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Creighton vs. Tulsa: 3-Point Preview

Creighton will be tested against Tulsa Wednesday night in their first true road game of the season.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Frontcourt

The 6-1 Creighton Bluejays have a multitude of players to use in the frontcourt. Finding a consistent presence in the frontcourt has been a challenge, however. Senior starter Will Artino's performances over Thanksgiving in the Emerald Coast Classic were forgettable while the same could be said for Geoffrey Groselle. Sophomore Zach Hanson provided a needed spark off the bench and played well in crunch time, but lacked consistent success overall in games against Ole Miss and Middle Tennessee State. All three players are struggling to rebound, a key component in the loss to Ole Miss. Forward Toby Hegner's contributions have been perhaps the best of any player in the frontcourt, displaying the ability to score from anywhere on the floor. Creighton will need more from its centers in the road game against Tulsa if they are to be successful.

Finding the right combination

One of Creighton's strengths this season is their depth. One of their weaknesses is that they don't have a consistent, reliable lineup. Two of the constants have been Austin Chatman and Toby Hegner. Beyond that, Creighton has seen many different combinations of players in crunch time. Added to the confusion is the return of senior Avery Dingman, a guard that can play a variety of positions and is perhaps the team's best defender. Coach Greg McDermott has elected to go with Zach Hanson down the stretch against Oklahoma and Middle Tennessee State, but chose to go with Will Artino against Ole Miss. Sharp shooter Isaiah Zierden has only seen the starting lineup once this season, despite being the team's leading scorer at nearly 14 points per game. McDermott has been clear in that he will play the hot hand and that the starting lineup may not even be the same from game to game. But if the Bluejays want to contend for the top half of the Big East this season, they're going to have to find a lineup they can rely on.

What can the Jays expect from Tulsa?

Wednesday night's game against Tulsa is the final game of a four game home-and-home series the two programs agreed upon during Creighton's Missouri Valley Conference years. Creighton has won the last three meetings, so you can bet Tulsa will be ready to exact revenge against the Jays. The last time Creighton visited Tulsa, then sophomore Doug McDermott went off for 35 points en route to an 85-64 win. The 3-3 Golden Hurricane have lost their last two (against Oklahoma State and Wichita State) and are led by first year head coach Frank Haith. One of the players the Jays will be looking to contain is guard James Woodard. Woodard is an athletic guard who can really light it up, as he's shooting nearly 42 percent this season. An NCAA Tournament team a year ago, Tulsa is 295th in the nation in scoring at 60.5 ppg. A stat the improved Bluejays defense will be looking to maintain. The game may be decided in the paint, however. Watch for the matchup between D'Andre Wright of Tulsa and the previously mentioned frontcourt of the Bluejays.