Can the Creighton Bluejays win a Big East game?
Creighton was picked to finish 9th in the Big East this season by the league's coaches in the preseason poll. After a solid nonconference start with wins over Oklahoma and Nebraska, it appeared that perhaps Greg McDermott and the Bluejays were going to prove people wrong. Sitting at 9-9 on the season and 0-5 in Big East play is making it difficult to think this Creighton team is anything more than what the coaches thought before the season. It's obvious they lost a lot with Doug McDermott, Ethan Wragge and Grant Gibbs all gone, but they have some nice pieces and probably shouldn't be winless at this point in the league season. Two of their five Big East games have been at the friendly confines of the CenturyLink Center and they were against DePaul and Seton Hall. Both of those teams have been early surprises of Big East play and are currently tied for 2nd in the Big East standings.
I feel very confident in saying Creighton will not go winless in Big East play and I do think their best chances will come at home but they struggled against Providence in Rhode Island a few weeks ago and Providence has shown the toughness and resiliency to win on the road in this league. This game will come down to whoever is more desperate. That probably favors the 0-5 team.
Can the Providence Friars steal another Big East game on the road?
Home games are gold in the Big East. Teams must defend their home court if they want to be playing in the NCAA Tournament. Road wins have been scarce so far in league play, so home losses sting even more. Providence is coming off one of those stinging home losses on Wednesday against St. John's and now the focus is on getting that game back by winning on the road. The Friars are 1-1 in Big East play on the road so far this season with the loss coming at Marquette and the win at Butler. They certainly can steal another Big East road game but that's not a strategy I'd count on all season.
Who will win?
Providence matches up well against Creighton as the Bluejays like to shoot from the outside and the Friars are usually good at defending the 3-point line and have good size on the wings. I say that the Friars are usually good because they were lackluster in their last outing against St. John's to the tune of 10 made 3-pointers. If Creighton makes 10 3-pointers today I like their chances. Ed Cooley emphasized defensive effort to his team and I have a feeling they will be pushing out hard to the 3-point line to force Creighton to drive into their 7-footers in the lane for contested 2's. Road wins are not gimmies and Creighton is a slight favorite and will likely be desperate to get their first Big East win of the season. I think it happens tonight.