1. Creighton's brutal stretch begins
We discussed back in September that the upcoming stretch that awaits the Creighton Bluejays would likely be their roughest of the entire season. That still holds true, and perhaps what's more daunting about this stretch is the fact that Creighton currently has an 0-6 record within conference play. Beginning with this matchup at Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Jays will face five teams ranked in the Top 40 on KenPom.com. Those of course being the Bulldogs, the Villanova Wildcats, the St. John's Red Storm (twice), the Georgetown Hoyas and the Xavier Musketeers. The Butler, Villanova, St. John's (on February 7) and Xavier matchups all are on the road. This has been a skittish start to their second run through the Big East Conference, and it might be about to get even uglier.
2. Woods works to regain rebounding brilliance
When senior forward Kameron Woods fell short of the 10 rebound mark against Georgetown last Saturday, it was the first time in four games that he failed to collect double digit boards. While he still leads the Big East Conference in rebounds per game (9.0) it will serve to be interesting to see if he can get right back on the foot. Creighton lacks the size to compete on the glass, so Woods might find a way to eat on Wednesday night in Indianapolis. Maybe a filet mignon from St. Elmo's-type feast. We'll see.
3. Setting the Bar-low? No, high!
Alex Barlow has been sluggish as of late. After a 4-game stretch in which the 5-foot-11 senior guard scored 12+ points each time he took the floor, he has since responded by scoring just six points against the Seton Hall Pirates, and three in a loss against Georgetown last Saturday. Barlow did contribute in other areas, notably grabbing eight defensive rebounds in those two contests (six against Georgetown) but his offensive game needs to improve. He posted an ORtg of just 52 last Saturday, which is the second worst he has had all season -- the lowest being a 36 against Oklahoma in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. What might help Barlow is if he can create opportunities after forcing turnovers. Barlow has the 34th highest steal% in the nation and is averaging a crisp 2.27 steals per game.