Coming off of the massacre of the Butler Bulldogs, ending an eleven game losing streak to the boys from Indianapolis, DePaul tries to end a ten game losing streak to the Creighton Bluejays. This will be the third game in a row against teams that the Demons had a combined 40 game losing streak. At least now, DePaul have snuffed out one of them. This game could put the Blue Demons right back on track to relevance in the Conference standings and NCAA Net ratings.
The last time, and only time, that DePaul beat the Blue Jays in Big East play was when Forrest Robinson, with lighting bolts shooting out of his fingers, made 5 three pointers in the first 5 minutes of the game and made 6 three pointers on the night at Omaha on January 7th, 2015.
DePaul takes on Creighton Wednesday, January 22nd at 8PM at Wintrust Arena in the South Loop of Chicago.
The game will be on Channel 232 CBSSport on Comcast and on Radio 670AM.
Since 1959, Creighton leads the all-time series 17-14. In other words, at the time of the last DePaul victory in 2015, the Blue Jays had a significant losing record to the Blue Demons.
What Does Each Team Like to Do?
The ‘Play by Play splits’ chart below can really give you a good idea of what shots each team takes and defends, along with how well they do in each quadrant.
Creighton is most like Villanova, in that they like to play outside in. 41.3% of their shots are from outside the arc. If they are shooting the 3 well, they are incredibly hard to beat. After spreading out the defense, they drive and take a lot of close shots. Just like Butler and Villanova, the Blue Jays rarely take long two point shots.
DePaul prefers an inside out approach. 44% of the Demons shots are close 2s, 32% are from 3s, 25% are long 2s, and finally 10% are dunks.
Creighton’s opponents have shot 38% of their shots from 3 and only 35% from close 2s and dunks.
DePaul’s opponents have shot equally from the 3 point arc and up close. Rarely do teams take long 2s against the Demons.
Who Can Hurt DePaul?
I’m Going to Start with Mitch Ballock
These are my tweets from March 9th, 2019, when Mitch Ballock put his name in the history books.
Well, I was right. No one had ever done what Mich Ballock did to DePaul last year. It was insane.
Tonight, Mitch Ballock went 9⃣1⃣.7⃣percent from three-pointers! That is an @NCAA record with at least 12 attempts in a single game!
— Creighton Men’s Basketball (@BluejayMBB) March 10, 2019
In that game, DePaul did an excellent job guarding the 3 point shot holding Creighton guys not named Ballock to 3-13 from 3 point range. But then again, Mitch Ballock did play.
Look at this ridiculous line:
Ballock is only shooting 45% from 3 point land this year. Jumping Jesus. From the free-throw line he shoots 79%, which I find laughable. You’d think he’d be a 90% guy.
The 6’2″ Sophomore Point-Guard is the heart and soul of the team. He is accurate from distance, 38.6%, and he gets to the hole. 74% free-throw shooter.
6’4″ Junior Shooting Guard shoots 38% from 3 point land and 87% from the free-throw line.
Both teams beat Texas Tech in Overtime, although Creighton did it in double overtime on a neutral court.
Both teams lost to Villanova. Creighton lost at home by 5, while DePaul lost on the road in overtime by 4.
Creighton lost to Butler on the road by 14, while DePaul massacred the Bulldogs by 13 at home.
The Bluejays beat Providence at home by 4 in a game that they were losing by 5 with 1:21 to go. Creighton hit a 3-pointer, made a defensive stop, hit a two to tie it with 37 seconds left, stole the ball with 10 seconds left, hit a 3 pointer to go ahead with 4 seconds left and stole the ball again and hit a free-throw with a second left, while the Blue Demons lost in the last second on a free-throw make by a guy who shoots 39% from the line on a questionable call.
The Blue Demons’ big trend, since the beginning of Big East play, is that since the loss to Seton Hall, the Demons have had a better Effective Field Goal percentage in each game. The St. John’s game was because of a high percentage on 2s, while Villanova and Butler can be explained by the improvement in 3 point shooting.
I would not expect this trend to continue to go up, but if DePaul can be as efficient as their yearly average of 51% they will win or be in all games, due to their quality defense.
Tale of the Tape
The Tale of Tape is pretty even. DePaul wins 10 categories and Creighton wins 7 (whoever is better at free-throws only gets 1 point, since defensive free-throw percentage is a category of luck). Creighton believes in modern basketball, meaning they have a team of excellent 3 point shooters, and they do their best to make sure that their opponents do not make 3 point shots. Contrast this with the Dave Leitao philosophy, pound it inside and hope you make more 3 pointers than your opponent.
What’s Going to Happen?
I know this sounds obvious, but here we go. If DePaul can shut down Creighton’s 3 point shooting and out rebound the Bluejays, the Demons will win.
In Creighton’s 5 losses, the shot less than 22% from 3 in 3 of the games. In two of the games they were out rebounded by 12 or more. The loss against Michigan was heavily due to Michigan taking 10 more free-throws than Creighton and winning by 10, everything else was basically even.
In the graph below, it is obvious, if Creighton doesn’t shoot well, they struggle. They do not have a dominate defense to make up for lack of offense.
DePaul rebounds well and contests 3 point shots most of the time. There is always the chance that a Mitch Ballock goes crazy again, but I feel like it will be a close game, but I hope that the Blue Demons can have a repeat of the Butler game and end the damn streak.