Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Creighton Preview, by GauchoDan

A lot's already been written about 19th-ranked Creighton and its 3-point shooting. The Bluejays ranks 18th in the nation in makes (9.7 per game) and 26th in attempts (26.5 per game). What no one has written is that the Gauchos are excellent at preventing the three. They rank 20th in 3's made against (5.8 per game) and 11th in attempts against (17.3 per game). The most 3's anyone has attempted against UCSB is 25, and CSUN lost that game by 47 points. Creighton like to get threes in transition, so our transition defense will need to be good. Otherwise, run these guys off the 3-point line.

Creighton takes 44% of its shots from the 3-point line. This limits their trips to the free throw lines, where they aren't good at shooting it anyway. They rank 277th in FT attempts at 16.1 per game and rank 327th in FT% at .642%.

Their long-range bombing also keeps them off the offensive glass. Creighton is 40th in the country in defensive rebounding, but 265th in offensive rebounding.

Creighton's 14 league wins were three more than any other school, but the Bluejays settled for the second seed in the Big East Tournament because Villanova owned a better winning percentage. The Bluejays returned four starters and five of its top six scorers from last season's team that finished 24-7 and won a share of its first Big East regular-season title. CU's 2019-20 team was ranked No. 7 in the year-end AP poll, and this year began at No. 9. Creighton led the Big East in scoring margin (+8.7), three-point percentage (.367), three-pointers made per game (9.71), field goal percentage (.476) and field goal percentage defense (.406).
11 Marcus Zegarowski 
JR G 6-2 180 
Hamilton, MA Tilton School 
15.5 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 4.3 Ast

  • First Team All-Big East.
  • Named Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press for the second season in a row.
  • All-District choice by both the USBWA and the NABC.
  • Ranks 9th in Creighton history for 3-pointers made (205).
  • Has made a three-pointer in each of his last 20 games, a streak that started on Dec. 17th. 
  • .412 from three, averaging 6.5 attempts per game. Takes 56% of his shots from three.
  • Leads team in assists. Assist/Turnover ratio = 2.13.
  • .773 from free-throw line, 2nd-best on team.

23 Damien Jefferson 
SR G 6-5 220 
East Chicago, IN East Chicago Central High School 
12.1 Pts, 5.5 Reb, 2.4 Ast

  • Second Team All-Big East.
  • Scored in double-figures in 22 of 28 games.
  • Pumped in a career-high 26 points on Jan. 20th vs. Providence, six more than his previous best.
  • 2nd on team in rebounds.
  • .373 from three, averaging 3 attempts per game.
  • .595 from FT line.

34 Denzel Mahoney 
SR G 6-5 220 
Oviedo, FL Hagerty High School 
12.5 Pts, 4.2 Reb, 1.7 Ast

  • NABC District 5 Second Team.
  • Honorable Mention All-Big East.
  • He leads CU with 39 steals and is fifth in the BIG EAST with 59 three-pointers made.
  • .331 from three, averaging 6.4 attempts per game. Takes 58% of his shots from three.
  • .750 from FT line.

13 Christian Bishop 
JR F 6-7 220 
Lee's Summit, MO West HS 
10.8 Pts, 5.9 Reb, 1.2 Ast

  • Bishop led the Big East in field goal percentage (.672).
  • a tad undersized to play the center position, but his versatility has made him a match-up nightmare for some opponents.
  • Leads team in rebounding.
  • Best defensive rating of frequent players on team (94.4 points allowed per 100 possessions).

24 Mitchell Ballock 
SR G 6-5 205 
Eudora, KS Eudora High School 
10.2 Pts, 3.1 Reb, 2.5 Ast

  • Will be making his 100th consecutive and career start.
  • Topped the league with 72 three-pointers made.
  • Owns 304 three-pointers in his Bluejay career, including a season-high eight on Dec. 14 vs. Marquette.
  • He his a school-record 11 threes on March 9, 2019.
  • Per research from writer Matt DeMarinis using Synergy Sports database, Ballock has made 8-of-13 three-pointers this season taken from between 30-40 feet away. Over the past two seasons, he's 13-of-26 from 30-40 feet away.
  • .400 from three, averaging 64. attempts per game. Takes 79% of his shots from three.
  • Weakest defensive rating of frequent players on team (102.7 points allowed per 100 possessions).

32 Ryan Kalkbrenner 
FR C 7-0 235 
St. Louis, MO Trinity Catholic HS 
6.4 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 0.4 Ast

  • Had a season-high 15 points in just 16 minutes of work on Dec. 17 at St. John's, including four baskets in a three-minute span during the decisive 22-4 second half run.
  • ranks fifth nationally among freshmen with 37 blocked shots, and first in the Big East among classmates.
  • Shoots 68% from two.
  • Has highest offensive rating on team (128.2 points per 100 possessions).
  • Highest Player Efficiency Rating at 27.2.
  • Box Plus/Minus a team-high 7.6.

0 Antwann Jones 
SO G 6-6 220 
Orlando, FL Oak Ridge HS 
3.6 Pts, 2.4 Reb, 1.4 Ast

  • .324 from three
  • Averages 4.9 assists per 40 minutes.

4 Shereef Mitchell 
SO G 6-0 170 
Omaha, NE Sunrise Christian Academy 
3.3 Pts, 1.5 Reb, 1.7 Ast

  • .355 from three.
  • Averages 2.3 steals per 40 minutes.
  • left the Big East semifinal after bumping heads with a UConn player, and did not play in the final vs. Georgetown. 

5 Alex O'Connell 
SR G 6-6 180 
Roswell, GA Milton High School
3.8 Pts, 2.4 Reb, 0.5 Ast

  • Sat out first six games of season after transferring from Duke. A vote by the NCAA Division I Council on Dec. 16 made him immediately eligible.
  • .325 from three
  • Averages 9.0 rebounds per 40 minutes.

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