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Marquette v Creighton - Preview

Howard/Rowsey v Thomas/Foster - ROUND 1

Marquette v Creighton Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Game Time: 9:00pm CT

Location: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, NE


Stream: FSGO - ?

Radio: 1620AM the Zone & 101.9FM the Keg in Omaha / 540AM in Milwaukee

Other Blogs: White & Blue Review - Creighton / Anonymous Eagle - Marquette


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

Marquette - Sam Newberry / Marquette MBB / Matt Velasquez / Anonymous Eagle / Paint Touches / Jack Goods / Grant Becker / Marquette Nation

Odds & Ends

Creighton is favored by 6.5 points according to Odds Shark.

The over/under is set at 164.

Kenpom has Creighton winning this game by a score of 87-80, with a 74% chance to come away with the ‘W.’

If you’re thinking about betting on this game I’d highly advise against it. There are morals that you need to have about this kind of shit, you can’t just throw money away at a sporting event and think you’re going to walk through the pearly fucking gates farting away like you’re rid of sin after spending your kid’s food money on basketball games. You might think this is a sure thing, but you forget about Trevor and his sure thing. Oh, you don’t know that story? Let me tell it:

Trevor was a risky kid, he loved to play the odds. One day Trevor put money on the Xavier/Villanova basketball game, taking the under, planned on putting more money on it at halftime, then planned on buying a boat with all his winnings. Trevor thought this was a sure thing so he put some money down on the boat. Well, Trevor ended up falling into a well and broke both of his legs. Now Trevor is dead and his parents have a boat that they take to the lake on weekends. They have a bunch of fun doing it, too. Don’t end up like Trevor.

Series History

The first game between these two came in February of 1923. During that season the two played four times, with Creighton winning the inaugural game 24-9, followed by Marquette winning the next three 19-15, 25-16, and an instant classic that ended 7-6.

In 1924, the following year, the two reprised their four game slate, this time with the Bluejays winning three of four. Luckily, none of those games ended in the single digits, and thus, a rivalry was officially born.

From 1925 until 1938, the two teams played every year, including a rousing ballgame in January of 1930 that went into two overtimes and ended 19-17.

After taking the 1939 season off, Marquette traveled to Omaha and obliterated the Bluejays by the tune of 57-12. That was enough for Creighton to punt on the series until 1950, where they went to Milwaukee and lost 80-68. The game of basketball itself had changed drastically in the decade, but the two had renewed their annual meetings for roughly 40 years. They played each other every year except for 66-67, and over that span, Marquette won 33 of their 42 meetings. With this series so incredibly lopsided, the annual meetings ended, and the two universities met just three times after that until the new BIG EAST was formed, one of those games coming in the NIT in the ‘97-98 season.

Creighton and Marquette have met 84 total times in their history with the Golden Eagles leading the overall series 52-32. Since the new BIG EAST was formed, however, the series is tied at 4-4.

Marquette has won three straight, two of those wins coming in Omaha, with a scoring differential of +7 for the Golden Eagles.

Verba de Ludis

Ah, nothing like a late night ballgame in Omaha.

The lights.

The mild weather.

The mass consumption of alcohol.

It’s an experience unlike any other.

What fans will bear witness to tonight will be an exercise in offensive beauty. Two teams when, on the right night, can shoot the lights out and destroy the nets dangling from the rims.

Marquette’s offense is ranked 14th in the nation in terms of efficiency. Creighton’s is just a bit worse at 19th.

The Golden Eagles score roughly 40% of their points from beyond the arc. They’re the best free throw shooting team in all of D1 basketball, but those free throws account for just 17% of their points on average. They’re just north of the middle of the pack when it comes to pace, averaging 17 seconds per possession.

Creighton’s offense gives deference to high percentage shots, but still scores 37% of their points from beyond the arc. They rank 2nd in the nation in 2pt FG%, meaning when they can get an open shot they’re likely going to ca$h in. They’re in the top 20 of free throw percentage, but rank 331st in the nation in terms of production from the charity stripe.

On paper, Marquette has a bit of an edge offensively. That’s thanks in part to Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey, two of the most prolific three point shooting guards the planet has seen in quite some time.

Howard has this strange condition where he plays his best on the road. Remember when he poured in 52 points against Providence? That was at the Dunk. Remember when he went 1-4 from three and scored just 7 points? That was at home against DePaul. Give him the forgiving rims at the CenturyLink Center and a green light and he might have a historic night on his hands.

I’m sorry for misleading you. He won’t. He has to deal with Khyri Thomas in his personal space all night long.

Which brings me to the flip side of this match-up. The defensive side. The side of the ball where Marquette is subpar. The side of the ball where Creighton is better.

The aforementioned Khyri Thomas has shut down the best of the best that the conference has to offer. He held Kelan Martin to single digits. He held Trevon Bluiett to six measly points. Khadeen Carrington? More like Khadeen four points in 31 minutes. Khyri’s 6’11 12 wingspan is relentless. His work ethic is unforgiving. His ability to completely stop opposing guards is held in such high regard that he has his own hashtag - #Khyrifense.

Speaking of hashtags, Andrew Rowsey has his own as well. #TheThing. I didn’t know what this was, but according to folklore, this term was dreamt up by Eric Gebhart of Marquette Nation* to depict when Rowsey pump fakes and draws a foul... from three. He’s done #TheThing a lot, enough to cause Villanova - the kings of pump fakes - a throbbing headache.

This is where things can get interesting. If Rowsey is able to bait a guy like Marcus Foster into doing #TheThing twice in the first half, he’ll have extinguished the Bluejays’ top scoring threat. He’d also force the Jays to dig into their bench and pull out a Ty-Shon Alexander, who has never experienced anything like #TheThing before.

Speaking of Marcus Foster, he’s likely going to have a really good time scoring on the Marquette defense. Rowsey is unlikely to stop him. Howard is unlikely to stop him. If he gets to the tin early enough they’re going to start collapsing, opening up space for shooters like TOBY! Hegner and Khyri Thomas on the wings. If he gets hot from beyond the arc, they’re going to start spacing the defense, giving guys like Davion Mintz and Ronnie Harrell Jr. driving lanes.

It’ll be interesting to see how Sam Hauser and Toby Hegner react to one another. In this instance, they shall neutralize one another, everything should come up a wash, and no one will get the upper hand. They’re roughly the same size and have the same makeup offensively and defensively.

This is a game of stars tonight. Difference makers. Howard, Rowsey, and Foster carry their respective squads by shooting the ball. Defensively, Khyri Thomas is a potential selection in the draft based solely on his ability to shut folks down.

Defensively, the Bluejays are far more superior. Offensively, Marquette has an edge.

You know what they say about defenses and winning.

*- a previous version of this article gave Sam Newberry, a good man, credit for coming up with #TheThing. It was Eric Gebhart. I apologize for this and I will receive my punishment at a later date.

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