This Shall be War.
The Big Ten and Big East are tied going into Thursday night in the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Series. At 7pm we're treated to a pretty delicious matchup between Creighton and Indiana, two teams that push the tempo and score a whole boat load of points. The Hoosiers are 2-0 going into the matchup after making short work of Eastern Illinois (88-49) and Austin Peay (102-76). Leading the pack for the Indiana squad thus far are sophomore guard James Blackmon Jr. (averaging 18.5PPG, 4.5REB) and senior guard Kevin Yogi Ferrell (averaging 17.5PPG, 6.5REB). Tom Crean's Hoosiers push tempo and get quick shots up, a lot like the Creighton Bluejays. I would highly advise you to keep your eyelids propped open with a buddy regularly hydrating your eyeballs for this contest because if you look away for just a split second you may miss a dozen or so possessions.
1. Let It Fly
The Bluejays have shot a whole bunch of 3's so far this season. As I sit here forcing my fingers to push these keys to create letters on my screen, Creighton has shot the ball 63 times from beyond the arc, making 25 of them, good for 40% from downtown. They're scoring 98 points per contest, have a +8 assist/turnover margin, and average 9 steals per game. They're a scrappy bunch at times, especially when Geoffrey Groselle isn't on the court. Leading the pack in three point attempts is the aforementioned Isaiah Zierden, who just so happens to lead the team in scoring. Coincidence? Maybe, but isn't all of this just a coincidence? Isn't consciousness just a coincidence?
2. Sharing is Caring
After the UTSA game, Coach McDermott remarked on how the Bluejays enjoy spreading the ball around to everybody. He mentioned that there isn't a single player they rely on to get the team 25+ points every night, but instead that the team thrives on a steady diet of players who show up and get 15-20 per night. This selfless attitude is what makes Creighton such a fun team to watch as you can see their chemistry on the court changing the game every possession. The individual is completely removed from this squad, something I believe that Indiana has been lacking for the past half decade. Don't get me wrong, Tom Crean sure seems like a swell enough guy, but building a team of good players and scooping up one blue chip sorta guy hasn't really worked out for him lately, has it? The most successful Creighton basketball team in recent memory lived and died by one another, with a team bond so unbreakable even the scientists tending to the Manhattan Project couldn't split them. Win or lose, the Bluejays are going to get a lot more out of this game than Tom Crean's Hoosiers.
3. Stop The Hoosiers
In Creighton's first two games they've utilized a zone defense and ran it to a premium. They've forced 38 turnovers in their first two games, collecting 18 steals and 5 blocked shots. Wedging themselves within the trees the Bluejays have also done phenomenally well on the boards with a +4.5 rebound margin. Indiana has some big, athletic guys that are 'true athletes' or whatever that means. Do they know about Khyri Thomas? Probably not. In the mind's eye I can picture Tom Crean's offense nonchalantly gallivanting up the court only to be met with this incredible human being nicknamed Tazz. Upon meeting this 'Tazz' individual, the Hoosier offense will cordially invite him to guard them, thinking that because of their superior athletic ability, or whatever, that they'll be able to do a quick spin move and drive untouched to the basket. As they attempt to do so this 'Tazz' person will promptly pick their pocket. Since we're talking about Tom Crean, he'll probably continue to try this offensive approach over and over and over again. Timeout after timeout, Tom Crean will yell and scream about why setting a simple screen isn't making the Hoosiers look pristine.
I might be biased, but honestly, do you trust Tom Crean when you look into his eyes? I see a man whose skeleton is attempting to jump out of his body. His bones want out of the wretched wasteland that is the muscle and blood of Tom Crean. Can you blame 'em?