Where did the shooting touch go?
Creighton is known for their three point efficiency prowess. The team is loaded with players recruited as shooters and boasts alumni like Doug McDermott, Ethan Wragge, Kyle Korver, Nate Funk, Jimmy Motz, Anthony Tolliver and Booker Woodfox. All known for their shot. It has a growing nickname of "Shooter U" and coach McDermott prides himself in allowing his players to "let it fly". So where has that shooting been this season? In the first halves against Oklahoma and North Carolina Central, the Jays have been anything but Shooter U. The team has seen its three point percentage dip to 32 percent this young season, down from 41.4 percent from last year. The Bluejays may find it hard to regain that shooting touch tonight as they take on Eastern Illinois, a team that prides itself in defense.
With all that said about low shooting percentages, the Bluejays do find themselves 4-0 and ranked. Part of that is due to great defense. The Jays held a good shooting Oklahoma team to 35 percent shooting and North Carolina Central to 45 points on 36 percent shooting. Guards Isaiah Zierden, Austin Chatman and Devin Brooks have all gotten better this season at disrupting the opponents' flow. One of the key plays in the Oklahoma game was Zierden's late steal. Important defensive plays like that are not something that existed with previous Creighton teams. This Creighton team's go-to might just be defense.
What can Creighton expect from Eastern Illinois?
Coaced by Jay Spoonhour, son of legendary coach Charlie Spoonhour, the Panthers out of the Ohio Valley conference hang their hat on defense and pounding the paint. EIU returns three starters from last season and they average 61 ppg but allow just 58 ppg. The 1-3 Panthers hung tight with Cincinnati before losing by five. They have also lost on the road to Missouri State and at home to UC-Davis. Their lone win came against Division III team Eureka, 81-51. The Panthers are led by Northern Iowa transfer Chris Olivier, who averages just over 13 ppg. Olivier is also EIU's leading rebounder at 5.8 rpg. The game is part of the Emerald Coast Classic, a tournament that will see Creighton play Ole Miss and either Cincinnati or Middle Tennessee State later this week.