DePaul Blue Demons (8-7, 2-0) vs. Creighton Bluejays (9-6, 0-2) – Wednesday January 7th, 8:00 p.m. Central – CenturyLink Center. Omaha, Nebraska
Television – FOX Sports 1
Radio – WIND AM 560
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DePaul and Creighton come into Wednesday's Big East game going in the opposite direction, with the Blue Demons surprisingly sitting atop the Big East (with Seton Hall) with a 2-0 record (8-7 overall), while the Bluejays find themselves at the bottom of the standings with a 0-2 record (9-6 overall) and losers of three straight.
However, while the Demons have had the luxury of opening with two games at home, Creighton has not been so fortunate. They opened with two road games and are recently coming off a 76-61 loss at Georgetown (they lost at Providence in their Big East opener).
The good news for the Bluejays, and perhaps bad news for the Demons, is that this contest will be played at CenturyLink Center, where Creighton is a completely different team. They are 7-1 at home this year (including over a win over Oklahoma) and are coming off an undefeated season at home last season. Simply put, this is a team that thrives off its home court environment.
While the Bluejays did lose one of college basketball's best ever in Doug McDermott (along with some other key pieces like Ethan Wragge and Grant Gibbs), they are still playing at high level.
Behind the stewardship of senior point guard Austin Chatman, the Bluejays are playing a lot better than some expected, as Big East coaches did pick them to finish ninth. Chatman is leading Creighton with 13.3 points and 4.5 assists per game (which ranks third in the Big East), while also chipping in with four rebounds per game.
This game may come down to which team hits their threes, as Creighton and DePaul rank one and two in the conference, respectively, in three-point field goals made. Creighton has combined to nail 126 three pointers, while DePaul has connected on 120. It should also be noted that these two teams also rank one and two in the conference, respectively, in free-throw percentage. So, end-of-game situations could be key, too.
It seems Creighton always has a designated sharpshooter and the Bluejays' next budding star in that respect has to be 6'2” sophomore guard Isaiah Zierden. He leads the team in three pointers made with 40, while connecting on .412 percent of his attempts. He is also second on the team in scoring, as he contributes 11.3 points per game and is someone who is not afraid to fire away.
Creighton is also a deep team, as it has 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes a game.
It will be interesting to see if Oliver Purnell goes deep into his bench to counter, and/or if this is the game Rashaun Stimage can make his season debut. Any way you slice it, this is still a tall task for the Demons.
The Last Time
On March 13, 2014, in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the second seeded and 14th ranked Creighton Bluejays ended DePaul’s season with a 84-62 defeat.
Senior Doug McDermott was too hot for the Blue Demons to handle as he scored 35 points (on 14-22 shooting, including 7-10 from three-point range).
Senior Brandon Young led the way for DePaul with 22 points (7-18 from the field) in his final game in a Blue Demon uniform.
Jamee Crockett added a season-high 13 points for the Blue Demons.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)
0 Leon Gilmore III F 6-7 210 Fr. Manvel, Texas (Manvel)
1 Austin Chatman G 6-0 175 Sr. The Colony, Texas (The Colony)
2 Gabriel Connealy F 6-4 205 Jr. Mullen, Neb. (Mullen)
4 Ronnie Harrell G 6-7 180 Fr. Denver, Colo. (East)
5 Devin Brooks G 6-2 175 Sr. Harlem, N.Y. (Iowa Western CC) (St. Raymond)
10 Mo Watson Jr. G 5-10 170 Jr. Philadelphia, Pa. (Boston Univ.) (Boys' Latin)
11 Tyler Clement G 6-1 185 Fr. Shawnee, Kan. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
13 Cole Huff F 6-8 210 Jr. Altadena, Calif. (Univ. of Nevada) (Campbell Hall)
15 Rick Kreklow G 6-7 195 Sr. Columbia, Mo. (Univ. of California) (Rock Bridge)
21 Isaiah Zierden G 6-2 180 So. Minneapolis, Minn. (Benilde-St. Margaret's)
22 Avery Dingman G 6-6 215 Sr. Branson, Mo. (Branson)
23 James Milliken G 6-2 180 Jr. Siler City, N.C. (Cowley County CC) (Jordan Matthews)
31 Will Artino C 6-11 230 Sr. Waukee, Iowa (Waukee)
32 Toby Hegner F 6-10 225 Fr. Berlin, Wis. (Berlin)
40 Zach Hanson F 6-9 240 So. Pierre, S.D. (T.F. Riggs)
41 Geoffrey Groselle C 7-0 240 Jr. Plano, Texas (West)
50 Mogboluwaga Oginni F 6-8 225 Jr. St. Louis, Mo. (St. Louis University HS)
DePaul vs. Creighton Game Preview
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