How to Watch, Stream, Listen
Game Time: 7 p.m. CT / 8 p.m. ET
Location: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, NE
TV: CBS Sports Net
Radio: 1620AM the Zone in Omaha / 55KRC AM in Cincinnati
Odds & Ends
Xavier is favored by 1.5 points to open according to OddsShark.
ATS: Creighton and Xavier are both at 14-9.
Verba de Ludis
UPDATE: KHYRI THOMAS OUT WITH UNDISCLOSED INJURY
When you're driving in your car, headed to work, do you ever feel that desire to blow by your exit and keep driving? I mean, sure, it's immediately countered with the weight of your responsibilities crawling out of your pores, but there's that innate lust to keep going until you can go no further, to see things that you haven't seen before, to meet people who live a life so counter to yours that you just know that the stories they keep are much richer, much more satisfying than yours. Your mind begins to wander, you're struck with how mundane it all is, how you just wish something exciting would happen - when BAM! you see a turkey on the sidewalk and all the wanderlust fades into the back of your mind.
The innate desire to do more, to be more, to experience the world, is quite common within us all. Yet when having these thoughts to explore the unknown it's easy to forget that you explore the void everyday. You do it, but it becomes routine, so the surprises subside and your focus becomes a foggy malaise of how to get to the end of your shift. Unless you're one of the lucky few that actually enjoys their profession, it becomes a chore to earn that paycheck of yours, and when you're offered a wild flightless bird eating worms out of the cracks of the sidewalk, you can't help but smile and feel your heart rate pick up just a tick.
In the college basketball season we're hitting the final stretch run. We've seen a whole lot of interesting things this year as the BIG EAST conference has carved itself into a top, bottom, and a cluttered mess. Sitting firmly in the number 2 slot is the Xavier Musketeers, a daunting foe for any basketball squadron. Their 1-3-1 defense is an absolute killer and can knock even the best players off their rhythm - ask the almighty Kris Dunn.
With the talents off the brass in the likes of Myles Davis, a man whose name creates the easiest headlines on the planet, happens to be a phenomenal creator on the hardwood. Shooting a cool 40% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc, the junior guard has been an integral part to this Xavier hoops squadron. Trevon Bluiett, Edmond Sumner and James Farr have torn apart defenses throughout the league - and if this is the first time you're reading these names I feel a great deal of pity for you. Bluiett - a 6'6 sophomore guard - is shooting over 40% from the field, averages 15.7 points per contest, and is the spark plug that makes this offense run. Sumner, who suffered a frightening fall in the first game of BIG EAST play against the current #1 team in the land, has come on to be a potential freshman of the year candidate, as his basketball savvy and incredible ability to soar majestically through the air will offer the Creighton Bluejays absolute fits. Then, there's James Farr, a highly versatile 6'10 senior forward who can score from seemingly anywhere on the court, is the anchor to this 1-3-1 defense that the Musketeers play so well. Let's not forget the styles of J.P. Macura, the 6'5 sophomore shooter who will seemingly destroy any opponent with careless ease. To beat them you must take and make a high volume of shots, for if you let the zone rattle your rhythm, you're all but dead in the water.
Those moments of mundane, expressionless existence you force upon yourself as you file into your vehicle and make your way to your occupation eventually begins to eat away at your soul. Perhaps it isn't the most fulfilling moment you've experienced, but you've convinced yourself that it's a necessary part of your life. You see it around you as well, a mixture of self loathing and expectations that come up just short of what you once perceived life to be. Your inner monologue filled with doubt as you fill another text box. You've become a half digital, half slumped humanoid that does what one can to get by, to get to the destined time slot in which you can utilize your spare time afterwards only to get back at it the next day. The term 'live for the weekends' has become ingrained into your psyche, day dreaming about how to fill those spare moments with a great deal of full-blown living while your boss drones on about quarterlies, monthlies, weeks ends, only to end up grocery shopping and scooping snow off of concrete. Perhaps you're like me, perhaps you day dream about watching man manipulate time by throwing, dunking, and shooting a basketball into a cherry red rim.
The Creighton Bluejays are at a crossroads. They've mucked up all the pre-season pundit's target of finishing in next-to-last place by sticking themselves right in the core of the conference's standings, paving a bright future yet thriving in the present. If they're to pull this off, to beat Xavier in Omaha, they'll need to rely on the sharp shooting talents of Isaiah Zierden, Cole Huff, and TOBY! Hegner. They'll need an equalizer in the middle at full strength in Geoffrey Groselle. They'll need their defensive specialist in Khyri Thomas to make sure that no shot is easy, that everything is contested. Most importantly, however, is they'll need junior point guard Maurice Watson Jr., to break the 1-3-1 zone and find an open man on the waiting wings. It's evident that the two most common places for the Jays to do a great deal of damage exist in the softer spots in Xavier's defense. The pendulum of offensive production is beginning to sway towards the positive after it passed through the poorer periods previous to the DePaul game. If the offense is on its upswing, the Jays have a great shot at shocking the fourth-ranked Musketeers in front of 17,000+ faithful fans. It will take near-perfection, but if this season of basketball has been any indication on what to expect, it tells us to expect nothing and wait to be surprised.
As you file out of that vehicle after work tonight, perhaps with basketball on your brain, do not be hampered by expectations. Just think of this game as another turkey on the side of the road and smile, for this college basketball season is beginning to wane and when it's gone you'll have to continue living in the existence you've laid out for yourself and that wild turkey will be long, long gone.