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White & Blue Review - Creighton
Mid Major Madness - Montana
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The Bluejays have compiled a 5-1 record against the Grizzlies. Their one loss occurred the last time these two played, on December 19th, 1993. The contests previous to today’s have all been tightly contested, with each game ending in a scoring margin of nine or less points, including a double overtime thriller in the 1992-93 season.
Verba de Ludis
Montana can score. A lot. They’re currently averaging 80.6 points per game, have wins over Georgia State (81-74), Incarnate Word (93-66), and Miami Ohio (73-71). They score a majority of their points from inside the arc, putting up an incredible 63.7% of their points from within the boundary. Because of their acumen to find the best shot possible, they currently rank 8th in eFG% at 59.8%. Their offense is potent and they tend to push the pace, averaging 16.3 seconds per possession. They resemble a poor man’s version of Creighton’s offense especially considering the Bluejays 2nd ranked eFG% of 61.2%.
They fail to get offensive rebounds, don’t give up or force a lot of turnovers, don’t shoot a whole lot of free throws, and average 69.9 possessions per game. They rely on Sayeed Pridgett to do a wealth of the scoring as he shoots 63.4% from the field, yet almost all of his points come at the basket. The 6’5 195lb junior is the top scoring threat, yet senior guard Michael Oguine has caught fire recently, pouring in 18.5PPG in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase.
At halftime against Georgia Southern, Montana faced a helluva mountain to climb. Trailing by 20, the Grizzlies had an 8% chance to comeback and win - a feat they damn near accomplished, getting a look in the waning seconds of the game to tie it and send it into overtime. It wasn’t in the cards, but the highly experienced team (five seniors, two juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen make up their roster) can claw their way back from a cold shooting night and potentially pull off a win.
This Creighton team is good. Statistically, they’re a pretty close partner to last year, ranking in the top 60 in terms of defense, scoring 42% of their points from beyond the arc, and running for 72 possessions per game.
It’s a small sample size, sure, but it appears that the medley of ballers that McDermott assembled this year seem to be keen on playing his style of basketball. Sure, that’s not surprising to a casual viewer, yet from an outsider’s perspective it’s pretty remarkable. McDermott has been consistent, year after year, in terms of offensive statistics, regardless of who he throws out on the court.
Marcus Zegarowski appears to be the crux of Creighton’s offense. He’s the future. He should be starting, but he’s splitting near equal minutes with the veteran in Davion Mintz, so the ‘starter’ label is essentially meaningless.
Minutes Played Since Start Of Season
|Game||Mintz Minutes||Zeggy Minutes|
|Game||Mintz Minutes||Zeggy Minutes|
The minute distribution is clearly beginning to lean into the freshman’s favor. It’s been rumored this year that Mintz may be taking a backseat to slot into a ‘2’ guard role, which has been experimented with in games against Georgia State and Ohio State where the two point guards were featured simultaneously.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Mintz grows frustrated with taking a secondary role in his junior season or if he’ll embrace his new role knowing it leads to wins. I suppose that comes down to the culture that McDermott preaches.
The Jays might have an upper hand in this one, as senior big man Jamar Akoh is iffy to play with a wrist injury he suffered against Georgia State at the beginning of the season. If that’s the case, look for Creighton to feed Jacob Epperson and Martin Krampelj on pick and roll lobs.
Song of the Day - Here In Spirit - Jim James