At this point in the season, you're just looking to not screw up. That's what Xavier will be doing when they visit Creighton on Saturday. Xavier sits at 18-12 overall, and is very much on the bubble heading into Selection Sunday. The Musketeers on the bubble, in part, due to losses to teams with RPI rankings of over 100, Creighton being one of them. It's safe to say Saturday's game is a must win. Meanwhile, Creighton just wants to lock up 9th place and send their seniors out the right way. Here are three points to Saturday's game:
1. Covering the perimeter
In the first game this season between these two, Creighton knocked down 10 three-pointers, including five from senior Rick Kreklow. The Bluejays shot 42 percent from downtown in the game, higher than their season average of 34 percent. The good shooting allowed the Bluejays to shock Xavier at the Cintas Center. With Xavier's size and athleticism, Greg McDermott's team will rely heavily on the three-point shot once again Saturday. Not allowing Creighton to shoot three-pointers in rhythm will be a point of emphasis for Chris Mack's squad.
It's a common area to hone in on. But the Bluejays out-rebounded the Musketeers 41-32 in Cincinnati on Feb. 4. It's somewhat surprising looking at the makeup of the two rosters. Creighton senior guard Devin Brooks hauled in 12 rebounds against Xavier last time, helping him earn a double-double.
Brooks is so emphatic about rebounding, that he pretends he's an animal out there. After the game against Xavier, Creighton's leader in rebounds was quoted as saying, "In my mind, I'm saying 'I'm getting this ball!' And I just time it well. I just jump up and get it like a tiger jumping up for meat. Like how they throw the meat up in the air and tell them to go get it? That's how I see the ball."
The guards of Xavier are going to have to do a better job of gathering loose balls and pulling down rebounds as if it were meat if they want to be successful on Saturday.
3. Senior night magic
Creighton is 18-1 on senior night the past 19 seasons. Creighton's lone loss in that span came to Drake in 2002, a year where they did not have a senior on the roster. Creighton has had many memorable senior night performances over the years. Overtime victories, Cavel Witter's 42 points against Bradley, Doug McDermott's 41 points against Wichita State to win the Missouri Valley regular season title in 2013, and of course last year's memorable performance when McDermott went for 45 points against Providence, pushing him over 3,000 points for his collegiate career. This year has been unlike any other for Creighton. Let's see if senior night's magic remains one of the things unchanged.