Game Preview: Creighton vs. George Washington

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Creighton sets aim at getting on the podium of the Wooden Legacy Tournament, and the George Washington Colonials will be standing in their way, trying not to let that happen.

Teams: No. 20 Creighton (5-1) vs. George Washington (5-1)

Day: Sunday, Dec. 1

Time: 6:30 PM ET

Location: Titan Gym; Fullerton, Calif.

TV: ESPNU

Radio: 1620 KZON-AM (Creighton) or RaiseHigh Live 1500 AM (George Washington)

Creighton Storylines

So the Creighton Bluejays suffered their first loss of the 2013-14 campaign. In the semifinal matchup of the Wooden Legacy Tournament, San Diego St. bested the Bluejays 86-80. How will the Bluejays respond? It will be interesting, given that the Colonials play well defensively,  just like the Aztecs. They are giving up 66.3 points per game, and truly were only walloped in one game this season. That game was the last one that they played against the Marquette Golden Eagles. To put it simply, the bench has to step up. That they went 25 minutes without a bench point against the Aztecs is concerning and should not be something that repeats.

One thing that Creighton has been able to do well this season, and that they were able to do well against the Aztecs, is shoot from the perimeter. As a team they are shooting 46.7 percent from the arc, which is good for fourth best in the nation. Against San Diego State, a very good team defensively against 3 PT shots, the Bluejays shot 48.1 percent (13-for-27 3-point FG). The Colonials play just around the average 3-point defense, yielding a 31.6 percentage from the perimeter. The Division 1 average for 3-point percentage is 33.9 percent according to Ken Pomeroy's ratings site. With that said, the sharp-shooting Bluejays should look to get success from the 3-point line.

George Washington Storylines

A huge reason for the success of the George Washington Colonials has been the play of Isaiah Armwood and Maurice Creek. As it stands they are the leading scorers for the Colonials, at 13.8 and 16.3 points per game respectively. Both have had >20% of the possessions used for George Washington this season, and both have found their own ways of contributing. Armwood, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward, is also collecting an average of 8.3 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Creek is shooting an impressive 46.3 percent from the 3-point line. If George Washington is pull off the upset, these two are going to be on their game and will be a reason why.

Creighton boasts one of the top Effective FG Percentages in the nation at an impressive 62.5 percent. George Washington is going to have to put the clamps on the Bluejays defensively, and so far this season, they have done a good job at limiting chances for opposing teams. They have only been letting up an Effective FG% of 44.0 which is 38th best in the country. The Division 1 average for Effective FG Percentage is 49.5 percent, so it is clear ht at the Colonials are doing a great job of forcing opposing teams to miss their shots. As it has been said, Creighton has one of the top offenses in the country, so George Washington is going to have to follow in San Diego St.'s footsteps and play a good defensive game for the entire 40 minute stretch.

X-Factors

Grant Gibbs has recently been able to step up for the Creighton Bluejays. He was, without a doubt, the second best player on the floor in Creighton's loss to San Diego St., behind the superstar senior Doug McDermott. He will need to follow up on his progressions as of late if Creighton wants to seal third place in the Wooden Legacy Tournament. Against SDSU, the sixth-year senior may have only scored eight points, but he led the team in rebounds (6), assists (7) and blocks (1). A repeat performance, or something similar, would do the Bluejays very nicely.

If Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood have been the two top players for the George Washington Colonials, Kethan Savage has been the third. Savage, a sophomore from Fairfax, Va., has the highest possession rate on the team, accounting for 25.2 percent of all of the Colonials' possessions. He has been making the most of it, scoring 12.5 points per game at a 60.8 percent clip  and has an impressive 63.8 2-PT FG percentage on the season. It is not just scoring that Savage is doing, either. He is picking up 4.7 rebounds per game and 2.3 assists per game. Look for him to make significant contributions if GWU is in the position to pull off an upset.

Four Factors

Factors Creighton Off. Creighton Def. George Washington Off. George Washington Def.
Effective FG% 62.5 48.0 55.1 44.0
Turnover% 14.9 16.5 16.7 18.2
Offensive Reb.% 29.0 26.8 36.5 31.3
FTA/FGA 34.9 29.5 42.9 35.8

The Prediction

The Bluejays were somewhat prone to back-to-back losses last season, as the schedule would dictate. The Colonials most likely will put Creighton into a scare, but it is hard to believe that the offense will get cold, or as cold as it did against San Diego State, at the very least. The bench will more than likely find themselves producing with an added day of rest. This should not be a blow out, but it should not surprise many if the Bluejays have the game in hand for a majority of the contest. Then again, sports have been known to be pretty crazy as of late.

Creighton 85 George Washington 76

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