34 Denzel Mahoney
6-5  220  Sr
23 Damien Jefferson
6-5  220  Sr
13 Christian Bishop
6-7  220  Jr
25.9
 

 

At this point in the season the Jays are relying heavily on their starters as it easily gives them their best defensive lineup. 

 

  • Zegarowski has been an elite PG for Creighton to the point where he was tabbed as the Big East preseason player of the year. Struggled with his shot a bit to start the season.
  • Ballock remains as one of the elite shooters in Div 1, capable of launching with little space
  • Jefferson is a glue-energy guy, the 5th scoring option who has found that 'senior who all of a sudden shoots well from 3' groove
  • 7' Freshman center Ryan Kalkbrenner brings some much needed height and the Jays will look to lob him the ball during the typical 10 minutes he's on the court. Australian center Jacob Epperson has played but is still working his way back from a devastating leg injury 
  • 6'6" Memphis transfer Antwann Jones has the size and athleticism that might have him cracking the starting lineup in the future. Currently he's depth for Mahoney and Jefferson.
  • Omaha native Shereef Mitchell is a defensive pg who has worked into a viable threat from outside when he does shoot

 

The Skinny:

This college basketball season has been unprecedented with its cancelations and lack of crowds, and this Nebraska-Creighton game is no different. Whereas this game should have been played in Lincoln, both schools agreed to move it to Omaha for the second consecutive season so the Huskers wouldn't miss out on a home crowd in this rivalry. These are strange times to see a game in Omaha hosted on the Big 10 network.

 

The Jays return most of a team that won the Big East last year and most recently took a good Kansas team to the wire down in Lawrence despite what would be considered below average outside shooting. While both teams play with pace and space, the Huskers haven't quite figured out the ball movement that the Jays have mastered in addition to their superior shooting. Nebraska does have an advantage in being able to draw contact but this is typically mitigated by the Jays ability to defend without drawing contact. The Husker are going to need to knock down some shots in this game if they want to hang as well as maintain control when driving against what should be a defense that will sag into the paint. Don't get flopped out of aggression and thus out of the game.

 

On defense it's going to be about how well Nebraska can guard Bishop/Kalkbrenner with a single defender as doubling down is an invitation to be torched.  The Husker like to take away the paint by default so we'll see what Sadler has planned to roll out during the 1 day of prep for this game. Don't forget about transition as Nebraska had trouble with a team like Georgia Tech having forwards just dribble in for layups because no one bothered to stop them. The Jays come hard and then hit you with a trailer when you stop their initial rush.  It's an elite offense manned with experienced and talented players that Nebraska will need to counter with length and hustle.

 

The Huskers will need to play a complete game if they want to hang in this one.

 

Prediction: Creighton 88 - Nebraska 76


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Fun little stat that I picked up from BJ Upderground (feel like I need to shower now).... Creighton has won 32 straight Friday games dating back to 1975.  Yowza.

 

*** EDIT *** This is a fake stat... they lost on a Friday as recently as 2018.  Never believe anything coming from that board.

Edited by hskr4life
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