The NIT is a fickle thing. Some folks don't enjoy it because it plays second fiddle to the big dance, some enjoy it because of that exact reason. I'm enjoying it because it gives us more opportunities to observe the Creighton Bluejays in the postseason. Disregard the notion that this team wasn't good enough for the big dance; from their showing in the NIT they certainly were. Yet, against the all powerful forces of the BIG EAST, they were unable to put together a run against the proverbial buzzsaw that was the Seton Hall Pirates.
Now, the Bluejays have enveloped the buzzsaw mentality as they continue to breeze deeper into the NIT bracket. Against an Alabama team to start the tournament off, the Jays forced turnovers-a-plenty and scored off said turnovers. Against Wagner this morning, the Bluejays exposed the Seahawk's lack of size and proceeded to punch 'em down low. It was a performance all about exposing Wagner for what they didn't have and they did it to near perfection.
When the game started, I was sitting courtside drinking coffee. In all of my 'perfect world' fantasies, this is pretty dang close to what I'd be doing. The crowd of 6,400 took some time to wake up, an issue that Wagner dealt with right off the bat. In their first six possessions they turned the ball over five times. Apparently, the Seahawks were unable to properly scout Geoffrey Groselle as he had the complete freedom to attack the basket from the left side - he's left handed. With that cavernous flaw exposed from the get-go, Wagner really didn't have a shot.
As the Bluejay momentum continued to gain traction, the offense continued to churn out positive results. The defense, however, was phenomenal as well. Throughout the year I periodically reminded you that Creighton's defense was their primary detriment when playing an opponent; a defense that would wane and wax to a frighteningly consistent degree. As of late, the Bluejays have been much better on defense, perhaps they feel the urgency of a season coming to a close and they're doing everything they can to keep it going.
Wagner was ineffective from the get-go. After watching them play St. Bonaventure, I was a bit worried about this matchup as they seemingly played with a lot more heart and a lot more will than the Bonnies. Instead, they came out flat and unable to handle the Creighton defense.
By the four-minute point in the second half, Greg McDermott removed James Milliken and Geoffrey Groselle for the last time at the CenturyLink Center. Their departures from the surface were met with a rousing round of applause, a token of gratitude that the fans can provide for all the work they've done at Creighton. By that point Creighton had built a 30-point lead and were already pondering the match in Provo.
Speaking of, Creighton will play the 2-seed BYU in Provo on Tuesday night at 8pm. It'll be a loud, raucous environment against a team that puts up a whole lot of 3's. This will be a tough test, as BYU is a formidable opponent for the Bluejays.
This is the last recap I'll write from the friendly confines of the CenturyLink Center. If you've read my work previous to this, I thank you. The reason I do this is to inform and entertain you to a particular degree, to give you a dose of something different than what you'll read elsewhere on the internet. The Creighton basketball program means a great deal to me so to have an opportunity like this to follow them closely and report to you in whatever way I could was something of a blessing or whatever. Hopefully we'll be able to do this next year, but for now I'll focus a great deal of attention on BIG EAST baseball for the primary reason that it's difficult to find a bunch of information on each team in one place. Again, thank you for taking some time to read the things I've written. I hope you got a laugh or two.