BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Creighton vs. Providence

It will be a battle of new versus old in the Big East Championship tonight, as Creighton takes on Providence.

Devin Brooks, Carson Desrosiers

Doug McDermott has been a man on a mission over the last two days, scoring 35 against DePaul (including a Big East Tournament record for points in a half with 27 in the first 20 minutes) and 32 against Xavier. The 67 total points is the most in any player’s first two career games in Big East Tournament history. Creighton has not trailed at any point in the tournament thus far.

On the other side, Providence comes into tonight’s championship squarely on the bubble. Bracket Matrix has the Friars as the last team in the tournament field at the moment. LaDontae Henton has had a very strong tournament performance, with 16 points and 11 rebounds against St. John’s followed by 26 points and 14 rebounds against Seton Hall. Bryce Cotton’s 18 points and 11 assists on Friday night in the semi-final against Seton Hall made up for his 1 field goal performance on Thursday against St. John’s.

Trivia Question: When was Providence’s last Big East Championship performance?

Answer: 1993-94. Head Coach Rick Barnes led the Friars to a 74-64 victory over John Thompson and Georgetown. It was Providence’s one and only Big East Tournament championship appearance.

What will decide tonight’s game?

Creighton is the country’s best offensive team. With an adjusted Offensive Rating of 126.8, the Bluejays are on pace to be the first team to finish with an offensive efficiency greater than 124 since 2005 Wake Forest. Defensively, Greg McDermott’s team is exposable. They force turnovers at the 333rd best (or worst?) rate in the nation, their steal percentage is better than just 8 teams in the country, and only Central Michigan blocks a lower percentage of shots on the defensive end.

Any and all flaws are solved by one simple fact, however: The Bluejays don’t miss shots.

Ok, fine. They miss sometimes.

McDermott 3000

Their effective Field Goal Percentage is an absurd 59.6% (tops in the country), made up by the nation’s best 3P% and 5th best 2P%.

For Providence to have a chance tonight, they are either going to need to score or get stops at a higher rate… or both.

You can’t stop Doug McDermott. You can only try to contain him. But you can stop his teammates.

If the Friars can keep Devin Brooks, Austin Chatman, Grant Gibbs, Will Artino, Jahenns Manigat, and Ethan Wragge in check, they will probably win this game. Obviously, that won’t be easy.

Who Will Win?

Providence needs a win to guarantee its name will be called tomorrow evening on the Selection Show. Creighton needs a win to please the 96% of Omaha that made the trip to New York City.

I expect Doug McDermott to continue playing at an elite level, bringing the Big East Championship Trophy back to Nebraska with his Player of the Year Award.

Creighton 81, Providence 78

 

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