DePaul tries to end an eleven game losing streak to the Creighton Bluejays. When the Blue Demons last played the Bluejays, the team and fan base were coming off of the great Butler win. All were hoping that it would be the start of something new. But no, Creighton snuffed out all hope of a quick turnaround by shooting 40% from 3pt land, while DePaul shot 18%. In the end, it was the most lopsided defeat of the season.
DePaul takes on Creighton Saturday, February 15th at 6:30PM at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, the farthest outpost in the Big East.
The game will be on FS1, Channel 237 on Comcast and on Radio 670AM.
Creighton has been doing well of late
The Bluejays have won 6 of their last 7 games, including defeating Seton Hall in New Jersey. They are now tied for 2nd in the conference.
What Does Each Team Like to Do?
Creighton is most like Villanova, in that they like to play outside in. 42% 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. 43.3% of the Demons shots are close 2s, 31.3% are from 3s, 25.6% are long 2s, and finally 9.6% are dunks.
Creighton’s opponents have shot 38% of their shots from 3 and only 37% 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
Just a reminder that last time DePaul was in Omaha, Mitch Ballock went off. 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.
However, against Seton Hall this week, Ballock put up a big Zero! I am sure he will be wanting to get back on track.
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.
The Blue Demons’ big trend, since the beginning of Big East play, is lots of losing (you could say since joining the Big East as well, but that is another post on another day.)
Not only has the trend been losing, in 8 of DePaul’s 10 conference losses have been close losses. The last 4 games have been excruciating.
Tale of the Tape
The Tale of Tape is pretty even as far as clear advantages. I will say in all practicality, the tale of tape is lying in this one. DePaul wins 7 categories and Creighton wins 9 (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 can win.
In Creighton’s 5 losses, the shot less than 22% from 3 in 4 of the games. In two of the games they were out rebounded by 12 or more.
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.
Can the streak end in Omaha? The last time DePaul beat Creighton was in Omaha. ESPN gives the Blue Demons a 16% chance of winning.
I doubt that it will happen, but you never know.