Since joining the Big East, the Creighton Bluejays have only defeated the Providence Friars once. They'd like to add number two to that list Tuesday night to push them to 4-1 in conference play, a great start for a team predicted to finish 9th in the pre-season. In their way is Kris Dunn and No. 12 Providence. Dunn is a player of the year candidate and all-around jaw dropping point guard who can takeover a game at the flip of a switch.
The game could prove to be a real turning point for both teams. A loss hands Providence their second straight loss and puts them at .500 in conference play, and a win would place the Jays in prime position for bubble talk. Oh, and it's dollar beer and soda night at CenturyLink Center, as if the crowd needed another reason to pack the house.
How to watch, listen or stream
Game time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Television: Fox Sports 1. Announcers Dick Stockton and former Bluejay Nick Bahe will be on the call.
Radio: KOZN 1620 AM (Creighton) / WEEI 103.7 FM (Providence)
Steam: Fox Sports Go (where available)
Line: Creighton opened as a one-point favorite, but are now a two-point favorite (via OddsShark)
Records ATS: Providence 9-6 || Creighton 10-6
Three things to watch
1. Watson vs. Dunn
The match-up everyone will be watching will be Maurice Watson Jr. vs. Kris Dunn. Watson was named the Big East Player of the Week on Monday, his first of the season, for his stellar performances against Georgetown and Seton Hall. Watson stands a few inches shorter than Dunn, and doesn't have the experience at a big conference level that Dunn has. However, in his previous two games Dunn has a combined 13 assists and 12 turnovers. He did score 46 points in that span, though. Watson also possesses a better assist to turnover ratio. Dunn's is at 2.22 while Watson's is at 2.51. Regardless, the crowd will be in for a treat .
2. Bentil vs. Groselle
Creighton against Providence is a battle of match-ups. This is yet another one. Ben Bentil has displayed the ability to score from anywhere on the floor while Geoffrey Groselle has shown the ability to post up and never miss in the paint as he leads the nation in field goal percentage. Groselle can struggle to cover shooters on the perimeter, sort of a given for a seven-footer. But Groselle does have a few inches on Bentil. Will Greg McDermott allow Groselle to give Bentil space on the perimeter? Bentil is just 28 percent on the season from three-point land, but has knocked down 14 on the season.
3. Creighton's improvement on defense
Coming into the Georgetown game Creighton's defense hadn't been just bad, they had been absolutely dreadful. However, the Bluejays allowed just three baskets for Georgetown down the stretch, a key in giving CU the win. Against Seton Hall, Creighton's strategy of doubling center Angel Delgado in the post and letting the Pirates shoot from the outside paid off in a big way, so much so that Seton Hall's primary scorers were neutralized and taken out of the game all together. Since Creighton isn't as gifted athletically as some other conference schools, playing help defense has become a big part of the team's success. How the Bluejays play Bentil defensively will be interesting as will trying to stop Dunn's drives.
The last time Creighton beat Providence, Doug McDermott scored his 3,000th career point, putting him in the top five all-time in college basketball. Take a look at the highlights courtesy of White and Blue Review: