How to Watch, Stream, Listen, Follow
Game Time: 7:30pm CT
Location: CHICO, Omaha, Nebraska
Radio: 1620AM the Zone in Omaha / 570AM WMCA & 970AM WNYM in New York
Odds & Ends
Creighton is favored by 4.5 according to Odds Shark.
Over/under is set at 164 as of this writing.
Kenpom favors Creighton with a 66% chance of victory and a final score of 85-80.
Don’t gamble on sports. Give me money instead. I’ll buy booze with it, I promise. If my mom or dad are reading this I’m definitely going to buy something useful like a new sweater or dinner for my gal - I promise I won’t buy booze with a stranger’s money. Who do you think I am? You raised me. I wouldn’t do something like that.
Since We Last Met
It was but two weeks ago since St. John’s and Creighton last met. On a sunny afternoon at Carnesecca Arena the Johnnies proceeded to trounce the defeated Jays - a Jays team riding a three game losing streak going into the affair and left with a four game skid that will forever exist in the annals of BIG EAST history.
The Johnnies had just lost to DePaul four days prior in a ballgame that was Shamorie-less. It was a troubling time indeed, but Shamorie’s return to the hardwood was met with victory, an outcome that Shamorie almost always ensures when he’s at his best. He scored twenty-two points and dished out five assists against a Creighton team that’d met their rock-bottom. His talents were put on display in ways that are typical to a regular viewer of the Queens-based ballclub, as he torched the Bluejays from beyond the arc and on dives to the rim.
Perhaps it was telling just how far the Jays had fallen when they rolled out of Queens after turning the ball over thirteen times and committing twenty-one fouls. Fans chirped that this team simply died by the three as the final numbers tallied thirty-five attempts with only eleven makes from beyond the arc. Shot after shot clanged away from salvation and the defensive efforts and mental lapses were glaring as they were unable to salvage any sort of victory from the performance.
St. John’s took the momentum from their win over the Jays and promptly threw it in the garbage as they proceeded to drop their next two affairs to Butler and Georgetown. The latter featured Shamorie getting outworked by Kamar Baldwin; Baldwin had thirty points while Shamorie had just ten.
In their next affair they faced Georgetown for the second time in conference play. The first ballgame against the Hoyas was an instant classic with late-game heroics by both squads. The return game was a measure in ineptitude, with the Johnnies holding an opportunity to light off some late-game fireworks in the Garden but proceeded to kick the ball out of bounds. It was more lowlight than highlight for the Johnnies as journalist after journalist mocked Chris Mullin and his choice to engage with an untied shoe instead of his team during a timeout with less than a minute left in a two possession game.
In the postgame presser, Shamorie noted that the team had split, that there’s a fracture in their infrastructure, hinting at what could be another free-fall for a talent-laced ballclub.
While the Johnnies are facing an existential crisis, the Jays have rebounded and found their will to win ballgames again. In a poised effort against a long and athletic Georgetown squad the Bluejays were able to rely on Ty-Shon Alexander to hit a big boy shot in the waning moments of the second half to secure a 91-87 win over the Hoyas in our nation’s capitol.
After that, with revenge on the mind, the McDermott-led squad welcomed Butler into Omaha and promptly ousted them with one of the greatest defensive games the Jays had played in quite some time. Perhaps it was the general consensus going around Omaha that McDermott’s team was soft, something McDermott himself turned into bulletin board material, something that clearly had an immediate impact on his young and up-and-coming team.
Or perhaps it was just Creighton learning to grow within themselves, their maturity and experience on display each and every night like watching a puppy grow into a fully grown pupper. Sure, they occasionally shit the bed and bit their leash, but over time they learn how and why not to do those sorts of things. It’s a testament to McDermott’s coaching acumen and his ability to coach young men out of doing silly things.
These two teams now meet at a crossroads. On one side you’ve got what appears to be a veteran squad with a bonafide superstar trying to come to terms with their leaderless club. On the other you’ve got inexperience gaining experience. What a clash. What a heaping helping of drama.
Verba de Ludis
Shamorie Ponds needs help.
Shamorie Ponds needs someone to point him in the right direction.
His talent alone is transcendent. His hustle is the American dream. His will to win is second to none.
Yet here he is, on a team with an empty suit masquerading as a coach. On a team where the man whose job it is to draw up blueprints is unable to hold a pen. There’s nothing to build if the workers don’t know what they’re building and the foreman can only shout so loud for so long.
It’s a travesty what’s happening in Queens. Had Shamorie Ponds ventured out into the open world and landed on a team with a coach that could teach, that could will his players to greatness, that could pay his players any respect in a tight ballgame, perhaps his back wouldn’t be burdened with the weight of the world.
Chris Mullin is as much of a coach as Mark Twain was a phenomenal writing professor. For some it’s easier to do than it is to teach; that’s why they do what they do instead of showing others how to do it. Chris Mullin is the example; Patrick Ewing is exception.
Creighton is celebrating 80’s night tonight. They’ll be rocking the baby blue unis:
and they’ll be handing out $1 beers an hour before the game starts. On the jumbotrons they’ll use the same logos that were used in the 80’s for both teams, undoubtedly play some really awful music over the arena speakers, and for a moment it’ll feel like the Kansas City Royals are one of the top teams in Major League Baseball.
There will likely be no mention of the Cold War or the Soviet Union, how the Berlin Wall existed, how Ronald Reagan inexplicably became president, or how much of a success the War on Drugs is all these years later.
This is a fun thing the marketing department at Creighton is doing but let’s hope there aren’t any duck-and-cover drills.
Song of the Day - Old Man Saxon - On Point