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Creighton plays host to SIU-Edwardsville

Creighton looks to defend home court for the fourth time this season

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, November 27th, the Creighton Bluejays will host the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars. The Bluejays and Cougars have squared off once before, in 2017, when the Jays blew out SIUE, 103-66, led by 20 points from Martin Krampelj. Now, SIUE is looking for just their second Division I victory on the second, and third overall, with a stunner in Omaha. Meanwhile, Creighton is looking to dispatch the Cougars, who were picked to finish seventh out of ten in the Ohio Valley Conference.

How to watch Creighton vs. SIU-Edwardsville

Time: 6:00pm ET

TV: FS2

Watch Online: Fox Sports App

Opponent Preview

Creighton has played some tough competition over the past week or so. Nebraska in Lincoln, Colorado State in the Virgin Islands, Brown and Southern Illinois before and after the Colorado State loss. Creighton has looked unpredictable in these games; dominant at times against teams like Nebraska and Brown, but questionable in performances against Colorado State and Southern Illinois. This type of sporadic performance was even seen before the Nebraska game, as Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Kennesaw State both took Creighton’s full attention and required a complete performance to beat them.

The SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (2-4) should not repeat this trend, but with this Creighton team, you never know. SIUE is the second worst team Creighton will have played this season, according to KenPom (only UAPB is worse). They do not often convert in transition situations (73 points on 99 transition possessions, ranking in the 5th percentile). Their offense is average in the halfcourt, ranking in the 36th percentile for halfcourt points per possession. Overall, the offense does not click often for the Cougars, who rank in the 19th percentile for offense.

Where SIUE “shines” is in their defense, where they rank in the 53rd percentile in points per possession among Division I teams. They are in the 79th percentile transition defense, evidenced by the total 51 fastbreak points allowed by the Cougars in six games. But, according to Synergy Sports, SIU-Edwardsville has had 402 possessions against the halfcourt opponent offense, of which the offense has scored 338 points, good for a 44th percentile defensive performance from SIUE.

Still, this team should not bother Creighton. They have two double-digit scorers (Ray’Sean Taylor with 17.3 PPG; Shaun Doss with 12.8 PPG), two 40% three-point shooters (Deejuan Pruitt and Zane Butler), and generally lack the size to bother Creighton, with Jonathan Kurtas, a 12 MPG player, standing the tallest on the team at 6’10”. Their four consistent starters (Ray’Sean Taylor, Courtney Carter, Shamar Wright, Lamar Wright) combine for 40.5 PPG, with the fifth, less consistent starter (Shaun Doss) averaging an additional 12.8 PPG. That equals out to 53.3 PPG, and when compared to Creighton’s 61.2 PPG among their starters, if the Jays can keep starters on the floor, they should be in line for a win.

In order for Creighton to win…

...they need the starters (especially people like Ryan Kalkbrenner, who can exploit his height, and Ryan Nembhard, who needs to establish tempo) out of foul trouble. SIUE draws around 19.2 FPG, which would be a high number for Creighton to give up, with the Jays averaging 13.5 FPG. Creighton could probably get away with a player getting in foul trouble, as they did beat Southern Illinois with players like Arthur Kaluma and Alex O’Connell getting in foul trouble early, but it would be nice to establish tempo and physicality down low early to run up the score.

Creighton also probably needs to use this game as a way to get back into their shooting rhythm. Creighton, as a team, is only shooting 30.8% from three, with only two players (Ryan Hawkins, Nembhard) shooting above that average with more than one shot attempt from deep per game. Creighton has seen more players with lower averages make multiple threes in a game, like Kaluma and O’Connell, but they are the players that could use SIUE’s 33.8% opponent three-point percentage to their advantage, trying to find their rhythm.

(Credit: KenPom, Sports-Reference, and Synergy Sports for Creighton and SIU-Edwardsville statistics)