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Hall of Fame Classic: Creighton v #23 UCLA - Preview

While a bigger game plays out on the national scene, UCLA must fight off the nonsense before fighting off the Jays.

Creighton v Northwestern Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

How to Watch, Stream, Listen, Follow

Game Time: 6:00pm CT

Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

TV: ESPNU

Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: 1620AM the Zone in Omaha / 1150AM in Los Angeles

Other Blogs:

White & Blue Review / Bluejay Banter - Creighton

Bruins Nation - UCLA

Tweeters:

Creighton - Rob Anderson / Creighton MBB / Tom Nemitz / “Patrick Marshall” / Matt DeMarinis / Corey Lathrop / Jon Nyatawa / Fake Blue Crew / Bluejay Banter

UCLA - Bruins Nation,


Odds & Ends

Creighton is a 1.5 point favorite over UCLA according to Odds Shark. The over/under is set at a whopping 170.

If you find yourself thinking about gambling on a sport in which the athlete participating makes zero dollars off their performance and likeness, considering not doing that and instead spending your money on a pizza for your family, a bed shaped like a racecar, a new coffee pot, shoes for orphans, some salamanders, a nice card for your grandmother, a burrito, a donation to people dealing with the aftermath of losing to the Miami Hurricanes, a cardboard cutout of your bookie, a good hoagie, or a box of knives for people who like sharp things. Any of these will bring you greater joy to yourself and others, much moreso than putting money on “amateur” sports ever will.


Series History

Creighton and UCLA have met three times in their history, with the Jays holding a 2-1 advantage in the series. Creighton won the 12/15/1941 tilt against the Bruins by a score of 34-18. They won again twenty years and five days later, in Omaha, in a thriller that ended 74-72.

The last time they met was in December of 1963, where the Bruins blew the Bluejays out of the sky and harvested on their feathered bodies by the tune of 95-79.

The 1963-64 team featured some excellent players, including College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Paul Silas, with a supporting cast of Tom Apke, Fritz Pointer, Chuck Officer, and LoRen James.

The Jays averaged 6,681 fans at home that season, setting a new record for average attendance.


Verba de Ludis

This game is going to be fast.

Like a lightning bolt cascading through stormy skies, this basketball game will cause men to run, the Kansas City metro to endure a splash of brilliant light, dogs to be driven beneath their owners’ legs.

This would’ve been a dream matchup last season had everything gone to plan. Lonzo Ball against Maurice Watson Jr. TJ Leaf against Justin Patton. Alford against McDermott.

We could’ve only been so lucky.

Now we get to pick up the pieces and look at all the dull remains of a charred tree after the initial storm cell has passed. There’s lightning still in the area, the thunder still rolls, but the excitement of the electricity that was once witnessed has passed us by.

What we get is lesser than, but still something.

UCLA brings a little something extra. They bring the circus with them, whether they like it or not, because of the actions of three teenagers in a foreign country. I’ve heard it all at this point. The, “How could they be so stupid?” The, “Shouldn’t they know better?” The, “Finally we get the showdown that we’ve been lusting for, Lavar Ball against Donald Trump. I love the fact that we’re finally getting the battle between the con showman, the monster built by the media, the divisive figure that everyone seems to hate, and Donald Trump. Wow, I can’t wait for this to play out because it certainly isn’t a waste of my time and a complete distraction from the budget bill our elected leaders are planning on passing that would completely fuck over me, the person making less than $50k a year. Not a chance that this is just another attempt to guide my eyes from the reality that permeates through our societal decline, that this is all just an illusory weapon to create pause within my conscience. I certainly haven’t been conditioned to think that this, all of it, is completely normal and not resulting in a dystopian present that I cannot comprehend because that which rules my life renders itself most useful if I experience incomprehension. No, not at all.”

Yet, in this fucked up world we live in, the mistakes of three young kids, who did a very, very stupid thing, has now escalated itself to the imaginary throne of the White House. Splashed across idle television screens set on 24-hour news channels were those three young basketball players, walking through an airport with flashbulbs surrounding them like strobe lights.

This is how we treat these people. This is how we, as a society, have decided to utilize our time. To debate the actions of people we’ve never met in an endless measure in self gratification. To pick through someone else’s dirty laundry and talk about the shit stains on their drawers with our coworkers and friends. To throw everyone who has made an act of stupidity into a Game of Thrones shame walk. How bold. How courageous. What a great exercise. It most certainly should bear some fruit, right?

You’ve probably bailed on this article already.

I don’t blame you.

Creighton and UCLA rank 9th (13.7) and 13th (13.9) in average time per offensive possession. They get up shots quick, they don’t set a half court offense, and they run a fastbreak better than anyone in the country.

Of all the games that are scheduled for tomorrow, the Creighton-UCLA matchup rankes first in terms of “Thrill Score” on Kenpom.

The Jays, with Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas bookending a talent-laden roster full of sprinters and Manny Suarez, boast an eFG% of 63.6%, good for 9th in the nation and registering at nearly 10 percentage points higher than UCLA. UCLA is ranked in the 300’s when it comes to defending the three pointer, which Creighton utilizes for 31% of their total scoring.

UCLA will lean on the talents of Kris Wilkes, a 6’8 195lb G/F that can shoot and rebound the ball. The freshman from Indy scored 20 points and nabbed 12 rebounds in the overtime win against Central Arkansas. To properly match-up against the agile and deft of hand ballhandler, the Jays may want to deploy the talents of one Ronnie Harrell Jr. His 6’7, 200lb frame and ability to nab rebounds would be a catalyst unknown to many, especially since TOBY! Hegner will be out for a few weeks.

If this is Ronnie’s coming out party, then by god let’s do it up right. There hasn’t been a juicer storyline of a relative unknown coming to the breadth of his talent while riding the bench for so long in Kansas City since Whit Merrifield.

The other high scorer in the affair against Arkansas was junior guard Aaron Holiday. He poured in 24 points in 43 minutes of action. His turnover:assist ratio sits idly at 1:1, but he can score in volumes, given he went 5-15 from the field but 4-9 from three. He also shot 12 free throws. He’ll give Khyri Thomas all that he can handle.

The last and final player we’ll talk about is 7’ senior Tommy Welsh. He’ll be the best big man Creighton will scout against so far this year, giving Martin Krampelj a true test of what the BIG EAST will eventually throw at him. Welsh has had a double-double in two of the three affairs the Bruins have been in this year, with 16 points on 8-19 shooting against Central Arkansas. He can score down low better than most, and with the depth being a little thin for the Bruins, his number will be called multiple times to get easy buckets.

Overall, this game is a coin-flip. If Creighton can maintain poise throughout the contest and rely on Krampelj and Suarez to stay out of foul trouble, they’ll have a pretty good shot to win this one. If anyone can run with any damn body you know it’s the Bluejays. They’ve practically patented that style. Whether UCLA has the cajones to try to keep up instead of taking measured shots is the real mystery here.

Whatever happens, I hope the world doesn’t completely burn down, at least not right now.


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