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Big East Tournament: Creighton vs. DePaul 3-point preview

No. 7 seed DePaul takes on No. 10 seed Creighton Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

If Creighton wants to make their fourth straight NCAA Tournament, they'll have to win all four games this week at the Big East Tournament. Their first test is against DePaul, a team that surprised this season and finished in seventh place. While these two teams split the regular season series, the last time these two teams met, Creighton was in control from start to finish and completed a double-digit win. Here are three keys to tonight's game:

1. Come out strong

When Creighton gets off to a good start, they usually win. When taking on DePaul in Omaha this season, the Blue Demons got out to a rampant start, en route to a 10 point win. When these two teams faced each other at Allstate Arena, it was the Bluejays who controlled from the outset. If Creighton comes out strong and dictates the tempo, they could see themselves taking on Georgetown in the next round. However, if they start sluggish, it could be another frustrating game. Watch how the first four minutes go.

2. Point guard battle

This game will be dictated primarily by the point guards. Both are leading scorers on their teams, and both control the game. Lately, Creighton senior point guard Austin Chatman has been hot from the field, scoring 23 points against Seton Hall, 21 points against Villanova, and 18 points last time out on senior night against Xavier. All three were heartbreaking losses. Meanwhile, Blue Demon guard Billy Garrett, Jr., has been in a bit of a funk. Garrett, Jr., is 10-for-39 in his last five games. His turnovers are also up while his assists are down. If this trend continues, it'll be Creighton's game to lose.

3. Crowd support

Creighton is known for having great support come conference tournament time. While play-in games don't usually contain boisterous crowds, tonight's game could be different. At least in regards to Creighton's backing. In a close game, the traveling support from Omaha could give the Bluejays a needed boost.