Like we did with the game against Marshall, we were lucky enough to connect with a fellow blogger to ask questions about the upcoming Creighton game. We’d like to thank Patrick Marshall (@WildJays) from White & Blue Review for participating and answering our questions.
1. Everyone knows about Doug McDermott, who are some other Blue Jays we should keep our eyes on Tuesday night?
One guy that gets overlooked by most is McDermott’s running mate down low, Gregory Echenique. Echenique transferred to Creighton from Rutgers and for the past two and a half seasons has grown into quite a player also gaining valuable experience playing with his Venezuelan National team the past two offseasons trying to qualify for the Olympics. If teams want to double McDermott down low, then Echenique will be there to pick up the slack. For a change of pace 6-10 Will Artino can be put in and play valuable minutes.
Creighton plays deep–up to 10 players on a regular basis. In those players are a lot of sharpshooters–Ethan Wragge, Avery Dingman, Josh Jones and Jahenns Manigat. They will all rotate between the 2,3,and 4 positions keeping teams off balanced. Then you have ball handlers Austin Chatman and Andre Yates. Chatman had 11 assists on Sunday against Presbyterian and is really starting to come on as the new starter at point guard. Then you round things out with Grant Gibbs. He is like another point guard and another coach on the floor who will either distribute the ball, get people in the right place or take over the game in his own way.
2. The Blue Jays have had a comfortable start to the season with their first four being inside Qwest Arena. Has their been any moments or weaknesses that have stood out in the match ups against UAB or North Texas?
Actually the arena is now called CenturyLink Center. There were a few things that stuck out in each of those games. Against UNT, the Mean Green tried to pack in the lane to stop McDermott. While Creighton struggled from three (5-of-17) and the new point guards had 8 turnovers, McDermott still scored 21 points and the Bluejays won by 20.
Against UAB, they defended McDermott better than probably any other team in his career. He got into early foul trouble and only scored 5 points all night. But it is pick your poison when facing the Bluejays. Although the Bluejays were down 10 points early in the second half, the rest of the team came alive behind Jones, Gibbs and Echenique. Creighton won by 17 in that game. I suppose a bad shooting night from outside along with shutting down McDermott could cause a little trouble, but so far, nothing too concerning at this point.
3. Obviously this game shouldn’t be much a competition on paper. What do you think the positives are that a team like Creighton can take away in playing a team like Longwood?
A game like this gives a lot of great playing time and experience to some of the new guys or guys in new roles. Almost the whole team is back this year, but the question mark was replacing the point guard position. Austin Chatman is settling in pretty nicely and the game against Presbyterian was a great time for him to show how far he is coming along. Nevin Johnson was injured to start the season and is another player who could contribute some important minutes as the season goes on. He got some playing time on Sunday and hopefully he can get some against Longwood.
It also allows for several different combinations to play together. When McDermott got into the early foul trouble against UAB, there were some lineups on the court that were really unfamiliar to fans and it seemed at times with the players as well as there appeared to be some confusion at times what position people were playing in. These types of games let them sort these things out.
4. Do you think this year’s Las Vegas tournament is an upgrade over the “preseason” tournaments Creighton has played in the past? What potential match up are you most looking forward to?
The past two seasons, Creighton has played in an MTE that culminated in a game against Iowa State the first year and Iowa last season. So in this case, the Las Vegas tourney is definitely an upgrade since it includes two games that could garner wins against schools from bigger conferences instead of one. However, I personally like the tournaments that are fully bracketed like the Old Spice Classic, Charleston Classic, or even the Preseason NIT. It was three seasons ago that the Bluejays participated in the Old Spice Classic, but in that instance, they left Orlando 0-3. Next season Creighton will play in Anaheim in the DirecTV Classic and in 2014 will be a part of the Hall of Fame Tip-off Classic. Both of those should be good tournaments.I’m looking forward to the game against Wisconsin. This has been marked on a lot of people’s calendars as probably the biggest profile game on the non-conference schedule. It was definitely interesting that they made this matchup the first night and not taking the chance that one of the teams wouldn’t advance to the final, thus missing the matchup.
5. What is your prediction for Tuesday night?
I think it will be close to start, but the Bluejays will have a little to much firepower for the Lancers. I would be surprised if McDermott played more than 25 minutes on Tuesday and everyone is pretty excited to get to Vegas. I say that Creighton will win by 26 points 87-61.