Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Creighton (10) vs. DePaul (7): BIG EAST Tournament Preview

By: DaVaughn Lucas

Creighton (13-18 overall, 4-14 Big East) and DePaul (12-19 overall, 6-12 Big East) are coming into the tournament with under .500 records this year and needing to win four games in as many nights to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, along with winning the Big East conference.

For the Creighton Blue Jays, the team is trying to bounce back after losing possibly the best player in the history of the program last season in Doug McDermott, who is the all-time leader in scoring for the Blue Jays.

Guard Austin Chatman is leading the team in scoring per game (11.6) and assists per game (3.7). James Milliken and Rick Kreklow are averaging nearly 10 points per game in the Big East for the Blue Jays.

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott has been baffled by the different ways the team has lost games in the Big East this season.

“There has been no pattern to how we have lost games this season,” McDermott said in Monday’s BIG EAST Conference call. “We’ve had guys hit some tough shots in the last few seconds. We've lost three games in the last four seconds. Hopefully, there is a silver lining in all of this and we'll play well in NYC.”

Even though Creighton’s record is a bit misleading as opposed to the effort that the team is putting out, many of its games have been close. The Blue Jays have lost their last seven league contests in the final minute of games after being ahead or tied.

The DePaul Blue Demons are coming into the Big East Tournament with struggles of their own. Even with a victory over Creighton this season, DePaul has lost 10 of its last 11 games.

DePaul is led by Billy Garrett, Jr., with an average of 12.4 PPG and 3.8 APG this season. Garrett Jr. is one of four players averaging double figures for the Blue Demons, who average 69 PPG, but have had troubles on the defensive end with allowing 73 PPG.

During the Big East conference call Monday, DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell spoke about the All-Big East Honorable Mention honor for Garrett, Jr.

“Billy being named honorable mention speaks to the depth of our conference, Purnell They have size and quick penetrating point guards.” 

No. 10-seeded Creighton vs. No. 7-seeded DePaul

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.

Tip-off: Wednesday 8:30 p.m. CT

TV/Online: Fox Sports 1/Fox Sports Go

Commentators: Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Bill Raftery (analyst) and Molly McGrath (sideline)

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Follow DaVaughn Lucas on Twitter @sportsfanplay.