When Creighton opens its NCAA tournament run on Friday afternoon against Louisiana, the Bluejays will face an opponent looking to do something different than many previous opponents.
Bob Marlin and his Ragin Cajuns hope to play at a faster tempo than the Jays. The 13 seed will enter the tournament scoring 81.4 pointer per game, which is nearly two more than CU and ranks 13th in the country.
"Louisiana plays probably as fast as us, or maybe ever fast than we do," said Creighton coach Greg McDermott. "So transition defense is really going to be important and our ability to attack when we have the ball in transition."
Point guard Elfrid Payton is largely the reason for the gaudy numbers. The junior is averaging 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6 assists per game and reminds the Bluejays of some other taller point guards.
"Obviously Payton is really, really talented," said Grant Gibbs. "He kind of… compare him a little bit to Semaj Christon, from Xavier. He kind of has a (Rajon) Rondo type game."
Payton has eclipsed the 30-point mark four different times this season, and sophomore Shawn Long has done so twice. Long, a forward, averages just less than 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game.
While the Ragin Cajuns sizzle on offense, they tend to get seared on defense. Marlin's squad will be living dangerously if they allow CU to find rhythm shots on the break. Louisiana has allowed 75.1 points per game, ranking 301st in the nation.
The Bluejays also own the advantage in NCAA experience, after winning tournament games in each of the last two seasons. Louisiana, on the other hand, makes its first tournament appearance since 2005 and seeks the program's first tournament win since 1992.
The underdogs earned their berth after streaking through the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Ragin Cajuns played only two other members of the field of 68, losing to Louisville and Baylor by large margins.
Although the Bluejays enter the tournament as a three seed, the best in school history, the BIG EAST runners up are approaching the final run with a simple mindset.
"It's still the NCAA tournament," Doug McDermott answered after he was asked if the better seed changed anything. "So everyone is going to be playing their best basketball; we certainly hope to be doing so."
Ragin Cajuns Playing with Fire
Bluejay Report Top Stories
Answering Your MSU basketball QuestionsWe answered your Michigan State basketball questions and emails from on the court, off the court and recruiting!
Spartan NationYesterday at 6:02 AM
Q&A with four-star center Jacob EppersonSPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Jacob Epperson, Scout's No. 57 overall recruit, met with the media at the Hoophall Classic to discuss the latest in his recruitment.
Scout HoopsWednesday at 10:40 AM
XU falters in the clutch vs CreightonXavier's perplexing offensive issues followed the Musketeers inside the Cintas Center Monday afternoon as they dropped their third straight game.
Musketeer ReportMonday at 11:37 PM
Top 100 Stadium Experiences of 2016In 2016, the writers at Stadium Journey reviewed 761 different stadium experiences. We renewed our love for many of the venues that have consistently been on our best stadiums list…
Stadium JourneyMonday at 5:47 AM
The Matchups: Xavier vs CreightonBefore every game, Rick takes a position-by-position look at what to expect. This edition focuses on Monday afternoon's game at home against #8 Creighton.
Musketeer ReportMonday at 4:37 AM