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2017 NCAA Tournament - #6 Creighton v #11 Rhode Island - Game Guide/Preview

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Everyone’s picking Rhode Island but you should pick yourself because your self-esteem is important and you’re beautiful.

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NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Xavier vs Creighton Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch, Stream, Listen, Follow

Game Time: 3:30pm CT or 30 minutes following the previous game

Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

TV: TBS

Stream: NCAA Online

App: Google Play / Apple Store / Roku / Windows

Radio: Westwood One

Other Blogs: White & Blue Review - Creighton / Mid-Major Madness - Rhode Island


Odds & Ends

Rhode Island is favored by two points according to Odds Shark.

Over/Under set at 141.5

If you find the thrill of betting on sports to be paramount to your enjoyment of sports, that’s fine. If your family hasn’t had heat, food, or lottery tickets for multiple months because you keep gambling on sports, you should probably rethink things and take care of your family.


How they got here

Creighton entered the season with heightened expectations that inevitably broke some sort of ceiling mid-way through their campaign. It took just one injury, and subsequent legal troubles, to their star point guard for their season to take a downward turn.

In nearly every college basketball aficionado’s mind, Creighton was slated to be a Final Four team before the injury. Since, it’s been nothing but pessimism and a wonky outlook on how they’d end up.

Their offense isn’t as potent, their defense still suffers from its typical anemic stretches, and the shuffle of players to fill their injured player’s role became desperate and momentarily ineffective (as one would expect).

The tide began to turn, the Jays finding their rhythm again, and they eventually found themselves in the BIG EAST title game against eventual number one overall seed Villanova.

They lost. By quite a bit.

Yet, here they are.

Rhode Island started the season with high hopes, much like Creighton did, landing themselves in the preseason top-25. They’d lose to Duke - an understandable feat - yet proceeded to lose to Valpo and Providence.

The hype was gone. The air in the proverbial blimp that floated across the east coast leaked everywhere and they fell out of the top-25. Eventually the Rams hit rock bottom when they scored 45 points and lost to a really bad Fordham team.

Words were yelled, epiphanies were had, and suddenly the Rams were born again.

Out of the ashes came the Rhode Island squad that every prognosticator expected from the jump. Dan Hurley’s squad rattled off eight consecutive wins, finished the season with an A-10 championship over VCU, and have been hyped as one of the most dangerous 11-seeds in the NCAA Tournament.


Series History

Though Creighton and Rhode Island share a rich basketball history that harkens back just around a century, the two teams have only met once, in the NIT, in the 07/08 season.

The two teams share a pretty common bond, however, as former Rhode Island point guard and assistant coach Preston Murphy now roams the sidelines for the Bluejays. When facing one’s alma mater it’s difficult to shed one’s self of the emotional bond with their former colors, but Murphy’s defection comes with an already emotional season, thus negating any semblance of sabotage that may linger in the air.

Speaking of that one and only meeting between the two institutions, here’s a highlight video that skews pretty heavily towards the Jays:


Players To Put Your Peepers On

Creighton:

Justin Patton - 7’0 235lb freshman - BIG EAST freshman of the year - All-BIG EAST 2nd Team - 13.1 PPG/6.2 RPG/4th nationally in eFG%

Marcus Foster - 6’3 210lb junior - All-BIG EAST 1st team - 18.3PPG/2.9RPG/52.8% eFG%

Khyri Thomas - 6’3 205lb sophomore - All-BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year - 12.5PPG/2.4StPG/58.6 eFG%

Rhode Island

Hassan Martin - 6’7 235lb senior - 2x A-10 Defensive Player of the Year - All-A-10 2nd team - 14.1PPG/7RPG/59.7 eFG%

EC Matthews - 6’5 200lb junior - All-A-10 Third Team - A-10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player - 14.9PPG/4.2RPG/52.1 eFG%

Kuran Iverson - 6’9 215lb senior - 9.4PPG/7.4RPG/51.6 eFG%


Meandering Predictions

Though the national media is firm in their belief that the Rams will walk away with a ‘W,’ I’m in the camp that likes to be a contrarian asshole, so I predict a Bluejay win by the score of, uh, shit, like, 76-68. That sounds like a good basketball score, right?


Song of the Day - ‘Sacramento’ - Patrick Storedahl