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#25 Creighton v #15 Gonzaga - Preview

Creighton faces a top 25 opponent for the 4th time this season. This one brings a little extra hot sauce.

NCAA Basketball: Hall of Fame Classic-Baylor at Creighton Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch, Stream, Listen, Follow

Game Time: 9:00pm CT

Location: McCarthy Athletic Center, Spokane, WA

TV: ESPN2

Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: 1620AM in Omaha / 880AM in Seattle / 1510AM & 101.1FM in Spokane / 1360AM in Portland

Other Blogs: White & Blue Review / Bluejay Banter - Creighton

The Slipper Still Fits - Gonzaga

Tweeters:

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

Gonzaga - Slipper Still Fits / Free Ira Brown / Keith Ybanez / Zags Chick / Diana / Euro Zag /


Odds & Ends

Creighton is a 6 point underdog according to Odds Shark.

If you’re thinking about wasting money by betting on this basketball game, may I remind you that you could use that money to buy a new hat? Think of all the compliments you’ll get in your new, fancy hat. Maybe that cute coworker you’ve been avoiding due to social anxiety will compliment your new hat. Maybe a bird will fly down and snatch your new hat off your head, giving you a story to tell your husband. Maybe your new hat will be photographed by a National Geographic photographer and you’ll become an icon for decades. Maybe that new hat will make your head warm while the winds of winter lash you mercilessly. That new hat can get you a lot more than a gamble with your hard earned cash. Think about it.


Series History

Creighton and Gonzaga have met eight times, with the Jays holding a 6-2 advantage.

The last meeting between the two schools came on January 15th, 1977, where Creighton went to Spokane and won 100-83. Previous to that, the Jays had won three consecutive meetings between 1962-1975, all in Omaha, with an average margin of victory of just 7 points.

The two teams traded wins in 4 affairs between 1947-1960, three of those games coming in Omaha. This meeting will be just the third time Creighton will travel to the great state of Washington to face the Bulldogs.


Verba de Ludis

Ah, how long we’ve been waiting for this in Omaha. Ever since Gonzaga blessed our tube televisions as they went for a deep run in March, us folks in Omaha dreamed of a match-up against the Bulldogs. A school with a similar identity, smoldering as a red hot prospect for prosperity in a mid-major conference.

A beacon of hope.

Even after the move to the BIG EAST, I believe there was a sentiment around the city that a meeting would be a memorable milestone in modern Creighton sports. There’s always been an infatuation with the Bulldogs. Omaha tends to have that underdog spirit, an identity that we’re more than just some small city in a flyover state. Just give us a chance!

Gonzaga epitomized that. I remember a kid I went to elementary school with who had no shortage of Gonzaga apparel that he wore to school. Unlike the kids who’d wear a Texas Longhorns sweatshirt or a Wichita State t-shirt just to be contrarian assholes, the Bulldogs always sort of had this pleasurable appeal. There was nothing inflammatory about them and by God you’d root like hell when they’d match up against the blue bloods when the dance rolled around.

When it was announced in the off-season that this dream of a match-up had become a reality, there was an air of excitement followed immediately by the anxiety that comes with playing last season’s runner-up. Sure, they lost a lot from the team last season, but they’ve reached a sustained success that would make Jay Wright envious, making it past the first weekend three years in a row.

This year, they haven’t really lost that. They’re just as potent offensively as they were last season, missing a bit of a defensive edge that made them so effective last year. They let a very good Florida squad drop 111 points on ‘em in double overtime, a game that saw senior 6’9 forward Johnathan Williams drop 39 points.

Speaking of Williams, he’s the centerpiece of this Gonzaga squad. A transfer from Mizzou, Williams has been uber-efficient from around the rim, averaging 16 points per game while nabbing just north of 7 rebounds per game. He’ll offer Creighton the most dynamic threat they’ve seen all year. His only problem is pretty consistent foul trouble, getting four fouls in three of their seven games.

With Josh Perkins playing point, a scoring guard who facilitates the offense, the Bulldogs have a steady hand navigating the ship. He can score from beyond the arc (went 6-9 from three against Ohio State) and can rack up assists to his post players (7 assists against Texas). At 6’3 he’s a good size for a guard and will likely be guarded by the almighty Khyri Thomas.

Rui Hachimura, a 6’8 sophomore who typically slots in behind Williams, is just the fifth Japanese-born player to play in D1 basketball. He’s also been an integral part to the Bulldogs’ success this season, scoring 20 in the win against Texas and pouring in 18 against Incarnate Word. When Williams gets into foul trouble, Hachimura is a hot hand off the bench that Few can count on.

Gonzaga sits three ticks higher in offensive efficiency, at 12th to Creighton’s 15th. The Bluejay pace, however, is much quicker, with Creighton utilizing roughly 14 seconds per offensive possession while the Bulldogs spend two more seconds with the ball.

It’s going to come down to who has a better defense to stem the vicious tide of offense. Creighton is markedly improved from last season, but they haven’t seen an offense as efficient as Gonzaga’s. If the Jays can get Gonzaga to turn the ball over - something that happens very rarely - and score with ease in transition, they might be able to gain momentum and add cushion to what will be a back and forth heavyweight fight.

This is going to be a whole lot of fun. Just give us a chance!


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