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2018 NCAA Tournament: Kansas State v Creighton - Preview

8 v 9. Charlotte. Winner gets UMBC.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Charlotte Practice Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch, Stream, Listen, Follow

Game Time: 5:50pm CT

Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC


Stream: March Madness App (Google - iOS) / NCAA Streaming

Radio: WestwoodOne Sirius 137 / XM 201

Other Blogs: White & Blue Review - Creighton / Bring On The Cats - Kansas State

Odds & Ends

Creighton is favored by one point according to Odds Shark.

Over/under set at 143.

Kenpom predicts a Bluejay win with the score of 74-72, with a 56% chance of victory.

If you’re thinking about betting on this game I’d suggest that you didn’t. There are too many variables that go into these games, plus you already have money on the line in your office pool, so why waste more money? It’s a fools game. You could spend your money on so much more, like your own cable subscription so you don’t have to mooch off your mom’s cable account, or an oil change for your 1988 Ford Festiva, or you could buy your significant other a small gift so their bottled up resentment of you doesn’t explode in a fit of rage for a few more hours, or you could buy some chips and salsa, or you could invest in your high school friend’s shitty kickstarter, or you could buy a book on how to read so you can finally shake your illiteracy, or you could finance a teacher’s classroom supplies in exchange on lessons on how to read, or you could spend it on a burner phone and become a drug dealer because math suits you better than literature. Any of these are better than gambling. Bet on yourself, not on sports.

Series History

Creighton and Kansas State have played 15 times in their history, with the Jays leading the overall series 8-7. The two teams haven’t played since December 7th, 1987, where the Wildcats beat the Bluejays 88-78 in Omaha.

Since that fateful day there have been two notable developments betwixt these two institutions. The first being the acquisition of Dana Altman from Kansas State at the beginning of the 1994-1995 season. While at Creighton he became the all-time leader in wins, led the Jays to 6 MVC tournament titles, won MVC coach of the year titles in 2001-2002, and finished with a 327-176 record before moving to Eugene to take over the Oregon program in 2010.

The second is the acquisition of Marcus Foster. Bruce Weber, a noted human, booted Foster off the team after the 2014-2015 season. Foster found a new home at Creighton, where he’d been recruited while in high school and claims was his “second pick,” and has proceeded to score 1,287 points in his two seasons in Omaha.

Since the announcement that Creighton and K-State would face one another, the media folk have been all over the Foster/Weber story. Here’s a series of them:

From the Omaha World-Herald’s Jon Nyatawa:

Foster hasn’t talked to K-State coach Bruce Weber. But he’s not holding any grudges.

“If this was my redshirt year, I’da probably come out here and said, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna go get 40 on my old school,’ ” Foster said. “But now, it’s more about just winning. I don’t care what I have to do to win. I just want to win this game, win the next game, keep going, keep it moving. I just don’t want my career to end yet.”

From USA Today’s Andy Newberry:

“While I’m very proud of what the stat sheet says about Marcus Foster, but that doesn’t hold a candle to who Marcus is off the court as a teammate, a person, a father. To the K-State fans, he’s a very different person than he was when he met with me after leaving Kansas State. The guy they saw as a freshman who is hungry to play and always in the gym is back.”

From the Topeka Capital Journal’s Tom Bisel:

Weber did concede that the matchup is certain to excite Foster — “Oh, I’m sure,” he said — but he also said he didn’t believe either party harbored bitterness over the breakup three years ago.

“I haven’t really talked to (Marcus), but I know people who have talked to him and he doesn’t have any ill feelings toward us or anything,” Weber said. “I know he said that he wished he would have made some other decisions, but I’ve said it many times, if I helped him become a better man, a better player in the long run, that’s my job. That’s what I’m supposed to do as a coach.

“I’m a coach, I’m an educator. If I did that and helped him in life, then I feel good about it.”

Verba de Ludis

It’s hard to peg this game properly. Kansas State’s defense, though a cornerstone to their game, isn’t something Creighton hasn’t overcome before. Barry Brown, their go-to offensive threat, is a player that Creighton’s shut down before. He’s 6’3. He’s 195lbs. He’s shifty, fast, and runs north and south to the tin. Khyri Thomas, one of the premier defenders in college basketball, has seen far better talent than what Brown has to offer.

Kansas State’s other premier scorer, Dean Wade, a 6’10 228lb power forward, is likely to play but is battling a hairline fracture in his foot, which saps mobility and it creates a glaring weakspot in the Wildcat lineup.

The aforementioned extra push that Marcus Foster will attain due to playing his former team can be either detrimental or a gigantic plus for the Jays. If he takes too much control he can sap the energy of the offense. If he fights with his team to get the eventual open look more often than not, the Bluejay offense should blitz the Wildcat defense into submission.

With Jacob Epperson starting to round out his conditioning after burning his redshirt halfway through the season, the Jays should have a lot of potential to put pressure on the rim, especially if he gets rolling early on. If that’s the case, the Kansas State defense might begin to sag inside, giving just about every other player on the court a few extra inches to splash threes.

Then you’ve got a fresh Ronnie Harrell Jr., who will act as a catalyst to the offense, likely off the bench. He’ll give the Jays a little bit more length, a little bit more speed, and an X-factor that K-State might not see coming. Mitch Ballock may get the start, and with the disappointment of missing a game-tying three hanging in the back of his mind, he’ll have his own motivation to get shit started early and often.

Add the fact that sophomore point guard Davion Mintz will be playing in his hometown, along with freshman guard Ty-Shon Alexander, there are a lot of extra spices tossed into this magnificent stew to create a perfect supper for the Jays to persevere just enough to get the win.

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